Taking Sides (Poem by Irwin Keller)

Taking Sides (Poem by Irwin Keller)

Taking Sides (Poem by Irwin Keller)

Taking Sides

Today I am taking sides.
I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.

I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.

I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.

I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.

I will make a clearing
in the overgrown
thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.

I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.

So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem
unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace.

by Irwin Keller

Taking Sides (Poem by Irwin Keller)

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Sue+Krevitt 7 months ago

    Perfect, profound, and powerful
    for today, and everyday.

    Thank you.

  2. Rabbi Irwin Keller 7 months ago

    The poem is whatever, but the images are gorgeous!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 7 months ago

      Thank you. They are close up details of my painting which is titled Empathy.

  3. Sherri 7 months ago

    Thank you Polly for posting this poem. I will be sharing it.

  4. Dea 6 months ago

    Beautiful heart-wrenching poem. I have sent to my friend who lives in Haifa

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