I am that Russian teacher!

Recently Kate Anders asked me for a copy of an old poem of mine that I'd written for a Russian teacher who was present at The Conference of the Living Tree. Her husband had been a Soviet military officer. Somehow the subject of epaulets came up, as well as a quotation by the teacher, as well as the gift of a Red Army epaulet to me. Somehow--delayed reaction--all this reminded me of a W. S. Merwin poem that appeared in The Writers' Almanac some months ago...Anyway, I've pasted my poem and Merwin's below, in case that provides you with a head-jog or two of your own.Love,Gary ThomasBlessed Are the PeacemakersMay all epaulets become bookmarks. --Yelena Nikitina May all warriors learn to readthe Art of Peace, and memorizeand recite the poetry of hope inside each moment. May all children dream of friendsthey have not met, but will,because the warriors have taught them well. May we all become children,and teach each otherhow to reach each other's dreamsand share our hopes,and read our poetryand live each together as Artists of Peaceeach moment. Gary Thomas18 January 2004for Yelena in peace, hope, and friendshipWhen the War is Over When the war is overWe will be proud of course the air will beGood for breathing at lastThe water will have been improved the salmonAnd the silence of heaven will migrate more perfectlyThe dead will think the living are worth it we will knowWho we areAnd we will all enlist again W. S. Merwin The Lice © Copper Canyon Press, 1993.

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