"World Peace" Poem by Victor Knezovic
Gift of Victor Knezovic Christmas, 1987
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE PRESENTATION MESSAGE READS AS FOLLOWS.)
This poem is presented by the author to Mr. and Mrs. Manly Palmer Hall. “God bless those who live forever!”
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS “WORLD PEACE” BY VICTOR KNEZOVIC.)
The symbol of peace, a branch of the olive tree Borne aloft by a gentle dove flying ever free, Carries a message of hope for suff’ring mankind Too long in the bloody horror of war entwined. We must share the vision of those valiant souls Who, by seeking that most imperative of goals, Establishing for Planet Earth a lasting peace, Are showing the way for harmony to increase. World peace must become the aim of ev’ry nation, Rather than our mutual annihilation; Without world peace there’ll be no future for mankind — Only Armageddon, toward which we’re now inclined. There’s barely time to seek that precious goal of peace, Without which wanton bloodshed simply will not cease; But we must act, right now, to save humanity From its impending nuclear insanity!
Take heed! Acceptance of the olive branch and dove Can void that grisly prospect through brotherly love, Till all mankind, proclaiming, “Peace forevermore!” Outlaw recourse to warfare, crying, “Nevermore!” Ev’ry body and soul, with this purpose in mind, Must see that ideal in each inmost heart enshrined, Until people all over the face of the earth Put into practice their spiritual rebirth. World peace will then be possible for humankind As all nations become harmoniously aligned; But unless such world peace does truly come to pass, Those of us living will likely perish en masse. And if we do, the genesis of our demise Will have been spawned by heartless men whose alibis Won’t reverse their bungling when we’re no longer here To express our joy for the gift of life so dear.
Which way, then, is our war-inflamed world now headed? Toward a twilight of the gods mankind has dreaded — A catastrophic end to civilization Because of our nuclear abomination? Or life abundant for people of ev’ry race, Regardless of whatever creed they may embrace, Without the far of cataclysmic transformation Into dust through atomic disintegration? World peace is waiting in the wings and wondering If we will ever cease our hopeless blundering. For only through world peace can there be surety That ev’ry nation will enjoy security. Then farewell forever to concentration camps, Pogroms and holocausts and bodies stacked on ramps; To nuclear star-wars and I.C.B.M.s, too — No more Hiroshimas; we’ve better work to do!
Why, then are human beings so distraught today, When their lives should be more joyous in ev’ry way? Could it be, perhaps, that people place no more trust In leaders whose acts may cause the world to combust? Why can’t they find a peaceful resolution, Rather than threat’ning mutual retribution By stockpiling atom bombs enough times over To bury us under ash instead of clover? World peace is the only feasible solution For putting an end to senseless persecution; Without the blessings of world peace, there cannot be Any viable future for humanity. The dove with the olive branch, at sunset aflame, Seems more urgent in flight as she strives to proclaim To heedless mankind still in tragic disarray, That for its survival, world peace must lead the way!
This poem was written by a volunteer peace-maker, “Uncle Victor”, on August 19, 1986, and is dedicated to all people of goodwill who are working for the cause of world peace. It is now in the public domain, and may be reproduced and translated freely into any other language without restriction.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING WAS TAKEN FROM BACKGROUND INFORMATION TAPED TO THE BACK OF THE ARTWORK.)
A VERY RARE ANNIVERSARY HALF A CENTURY IN DEEP DARKNESS
Everybody already knows Victor Valentino or the Prince of Ravna Gora, legendary national blind hero who wrote famous and popular national patriotic poems (“I Love You My Dear Great America” and “Blessings of Liberty”).
On July 30th it was 50 years since this hero lost his physical vision completely. This happened when he dove from a 60′ high bridge into a river while practicing for the national championship in swimming and diving as well as for the summer Olympic games in 1932 in Los Angeles. At the moment when he was in the air, he unexpectedly saw a girl that was drowning in the river. He immediately needed to change his style of diving, otherwise he could kill himself and the girl, too. His acrobatic movement was made in time and he fell into the water near the girl with the intention of rescuing her. Consequently, he struck his face and his eyes on the water so forcefully in that moment that he received detachment of the retinas in both eyes. What a tragedy!
Victor rescued the girl who was already in an unconscious state; and when he appeared on the top of the water, he couldn’t see and tried to rub his eyes with one free hand, but it didn’t help. He started to cry for help swimming and holding the girl carried by the current of the river. Two canoes finally arrived and took Victor and the unconscious girl back to the shore of the beach. The girl was revived by artificial respiration, and Victor went immediately to the hospital. After almost two years of intensive care and five eye surgeries, there were no positive results.
Because of his sightlessness, Victor didn’t arrive in Los Angeles in 1932 to compete with Johnny Weissmuller and other stars in swimming and diving in the Olympics. Instead he went to the college for the blind and graduated in only two years and four months. After that, he became an independent person taking care of himself and studying music. He became a composer of popular songs and folk tunes. He was a writer, a poet, a music teacher and a soloist singer.
In World War II because he was totally sightless, he became a volunteer soldier in 1941 under General Draza Mihailovich in guerilla warfare fighting against the Fascist, Nazi and Communist.
He was very popular under the title of the Prince of Ravna Gora and participated in the rescue of many American flyers in 1944 and that is also known very well. Now he has been in our country for 25 years where he tries to be a loyal American patriot. He has a wonderful memory of many events in the past 50 years, which he passed fighting for human rights, justice and liberty for his old country, Yugoslavia, as well as for America.
Now everybody will understand why the Prince of Ravna Gora wrote the aforementioned national patriotic poems, “I Love You My Dear Great America” and “Blessings of Liberty”; because in his deep darkness of 50 years he has had a very bright spiritual horizon and the Lord is always protecting him and guiding him in every way. That is his story that in spite of half a century of a deep darkness, the Prince of Ravna Gora has found a large complex of light from above.