Haiku for Difficult Days

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Especially when

nights are long and dark, we need

share beauty, kindness.

©️Laurie Lynn Newman Continue reading

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The church needs a poetic imagination

Ken,
I really appreciate all that you’ve synthesized here. Having just come from a week long walking adventure with David Whyte and friends, it is especially welcome!

Cascades Blog

By Ken Evers-Hood as published in Faith and Leadership

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Poet David Whyte teaches “conversational leadership” as a framework that helps organizations bring soul back into the workplace and more effectively navigate change, writes a Presbyterian pastor.

An Irish poet walks into a corporate boardroom …

It sounds like the setup to a bad joke, doesn’t it? And yet poet David Whyte has spent a great deal of his life in boardrooms, consulting with giants like Boeing, Arthur Andersen and NASA. Whyte, an associate fellow at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, has been on a mission to bring back the soul to spaces known more for spreadsheets than sonnets. Whyte’s work isn’t merely about human resources and making people feel more happy and whole in the workplace; he believes an imaginative, relational approach to leadership is crucial for organizations navigating change.

David Whyte   “Corporate America now…

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A Psalm for this Day


Thanks be for the simple gifts

so familiar that we may miss what

in the small what is miraculous:

for legs that enable you to stand,

to walk across the room, perhaps even

to run, hike and dance.

Thanks be for ears that allow you

to hear the voices you love,

for music that carries your heart into

the inky, wild cosmos of beauty.

Thanks be for your senses, and the scent

of rain-freshed earth and

rich coffee aroma,

for the steam that bathes your face

as you sip.

Thanks be for the mind

that can take in information

and consider past, and future,

for the ability to reason and to steer

action into constructive

present.

Thanks be for friendships

that broaden your world

and brighten your hours.

Thanks be for this day

and what it opens

into when

you give

thanks.

 

 

Nebraska Fields

When the wind blows

across the fields

I sit in thought

and listen. 
Never has

a softer word been spoken;

never a sigh 

so gentle or so sweet. 
When the moon rises peacefully 

gracing the sky,

silver and serene,

I smile. 
Never has selflessness been

here given;

never has caring

had truer depth. 
(Written sometime between 1979-1983)

©Laurie Lynn Newman

Domenico (Sunday)

When you walk slowly

through the land

you will see miniature, heat-hardened

grapes that survived too many

drought-days, but

the morning rain-freshed air

promises sweetness like a pleasant dream

you can’t quite recall.

The knot in your throat

softens as a song emerges.

You move toward what you know

you belong to that’s not quite there,

yet.

Faintly floats over the valley,

celebrating, chaotic bells.

Listen.

The bells are pealing your story.

Listen.

They are singing for you.

©Laurie Lynn Newman

Back to Life

The Etruscan tomb rests in a weathered grove

of twisted olive trees.

You descend steep steps

and find the giant stone slabs,

lichen-pocked and speaking silently 

of human life and death. 
Looking up from the tomb

you see the trees have made a ring 

around you at the top. 

The sun paints the pale green

and the deep cypress 

with the gentle, deep gold of 

the dying day. 
In the tomb, we listen. 

We wait. 

We remember the dead

and imagine our own 

not-being. 

We sing “hallelujah.”

And then, 

we climb out
to witness the harvest moon

plump as a ripe apricot 

resting on the horizon-

strata of indigo

and violet. 

The sight makes us 

breathless 

with wonder. 
Later, in wide bed,

I dream that my love,

my husband 

came back to life. 

“Look,” I tell others:  

“We don’t know how 

this miracle came to be!  

But, he came back to life 

and 

he is not coughing!”
Here he is now, 

with a new chapter 

to write

to love. 

Who breathes again?

What heart pumps blood 

and gives sense and

movement into

the new?
I will be living

into the answer

for the remainder 

of my days. 

©Laurie Lynn Newman

Fast Breakfast

I read that a typical Italian breakfast is 

simple:

A cappuccino or espresso 

and small pastry 

or roll,

I thought: that’s my preferred 

way to break 

fast, too. 
In the shops,

one usually stands at the bar 

to drink the coffee. 

No lingering 

at a table. 

I like that, too:

Moving quickly 

into the day

suits my pace. 
Today I walked 

Into the bustling pasticceria 

with the magnificent chandelier 

flinging light into every

corner with gleaming 

espresso machines 

and rows of liquors and

wines in their rows. 

Pastries plump with

creams and lightly sugared

artfully placed in the glass

case. 
I order in my weak Italian

and of course 

the response 

is a beautiful rapid 

stream of Italiano that I catch

only one or two words of

but I smile and say “Si!”

I stand at the black

marble bar

and sip my cappuccino. 
Directly in front of me

is the young man and

older woman ( his mother?)

swiftly pulling shots of espresso 

pouring water,

clearing dishes with a clatter. 

It’s fast and loud. 

I can’t tell if they are angry 

or not. 

But I gulp my pastry

as I feel their fast-energy 

pinging off the walls in the room. 
We are in a vortex of 

commerce and conversation 

with coffee fueling

us faster and faster. 

My coffee cup is empty. 

I pay in coins. 

Now, I exit the shop and walk into 

the new day. 

There are quieter spots. 

I will go 

in that direction.  
© Laurie Lynn Newman