Haiku by 8 year old, plus Guest on Radio Show

by Sheila Finkelstein on April 27, 2016

Haiku for Healing

Image from “Always Love: Finding the Light in the Darkness – Caregiver Tips”

I felt honored recently to be interviewed by Bert Copple as his guest on the Caregiver Cafe Radio show, Tuesday, April 26.  We spoke of using Haiku for stress reduction and much more.

In the Metro Detroit, MI area the show was live-streamed and could be heard on the web in many areas throughout the country.  I’ll post the replay link here once it’s available.

During our time together, I was particularly impressed with Bert’s considering throughout this past week about ways Haiku writing [3 lines – 5 – 7 – 5 syllables] could be used by Caregivers in working with their loved ones and/or clients.  He reflected: “One might think ‘How am I going to capture emotions and feelings…into just 17 syllables?'”

The “Icing on the Cake” for me was Bert’s story on how he decided to “test” some of his thoughts with his just-turned-eight-years-old son Brady.  As he was tucking Brady into bed, the latter declared, “You know, Dad, the bed’s so cold, I can’t fall asleep.”

Bert continued his story stating: “Thinking about what I read on your website, I got the idea to get Brady to refocus. I told him, ‘I have an idea. Let’s write a Haiku about how your bed’s cold.'”
Bert then  went on to explain Haiku to his son.

Within 5 minutes of working together, Brady declared:
“Cold bed freezes toes
Heart-racing warming my nose
Tucked in tight. Good night.”

Pretty awesome, especially for an 8-year old, wouldn’t you agree?

I was moved and close to tears, particularly as Bert continued:

“Here’s what I noticed… What I loved about this is that as he was writing, he got to share and express his emotions and his feelings… he felt validated and he got heard…In the process of doing it, the environment around him changed. His bed became warmer. He became more comfortable…

He took a situation that was not good, that he was not happy about in his little 8-year-old body and brain and he was able to all-of-a sudden transform it into a piece of art and use that artful expression to help calm himself down.”

Amongst the elements playing on my emotions were:

1 – How Haiku opened up new experiences with father and son… perhaps an even greater bonding;
2 – The actual demonstration of how things were altered for Brady in his environment;
3 – The using of the experience to transform, as Bert said, negative into a positive;
4 – The clear example of how transferable the writing of Haiku could be for easing and providing relief in so many situations.

As the interview continued, Bert asked me how one would get started writing a Haiku poem. I suggested the following. AND I invite you now to think of something that might be bothering you, perhaps a negative “refrain”, so-to-speak, that the voice in your head might sometimes, and/or regularly, nudge you with.

Speak it…
Finger count the syllables…
Pare the words down or add to it for 5 syllables total.
Then create a 2nd line of 7 syllables,
And the 3rd line…5.

Turning the above instructions into Haiku:

Troubling words out loud
Finger count the syllables
Feeling control now.

I now invite you to do one or more pieces of Haiku yourself, and share what you write in the comments below.  You can see more on the Haiku for Healing page on this site and you can get my Haiku for Healing PDF by filling in your name and email address on the form in the right sidebar.

A final Thank You to Bert and Brady. You made a difference for me and I’m sure many others now and in the future.

Again, please leave a comment below…Share a Haiku and/or a caregiver or family experience of your own.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Myra Levick, PhD, ATR April 28, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Sheila, thank you for sharing. Brady’s Haiku was amazing for a child his age.
I know the power of poetry in therapy. I knew the (1968-9) editor of the Journal of the Poetry Association and psychiatrists who contributed to it. A few of my students would use it in conjunction with art therapy. Always productive. Myra


Sheila Finkelstein April 28, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Thanks so much for your response and sharing, Myra. I’ll make sure Brady and his Dad see your acknowledgment.


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