But Seriously, Haiku

Ever notice how once you start thinking about haiku, they seem to be everywhere?  There’s been a real confluence of them for me this weekend.  First, Paul’s haiku t-shirt worked its way into our programming meeting (see previous post).  Then we remembered last year’s CMA haiku, especially since this weekend was the CMA conference.

Then this morning, I heard a fascinating and inspiring episode of On Being, the NPR show.  The guest was John Paul Lederach, who has spent 30 years as a peace mediator in countries all over the world.  He spoke very eloquently about the power of both music and poetry to facilitate the healing process for people who have suffered unspeakable violence and upheaval, by giving voice to feelings and experiences that can’t be expressed in regular words.

Lederach says that over his years in conflict resolution he has become particularly interested in the art of haiku, for its ability to capture “the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”  He has noticed that people will often, unconsciously, speak in haiku when in the heat of meetings designed to transform conflict situations.  Similar to how the Fibonacci sequence seems to appear in nature, the structure of haiku seem to arise naturally in speech when people are trying to come up with simple solutions to complex problems.  (I mean, really, is that cool or what?)

He has transcribed many of these haiku, and written his own based on those experiences.  You can see and hear the haiku, or the whole episode, here.  This one was my favorite from the episode:

Don’t ask the mountain
To move, just take a pebble
Each time you visit.

—Yangon, March 2003

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