Writing Our Hearts
by Nessa McCasey
We are very pleased
to welcome Nessa McCasey to SoulfulLiving.com as our
newest monthly columnist! Each month, Nessa will offer
a poem or short writing based on our magazine's monthly
theme and will provide techniques for creative
expression that you can use to explore the topic
Daring to Dream Out Loud
Read Our "Words of
Grace" Collaborative Poem
On a day of tripping vicariously around the Internet
and its various stories and news, I was drawn to pursue
information outside American media. I had often wondered
about how the world looked at the same events that we
do, and have been fairly ignorant about foreign
journalists and writers on current events. Keeping up
with the daily news had become exhausting and
disheartening for me, besides.
So, giving myself a break from the rush of preparing
for December gatherings and gift-givings, I ventured
onto an article by John Hooper, British journalist for The
Guardian. It was a different kind of Christmas
story. The article was titled, "Hail Morea"
and was about a man named Natale Morea. Natale is
translated as "Christmas" from the Italian.
The story was out of the Rome dispatch office of The
Guardian. Morea has become my ideal of how to dare
to live in order to actively create a more positive
I wanted to write about Natale Morea, but my words
would not come in any way that felt fitting. I turned to
an intriguing form of poetry, named "Found
Poetry." Basically, the poet takes several words or
phrases from a piece of writing and creates a poem based
upon it. I am especially grateful to John Hooper for
writing the story about Natale Morea, for my life has
changed by coming to know about him in this way. I want
to help others notice people like Natale Morea, before
they are heroes, for their lives matter simply by
surviving in our sometimes harsh world. I want our world
to become a better place, for everyone.
Here’s the Found Poem, and my writing challenge
Humanity Himself: A Found Poem
By Nessa McCasey
Based on the original newspaper article
by John Hooper
The newspaper said,
according to his nephew,
"Natale Morea is an oddball:
a homosexual and a transvestite."
He was born in a village in the "heel" of
He worked in a costume jewelry factory
until the factory closed and
"Natale Morea was made redundant"
as the article stated.
So was I drawn to the contrast of
harsh, condemning words
and a gentle man whose spirit shows
as far away as isolated America
where no media source reported the story.
Morea continued his life, starting a business of his
an amusement arcade,
which did not thrive.
He ended up homeless in Rome,
living and sleeping on the streets of the capital.
On just an ordinary night
of his downtrodden life,
something happened so fast
where you don’t get the chance
to ponder your actions.
Natale Morea, humane human,
despised throughout his life
by people who wouldn’t ever know him,
took action to intervene
when girls having a fun night
out on the town
were attacked by young men.
Others might turn away from
this kind of trouble.
Natale Morea did not.
"He put himself
between the women
and their attackers,
allowing them to escape,
and paid for his courage
with a beating so dreadful
it put him into a coma."
Lying unconscious in a hospital bed,
others have taken notice of him
and what he has done.
The president of his home region said,
Natale Morea "has given us all a lesson in
A central Italian village has voted
to provide him with a modest monthly allowance
for the rest of his life.
The mayor of Rome visited him
on Christmas Eve,
on his birthday,
and left at his bedside
the keys to a flat
in the eastern suburbs.
Oh, what a world where
Natale Morea lives bravely,
helping his neighbors
and when he gets hurt,
his neighbors help him.
A world helping each other,
neighbor to neighbor,
sister to brother,
stranger to stranger,
old to young,
young to old;
let it continue with me today
as I tell you about Natale Morea.
Although I don’t know that Morea
will ultimately survive, a recent news update filed by
John Hooper indicates that doctors are hopeful about his
condition. My heart is connected to this man who thought
of helping others ahead of considering his own
How shall we change the world? Natale Morea knows the
only way, and he has positively impacted many lives
because he acted.
How then shall we live? How shall we dream ourselves
alive into a world filled with hope, compassion, joy,
peace, prosperity? We shall do this with our actions.
The American press may not pick up on our stories,
just as they did not pick up Natale Morea’s story.
Yet, as we affect another life in a positive way, maybe
by easing the loneliness of an elderly housebound
neighbor or acknowledging the homeless man asking for
money on the street corner, for example, we change the
communities where we live. We will change our own lives,
too, in these small or profound ways.
I feel empowered by the story of Natale Morea in
Rome, Italy. He made a difference in the lives of the
young women when he intervened on that dark, aggressive
night. He made a difference in my life as new
inspiration and a renewed sense of hope gave to me more
energy to act positively now, tomorrow, and throughout
this upcoming, full-possibility 2004. It is my dream,
which I am saying out loud here at SoulfulLiving.com,
that I will continue in this energetic way of living out
positive changes, helping where I can.
What will you dare to dream this year? How will you
dream something new into the world? You have the power
to bring about change, in a split-second decision or
with your thoughtful planning for change. Natale Morea
acted in a split-second decision to stand between those
young women and their attackers. He is an inspiration.
Because I have been so affected by Natale’s story,
my first set of writing ideas involve writing out your
dreams for change, within your own life or within your
family, your community, or the world. If you want to
speak them out loud, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and I will gather them as a powerfully joined voice for
Dreaming A New World. Every bit of light, especially the
light of radiance on your face as your empower yourself,
brings hope and light to our world. Please include your
name on the writing if you would like your identity
acknowledged on the website. I sincerely appreciate all
responses but also encourage you to write exactly what
you need to write, even if you are not ready to share it
with anyone else yet.
I dream about ____________________...
I dare to change __________________...
I begin today to ___________________...
As another writing challenge, try writing a Found
Poem, based on a clipping out of the newspaper, or a
slip of paper found in the parking lot. You can use a
few words from the original writing and add more words
of your own, as I did, or you can reorder the lines and
not add any original writing. Credit the author of the
original piece and you have made a Found Poem.
I am very happy to read any of your writings in
response to the ideas here. Dialogue increases the
healing potential of writing in a therapeutic manner.
But above all, I honor your process, especially if you
are writing for yourself.
in peace, in hope, in poetry,
in celebration of the anniversary of SoulfulLiving.com,
© Copyright 2004 Nessa McCasey. All Rights
Last month, we
started with a graceful poem about Prayerful thoughts
from poet, Lisa Colt. I asked for responses from readers
to create our own SoulfulLiving.com collaborative poem
where we ask for personal and universal blessings. The
responses were so heartening to read, as each came in. I
deeply thank each who responded for stepping forward as
you did, using your words to connect each of us in what
seems to me to be a stunning prayer for this new year.
May God enlighten us to be "a part of" and
not "apart from." — Grace Petersen
May we strive for light and bathe in tranquil wonder.
May our light within, shine without, and rain peace upon
May the storms rumble, and downpours cleanse our weary
May we be born again, made anew, and forever seek the
May we hush and be still, listening within for our
May we walk with faith, act with faith, and be an
example of divine light.
May the material fade away and our love become all
May man work together hand in hand, love one another,
and reach out to one and all.
May hope pierce our hearts, so we may we live in hope,
May morning dew kiss the trees, and sparkle heavens
When we open our mouths to sing, may heaven's angels
a glorious spectacular sight.
When we open our mouths to sing, may the stars in the
ink night sky
twinkle and sing joyous
When we open our mouths to sing, may the clouds part and
the sun’s rays
blanket warm blessings upon us.
— Bobbie Sandlin
May we shimmer and dance like the moon
across the deep, mysterious
night sky. — anon.
May we love fully - simply love - love when we are
wounded. — Lila L Weisberger
May we find ways to experience growth
so that we may be more of who
we are. — Laurie Arnold
May we tend the heart with compassionate hands,
may we believe in the genius of
and may peace be borne in every
in every home throughout all
worlds. — Lisa Roma
May we begin the New Year
with gratitude in our hearts,
and may we show that gratitude
as a light that shines like a
May we find hope within ourselves
and foster it in others.
May we have true peace
on this vast and sacred earth
May we hear the voices of all children,
and recognize how much they
need to be heard.
May we never categorize, generalize,
or marginalize another human
May we see how similar
we all truly are.
May we give because we want to,
and not because we have to.
May we remember the many wisdom lessons
we have learned over time.
May we join our voices with others,
singing, praying or whispering,
as we realize that the
"may we’s" could go on and on,
because the wishes in our souls
and long to be expressed. —
May we meet each day with expectation and grace
and see our love in every
single face. — EJB
May we bless ourselves each and every day with the
gift of self-love. — Susan F Field
May we find true companions on our many journeys —
May we always remember to listen for the lost child
in every adult.
May we always remember where we house our soul.
May we always find the magnifying glass for our special
May we never stop our laughs. — Johanna G. Martinez
May we all feel the love of others, joining in
as we learn to live and prosper
in peace together. — Nessa McCasey
And so it is. — anon.
I truly believe that poets are walking
everywhere in this world. Each of the respondents proved
that to me; however quietly and undiscovered, our poetic
voices can be raised one by one and thus will move this
world into what we all dream it can be.
Read Nessa McCasey's Past Columns:
2003 - Joining Together with Our Words of Grace
2003 - Midlife Questioning: One Writer's Path to
2003 - Can We Write (or Read) Our Way to Serenity?
Nessa McCasey, A former technical editor for NASA, street/performance poet in Denver, corporate writer, single mom, marketing communications specialist, and church music director. She is charting a new path for work and life in the profession of Poetry Therapy serving as a State Representative for the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) where she facilitates group or individual poetry therapy sessions and presents poetry and writing workshops to jump-start others in their own powers of creative expression.
You can reach Nessa at: email@example.com
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