Though I have been reading classical poetry to my son since he was a baby, this has slowly faded.
Poetry is imperative reading. It’s a way for children to explore language and make connections between words and emotion. Poetry discussions can help a child develop critical thinking skills- deciphering text and intent can be a mysterious journey.
It is how poetry can help the author express his feelings that we had a breakthrough. Our dog Bernie had passed away. It was my son’s first experience with death and though we had many conversations, he admitted his sadness was not ebbing. I suggested writing down his feelings as that always seemed to help me. “I’m no going to start a journal, Mom!”, he warned. When I mentioned poetry, he groaned. So I said, not the usual poems- something different. Enter the Haiku.
A Haiku is a type of Japanese poetry made up of 17 moras or syllables (loose translation). It is broken down into three phrases made up of 5,7 and 5 moras. We read some together and my son began to get into it. It helped that a Haiku appears deceptively easy.
We began with him writing down all the descriptive and action words that made him think of Bernie. We grouped them by number of syllables. Then I excused myself to make us lunch and left him to express himself in a Haiku.
When he was done we went over it. After switching out one word, it was complete. He got drawing paper and wrote it out. He drew some of Bernie’s favorite things and places and glued Bernie’s picture on.
His poem is now hanging in his room, not as an art project but as the manifestation of his feelings for Bernie, where both happy memories and sadness co-exist in harmony. A place my son can visit when he needs to.
Article By Nuria Almeida
Picture By RoyJr