Spiritual Sound Bytes in Haiku

Friday, August 13, 2010 - 5:00 am

Spiritual Sound Bytes in Haiku

Serendipity graces us with poetry this week. And, it is a rugged stretch of weeks to come mixing production schedules, vacations, the changing name of this program, and a rigorous upcoming travel schedule. Oy.
John Paul LederachKrista’s interview with John Paul Lederach yielded some profound moments. The final portion of the show primarily focuses on his use of an enduring form of Japanese poetry — the haiku — as a form of creativity and “moral imagination” in finding new ways into conflict resolution that leads to sustained transformation.
He uses this age-old form of poetry in his work from conflict zones in Northern Ireland to Nepal. But, he also uses this expression to capture themes and ideas, turning points during heated conversations about social change and the definition of “compassion” here at home too.
During our editorial sessions, Krista mentioned that she attended an intense three-day dialogue in May 2009 with John Paul Lederach and others engaged in social change from various directions. It was in part, she says, an exercise in the tension and ambiguity that exists, even around notions like peace and compassion. Lederach condensed this lively interaction into 12 “conversational haikus” that capture the tension, promise, and paradox of moral action and meaningful language:

Generative memory

Converging Consensus: Creative Communities Conversing Compassion
Or
Twelve Doses of Compassion And One Epilogue
Or
Noticing Wisdom
Conversational Haikus
Wye River Accords
i.
Ordinary folk
Compass intact and
Voices dusted off
ii.
Shed the amnesia
Listen to the forgotten
Be, where people are
iii.
Sharing deep suffering
We want our humanity back
Glimpse of the true world.
iv.
Trauma strips us bare
Unfortunate awakening
Our wholeness begins
v.
Belongers.  Others.
None see me, yet I bid the 
Loving hands of God
vi.
Dear Sojourner Truth,
Welcome home!  We beg you, stay!
No lumpy grits here.
vii.
Shadow and Beauty
A mirror to see ourselves
We have to hold up?
We have to hold up!
A mirror to see ourselves
Beauty and Shadow
viii.
Some people carry
Their suffering without fear —
Grace-filled-Activists
ix.
A new narrative
Descending into the heart
Crystallizes questions
x.
Off his bow, echoes
Johann Sebastian Bach
Still rings in our ears
xi.
Human history:
Ten thousand acts of kindness
The Why river flows 
xii.
What shall you pursue?
To speak without fear
And with those who will resist
Listen with the Spirit’s ear
Epilogue
Ancestors beckon:
Be true to your deep calling
And gift your children
Spiritual sound bytes. Noticed. Acknowledged. Arranged.
John Paul Lederach May 7-9, 2009


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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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