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An ‘Unfolding Poem’ for the Moment We’re In

march fourteen, ‘twenty

they say we’re at war
i think we’re falling in love
with the human race

Memoriale:  Haiku And The Crowned Newness

On December 31, 2019, Chinese officials alerted the World Health Organization to an unknown form of pneumonia emerging in the city of Wuhan.  

They suspected a new virus.  

At the time, I did not hear this news. But the news and the newness came finding us.  

It spreads like that.

I take haiku like vitamins, one-a-day. My vitamin Awe.  

It’s an anti-viral thing.

Haiku are nature bound, yet the 5-7-5 always weaves a delicate human filament. Through this frailest of poetic webs, newness outside flows into newness inside and then back out again.  

It’s a membrane thing.

Newness requires noticing and in noticing humanness begins.  

It’s a compassion thing.

These days our frail membrane tries to remember forward. Remembering forward requires we keep our frail filaments soft and supple.

It’s a summoning thing.

Memoriale: Mindful remembering.

John Paul Lederach
Tucson, Arizona
An Unfolding Poem —  December 31, 2019 to



december thirty-one ‘nineteen

outside it’s wet dark
but here a candle wickers
gently unyielding



january four, ‘twenty

everywhere i
travel turtle dove haiku
hums morning to life



january ten, ‘twenty

to learn sonoran
eyes must listen for the fire
rising behind thorns



january fifteen, ‘twenty 

black mountain pink cloud
birdsong desert inhales this
tingle-brisk sunrise



january twenty-one, ‘twenty

swollen billows inch
slowly down the mountainside
breathing thick grayness



january thirty, ‘twenty

alone in the sky
a single cloud holds sunset
and darkness at bay



february one, ‘twenty

ocotillo fires
shoot from tips to skies burning
rage to graceful green



february eight, ‘twenty

lucas speaks

so much has been said
i just want to sit silent
and let the soak come



february twelve, ‘twenty

slow dawn we’re alone
the dog and me and warm winds
lights twinkle i breathe



february eighteen, ‘twenty

full moon
coyote echoes
still morning



february twenty-eight, ‘twenty

afternoon sun rays
through the palo verde hold
a thousand crane flies



march two, ‘twenty

advice from an artichoke cactus

unfold the layers
that tighten and bind the heart
and your essence flies



march fourteen, ‘twenty

they say we’re at war
i think we’re falling in love
with the human race



march twenty, ‘twenty

don’t you wish you were
the sun and could wrap your arms
around everyone



march twenty-six, ‘twenty

6 a.m.

my elder neighbor
head down cap tight cane in hand
waves from a distance



april one, ‘twenty

flash of red flies north
wing-song dancing like the sun
well above borders



april five, ‘twenty

I heard the gulls, he said

when all the engines
went silent the earth’s soft hum
woke our benumbed hearts



april eleven, ‘twenty

we really don’t know
how deep and wise the heart’s well
flows until we do



april seventeen, ‘twenty

under the palo verde tree

how was your dark night
whispered mountain breeze to
budding palo leaves
snowing in yellow
green tree sang and longing for
that slow-dance landing



april twenty five, ‘twenty

every doorway
a threshold between worlds
openness the key



april twenty-nine, ‘twenty

seventy wing flaps
per second to sit air still
the speed of light waves




may eight, ‘twenty

how did the earth learn
to stay open and accept
everything that falls




may seventeen, ‘twenty

while blame shot arrows
clouds floated unpierced just
letting things fall through




may twenty-five, ‘twenty

humankind’s most extraordinary social movement
a short history

en masse the people
left streets occupied homes and
held fast to their hearths

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