To elect peace… | Samantha Terrell 

Violent Whispers

There are things terror is, and
There are things it isn't. 
Terror is rage-filled, unrest.
It is injustice
That sometimes stems from the same.
Terror is unchecked power, for certain.
It is every emotion inspired by its name.

Terror is busy and conniving, 
Appealing its case to both young and old,
Knowing if it's not persistent, 
It may not make its way in the world.
But terror isn't always what we're 
Told; it's not always grandiose 
Displays of power.
Sometimes, terror simply 
Whispers bitter somethings 

In the ears of the once democratically-elected.

Peace #3
digital art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Introduction to Pacifism

The exigency of humanity
Is met in ignoring the opportunity
To elect peace
Over war,
Even as we acknowledge 
Embracing such a choice is espoused to valor.

There is action
In inaction—
Particularly in death.
If we first meet peace in the pacifist's demise, we risk losing 
Humanity’s only trait 
Ever worthy of defending.

Peace #2
digital art
Dean Pasch ©2022

The Great Charade

Have parents always 
Lied to protect their young?

Dirt mounds
And burial grounds
Expect nothing more than
Earthen peace.

But we seek abundance,
Rather than relief
From falsehoods 
About the nature of it all. 

When will we stop pretending
The world isn't ending?

Peace #21
digital art
Dean Pasch ©2022

©2022 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Samantha Terrell…

…is an internationally published American poet. Her books Vision, and Other Things We Hide From (Potter’s Grove Press), and Keeping Afloat (JC STUDIO Press), have earned 5-star reviews. In 2021, Terrell received First Honorable Mention in the “Anita McAndrews Poets for Human Rights Awards” organized by Poets Without Borders. Her newest collection, Simplicity, and Other Things We Overcomplicate is currently available for pre-order.

Find links to Samantha’s books on her Website

Pandemic Feelings | Samantha Terrell

Pandemics, and Bigger Problems

Ann Privateer
Unnamed 4
United around toilet paper—
But divided by, “I can’t breathe,”
And necks pressed down by authoritarian knees— 
Are misplaced.

United by crooked systems—
Who built fortress walls around
The people’s house  
In order to shut citizens out,

Endanger them
More than
Bodies—united, risking
Social distancing,
To protest corruption.  

Minds united
By democracy and peace
And social justice remedies,
Will bring restoration
To a nation.

Fictionalized Feelings

Miroslava Panayotava
abstract composition, 2 digital
With scattered pieces

Try to put themselves together,
Positioning jagged parts that do not fit.
The other bits

Scramble to find their places.
The alignment isn’t right.
Some pieces are too tight,

While others simply sit
Cast aside,

But a cult-like desire to
Be part of the whole, stay –  
However worthlessly – in place,

Keeps the stubborn ones
Jamming things up, as part of a collective
Belief system, prohibitive

To healing progress.

Waterboarding (Will Never Work)

Edward Lee
Reach Up
(‘Between Sleep And Dreams’)
The ending
Of torture
Is not equivalent
To healing,

The absence
Of dread
Does not
Equate to hope –

It’s a start,
Nurtured by
Recognizing peace
Is not a science,
But an art.

Poetry ©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Just Justice | Samantha Terrell

When we say we’re for equal rights,
That must mean we’re feminists.

If we’re for civil rights, 
Apparently we are black.

We have to label ourselves with 
A rainbow, if we want to support LGBTs,

Yellow ribbons to show 
We care about veterans.

And, don’t forget your pink ribbon 
For breast cancer survivors. 

When will all the labeling stop, so 
De-stigmatizing can begin?

When will all the niceties finally fall apart, so
Messy realities can cover over superficialities?

Why can’t rights just be rights?
When will justice, mean just justice?

We’re not all black feminist lesbian veteran breast cancer survivors,
But we can all be the Americans America needs us to be.

©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Things Everyone Knows? | Samantha Terrell

There’s a Winslow Homer
Painting of a small ship with
Gloucester on the side, and
That’s the name of the boat,
Not its heading – although in this case,
It was both; and,
It’s Gloucester, Mass., 
Not Gloucester, England.  

Of course, Homer was a famous artist, 
Who shares a name with a famous author, 
Who painted words 
Instead of portraits – but, similarly,
Depicted humanity and war and our
Struggle with good and evil. 
And, don’t forget, “the
Devil’s in the details.”

For instance, did you notice the
Masterful artistic line
Winslow used in each of the
Sailing lines on the Gloucester?
(A rope on a boat is a “line,” 
You know –  not a “rope.”)
We could carry on and on about lines – 
	like, bread lines make it hard to learn sailing and art – 
But no one likes a literary trope.

©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Generation Living Dead — Samantha Terrell

What’s a Generation?

Twenty years
325,980 bombs
Sent away
From these United States.
But sent towards?
Towards a bigger empire,
A wealthier portfolio,
Another generation
Trained to defend
A cruel nation.

Song of the Living Dead

The living
Bury ourselves in shame
Of pipeline trenches dug.

The living are ripped
Jaggedly, lengthwise; symmetry undone
By fracking.

The salt of the living
Bleeds, nuclear waste
Leaking into ocean waters.

The living mourn the loss
Of nature’s bountiful song,
Supplanted by the drone strikes of the dead.


Remind me, 
Your anger 
Is fear.
It will 
Help me 

Unarticulated words on 
The page of your 
Heart, pore over 
Them as I would my own,
To set aside ugly faces, 

Them into vulnerability;
Into tenderness; Tenderness, relatability –
Where we are one –
Where we know 
Each other’s words so well we can, finally, grow.

©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Return to ToC

Pretending Peace & More — Samantha Terrell

Tulip at Night - Digital Work - Miroslava Panayotova
Tulip at Night – Digital Work – Miroslava Panayotova

Pretending Peace

My peace plant has
Two American flags stuck in.
I like to imagine
One flag for peace abroad,
The other – peace at home. 
But imaginations are 
A dangerous thing,
Causing us to look for answers.
And, much to my chagrin,
Sometimes reality
Is scarier than pretend.


Skin color,
Size up my bank account.

Size up his bank account.

Size up their bank accounts.

Equals in eyes 
Who size up where power lies.

I’m Not Qualified to Pray for Peace

To pray for peace 
Is too bold and ambitious, 
When we know not what it means.

Maybe instead, 
The prayers and hopes to offer
Would be for the wealthy 
To be generous with their coffers;

For the injured and diseased 
To find relief from their pain;
Or, for drought-laden countries
To get their share of rain.
Maybe we should pray for safety
For the world’s children,
Instead of praying for peace 
To do a magic-trick in volatile regions.
Or, we could pray for cooperation 
Amongst all cultures, nations and religions,
Rather than generic peace treaties 
Which become tools of derision.

And, if we pray for fewer
Loaded guns, less animosity,
We might begin to understand this
Loaded word called peace.

©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Return to ToC

“our greedy consumption” — Samantha Terrell


What happens when all the advocates are gone, and those who profit 
Unknowingly from battles fought by others, must learn to cope
The hope

Of realizing change? Then, 
The ones whom martyrdom didn’t spare,
Will no longer be enslaved by the victims 
Who took for granted their wares

And the rest will be left 
Questioning their fates.
But those who sought their downfall, while victorious, 
Will find the only game they won was hate.

Unknown Portrait Series
Miroslava Panayotova

Of Alchemy and Irony

Is there still time to make something
From the impending dread?
When every combination
Produces yet another
Form of lead,

Slowing progress with 
Its predictable weight,
While the true value of currency is forced to sit and stagnate – 
Knowing it can work for good, knowing it’s been misunderstood – 
Hoping for systemic change, before it’s finally too late.

Who We Are

We are the terrorists,
Who condone the murders of
Innocent children on their school buses, or
Lock them away from parents and loved ones,
Giving them a foil-blanket 
Substitute for comfort.

We are the unreasonable,
Who close off
Our safe harbors—
The same ones our ancestors
Were offered—
From others.

We are the presumptuous,
Supposing the world 
Will keep giving to us
Without repercussions
For our actions, while we 
Continue our greedy consumption.

This is what it means
To be American,
In the land who shot the man 
Who said, “We shall overcome!”
So, if this is who we are,
Who, then, shall we become?

©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved

Return to ToC