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November Capsule Week 2: Awe via Simplicity

Haikus are the best way to capture awe through sheer simplicity, just 17 syllables. In just two generations we have gone from communicating via pagers, to flip phones, to iPhones in long-winded, rather meaningless texts. No time is better than now to cull beauty found in this classical Japanese Poem.

A haiku is always just three lines: first line five syllables, second line seven syllables and third line five syllables. Here’s an example of a haiku written as a poem providing the definition:


Poems for any age.

Snap a photo, caption well.

Speak volumes simply.

This is a great exercise to do with your family. Haikus teach children (and adults) the power of words and weakness found in excess.

Practice writing haikus at the dinner table then make a gratitude game out of it for Thanksgiving dinner. Give each guest at your table an index card and pencil, set the timer to five minutes, give a prompt like: What are you grateful for this year? What does family (or Thanksgiving) mean to you? You can prep this activity with your child in advance by creating beautiful handmade frames for the haikus. The frames can be as simple as homemade construction paper and dried leaves, or as elegant as purchased glass frames. Capture the moment by taking a polaroid of the poet and adding it to the framed haiku.

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