When I was in elementary school I would sneak my literature textbook onto my lap and read poems during our math lessons. It wasn’t that I found math boringly easy (I didn’t). And it wasn’t that I had fallen behind and needed to catch up in English class (I hadn’t). I just preferred the way words fit together more than numbers. The irony is that one of my favorite forms was one bound by numbers. I marveled at the way the 17 syllables of haiku, its 5–7–5, imposed order on the lawlessness of imagination and distilled every hard truth and easy beauty of the world into something that can be said in a single breath.
It’s been years, too long really, since I cheated responsibility to read poetry the way I did in math class. So, last week when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with commitments and to-do lists it was a timely accident to stumble into John Paul Lederach’s haiku reminding us to lay our hands only on the task before us and let the result deliver itself.
Don’t ask the mountain
To move; just take a pebble
Each time you visit