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


Twelve Doses of Compassion And One Epilogue


Noticing Wisdom
Conversational Haikus
Wye River Accords

Ordinary folk
Compass intact and
Voices dusted off

Shed the amnesia
Listen to the forgotten
Be, where people are

Sharing deep suffering
We want our humanity back
Glimpse of the true world.

Trauma strips us bare
Unfortunate awakening
Our wholeness begins

Belongers.  Others.
None see me, yet I bid the 
Loving hands of God

Dear Sojourner Truth,
Welcome home!  We beg you, stay!
No lumpy grits here.

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

Some people carry
Their suffering without fear —

A new narrative
Descending into the heart
Crystallizes questions

Off his bow, echoes
Johann Sebastian Bach
Still rings in our ears

Human history:
Ten thousand acts of kindness
The Why river flows 

What shall you pursue?

To speak without fear
And with those who will resist
Listen with the Spirit’s ear


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

Share Your Reflection



Good stuff, good thoughts all
We should heed that still small voice
Far more than we do

The discussion on the complexity of finding peace enlightened me. The sharing of the conversational haiku showed me the value of trying to both simplify and acknowledge the complexity of our lives. I am going to share them with my students and discuss the paradox at the heart of the poems and at the heart of lives that inspired them.

Set conditions==prepare the land==healthy it grows