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Red, White, and Blue- For all the Braver Angels

By Katie Sarah Zale, Compassionate Listening Facilitator

Red, White, and Blue

Ten flags breathe

in and out in the wind

as the freshwater lake

tosses and turns,

dreaming of the sea.

Two birds that once

were eagles

circle the sky

and one another.

We angels along the shore,

our wings pinned

beneath our coats

to fend off the cold,

pause to watch—

our brows furrowed,

our eyes moist

in memory

and disappointment.

I hear the sun

break through a cloud

like a voice

too long silent.

We remove our coats

one by one.

The white that fills the sky

is blinding.

A poet speaks:

watching a turtle

cross the white sand—

how changed the world.

Home again,

I know I must write this down

or it will be forgotten.

First, I put on my coat.

I am always cold.

—for all the Braver Angels

June 27-29, 2024 National Convention


Katie Sarah Zale is the creator of The Listening Tree Project (LTP), an academic program with Compassionate Listening and interactive theatre (Theatre of the Oppressed) as its foundational tools. Formerly an English teacher at Shoreline Community College and Cascadia College in Washington, Katie used LTP as a vehicle to introduce Compassionate Listening and interactive theatre as across-the-curriculum tools to increase multicultural understanding and to create citizens of the world. LTP promoted a climate of equality, justice, and respect for all people, and facilitated student leadership development. Katie published her first poetry book, The Art of Folding, following her travels with the Compassionate Listening Project to Israel and Palestine. Her collection, Sometimes We Do Things, celebrates a re-envisioning and celebration of Detroit. She is the co-editor of the anthology Strange Fruit: Poems on the Death Penalty. In addition, she runs a dog training program entitled “Compassionate Communication with Your Dog.” Visit her website:   

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