A Few Haiku for You

Look around outside. What do you see? A bird? A flower? A sunset? A tree? Each one would make a great haiku — for you!

 

The Japanese haiku, one of the oldest forms of poetry, teaches us much about the art and craft of poem-making. The entire poem consists of only three short lines, yet the haiku contains all the basic elements of poetry.

 

The haiku is understated and concise. It is lyrical and dramatic, poignant and precise, personal and universal. Sometimes it is witty. But always it is ethereal and timeless, as meaningful today as it was hundreds of years ago when Basho, Buson, Issa and the other masters of haiku first began exploring its potential as an art form.

 

Here are a few samples of my haiku. I hope you enjoy them. I followed the Japanese tradition of using seasonal imagery to portray the cyclical aspect of Time and Nature.

 

After reading through these, you may want to try writing some of your own.

 

SUMMER

Summer LYB1507_Cover

June

The cricket calls to

the meadow, each evening he

hears his echo sing.

 

July

Beyond fields of rice

shadows sway to moonlight’s breeze,

lithe bamboo dancers.

 

August

Listen, the forest

waits for summer’s final song,

the whippoorwill sings.

 

FALL

Fall LYB1412-cover

 

September

Shadows bow to the

setting sun, pray to the sky

for blessings of light.

 

October

Artist autumn comes,

paints her blush across each tree,

drops palette, and leaves.

 

November

Geese fly south pulling

over the mountaintops a

stone curtain of sky.

 

WINTER

Winter LYB1611-cover

December

The last lullaby,

an owl cries out through the pines,

the north wind answers.

 

January

A sleeping doe stirs

beneath her blanket of dawn,

a new year rising.

 

February

The sea lion roars

across the far horizon,

storm clouds stalk the shore.

 

SPRING

Spring CKT0605-cover-full

March

A field full of pale

parachutes, dandelions

adrift in the wind.

 

April

Ivory butterflies

perch on black branches,

the dogwood blossoms.

 

May

The cherry blossom

wakes, stretches, opens herself

to the morning sun.

 

 Charles Ghigna lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, instructor of creative writing at Samford University, poetry editor of English Journal for the National Council of Teachers of English, and a nationally syndicated poetry feature writer for Tribune Media Services. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of more than 100 books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. He speaks at schools, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit website at FatherGoose.com

Poems About Poetry for National Poetry Month

Have you ever read a poem ABOUT poetry?

Have you ever written one?

 

All it takes is a metaphor (comparison) and your imagination!

 

Here are some poems with metaphors

that compare poems to lots of different things.

 

 

What’s a Poem?

 

A whisper,

A shout,

Thoughts turned

Inside out.

 

A laugh,

A sigh,

An echo

Passing by.

 

A rhythm,

A rhyme,

A moment

Caught in time.

 

A moon,

A star,

A glimpse

Of who you are.

 

 

A Poem is a Spider Web

 

A poem is a spider web

Spun with words of wonder,

Woven lace held in place

By whispers made of thunder.

 

 

A Poem is a Firefly

 

A poem is a firefly

Upon the summer wind.

Instead of shining where she goes,

She lights up where she’s been!

 

 

A Poem is a Rosebud

 

A poem is a morning rose,

A promise just begun,

A blossom new with fragrant dew

Unfurling in the sun.

 

 

A Poem is a Mirror

 

A poem is a mirror

Sitting on a shelf

Inviting you to come and view

Reflections of yourself.

 

 

A Poem is a Painting

 

A poem is a painting,

A masterpiece divine,

Hanging on display inside

The gallery of your mind.

 

 

A Poem is a Song

 

A poem is a song

Made of color,

 

A rainbow

Made of sound,

 

A painting

Made of memory,

 

A paradise

Found.

 

 

A Poem is a Play

 

A poem is a play

meant to delight.

 

A poem is a show

meant to excite.

 

A poem is a song

full of desire.

 

A poem is a sunset

meant to inspire.

 

A poem is a secret

shared with friends.

 

A poem is a promise

that never ends.

 

 

A Poem is a Busy Bee

 

A poem is a busy bee

Buzzing in your head.

His hive is full of hidden thoughts

Waiting to be said.

 

His honey comes from your ideas

That he makes into rhyme.

He flies around looking for

What goes on in your mind.

 

When it’s time to let him out

To make some poetry,

He gathers up your secret thoughts

And then he sets them free!

 

 

A Poem is a Little Path

 

A poem is a little path

That leads you through the trees.

It takes you to the cliffs and shores,

To anywhere you please.

 

Follow it and trust your way

With mind and heart as one,

And when the journey’s over,

You’ll find you’ve just begun.

 

Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Four Famous Women Who Loved to Paint, Write, Sing, and Act

The urge to create is in each one of us. Our individual need to express ourselves is a vital part of who we are. The poet Walt Whitman once wrote that we are all born with the desire to “sound our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.”

 

Since the beginning of time, women have expressed themselves through art, literature, song, dance, and theatre. For many years the beauty of their artistic messages went unnoticed. Nearly two thousand poems by Emily Dickinson went unpublished until after her death.

 

Here are four women whose creations continue to leave their artistic marks on us.

 

Georgia O’Keeffe

1887-1986

 

Georgia O'KeefeGeorgia O’Keeffe was an artist born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, November 15, 1887. Her full name was Georgia Totto O’Keeffe. She painted in oils and watercolors. Her large paintings are full of sensual flowers and landscapes of the southwest. She lived a very long life and died in Sante Fe, New Mexico at the age of 98. Georgia O’Keeffe is known as the Mother of American Modernism.

 

Georgia O’Keeffe

Like the baby’s sky

that lives beyond

the gentle touch of truth,

her pastels rise softer

than a daylight dream.

Her golden eyes

belong to the stars

of another world

where shade and shape and hue

of yellow, purple, blue

unfurl like calla lilies

in a field of lilac.

In warm, blending tones

of sleeping summer babies,

she wakes our eyes

to new worlds

full of color,

motion, and light.

©Charles Ghigna

 

 

Emily Dickinson

1830-1886

 

Emily DickinsonEmily Elizabeth Dickinson was a poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts, December 10, 1830. After college she moved back home and lived much of her life as a recluse, rarely leaving her house. It was not until after her death that her younger sister, Lavinia, discovered Emily’s nearly two thousand poems hidden away in her room. Dickinson’s complete works were not published until seventy years after her death, yet she is now considered to be one of America’s most popular poets.

 

Emily Dickinson

Stanza upon stanza,

her elegant extravaganza

of poem upon unpublished poem

came to life upon her death,

gave birth and endless breath

to old worlds made new.

©Charles Ghigna

 

Sarah Vaughan

1924 – 1990

 

Sarah VaughnSarah Vaughan was a blues singer born in Newark, New Jersey, March 27, 1924. She began taking piano lessons at age seven and organ at age eight. By age twelve, she was playing and singing in her church choir. She won a vocal contest at the Apollo Theater when she was sixteen and began singing professionally when she was eighteen. She was one of the greatest female scat singers of Bebop jazz. Her later recordings featured many popular songs. Her nickname was “The Divine One.”

 

Sarah Vaughan

An infant speaks,

a young girl sighs,

an old man laughs

to hide his cries.

When she sang

her sultry song,

clear blue skies

from now on.

How gentle is the rain

that falls softly on the meadow.

Birds high up in the trees

serenade the flowers with their melodies.

See there beyond the hills

the bright colors of the rainbow,

some magic from above

made this day for us just to fall in love.

©Charles Ghigna

 

Bette Davis

1908-1989

 

Bette DavisRuth Elizabeth “Bette” Davis was an actor born in Lowell, Massachusetts, April 5, 1908. She appeared in plays on Broadway and starred in more than one hundred movies. She became the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is often regarded as one of the greatest actors in the history of Hollywood.

 

Bette Davis

The deep timbre of her

husky voice

played upon the drums

of our ears,

set us all on edge,

made us sit up in our seats

like obedient puppies

waiting for her command.

Her magnetic eyes

held us in her spell,

cast us into new worlds

and made us all believe in magic.

©Charles Ghigna

 

Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer

A poetic journey through the creative process for readers, writers, artists & dreamers.

 

As I enter my seventh decade on this planet, I wonder what words of wisdom I might have written to the younger me. What treasured tidbits have I learned along the way? What could I leave in a letter to young wide-eyed artists and poets searching the world for advice, guidance, and inspiration.

 

I began as I always do, by closing my eyes and listening to that soft voice that has spoken without fail for more than a half century. The voice spoke. I took notes. Here they are. Little poetic pieces I trust will speak to future generations of poets and artists, young and old. May they continue to listen. May they continue to speak.

 

I.

Do not tell

the world

your pain.

Show it

the joy

of your tears.

 

II.

Hang a picture

of truth

in your heart.

Let the mirror

of your eyes

fill the page.

 

III.

A simple

truth

is light.

A complex

lie

is fire.

 

IV.

When in need

of the poem,

go write it.

But do not think

you are

needed.

There is no

need

for the poet.

There is only

need

for the poem.

 

V.

Do not write

another word–

unless you have to.

 

VI.

No matter

how many poems

you write

to keep

yourself alive,

you cannot.

 

VII.

Run.

Yell.

Spit at the dark.

Curse the moon.

Throw rocks

at the stars.

Get it all out.

Get it all out.

Get it all out on paper.

 

VIII.

Style is not

how you

write.

It is how

you do not

write

like

anyone

else.

 

IX.

Trust

your instincts

to write.

Question

your reasons

not to.

 

X.

Inspiration,

like lightning,

comes

from the

darkest

clouds.

 

XI.

Look in the mirror.

If you see a stranger,

write a poem.

If you see

your father,

write a poem.

If you see

yourself,

put down the pen.

 

XII.

A silent rhyme

upon the page

is what the poet gives,

gentle words

whispered in trust

to see if memory lives.

 

XIII.

The path

to inspiration starts

upon a trail unknown.

Each writer’s block

is not a rock.

It is a stepping stone.

 

XIV.

Poems are not penned

to the page

waiting for us to admire.

They are only

lonely thoughts

caught by tears on fire.

 

XV.

Don’t plant

your poem

on the page

as thought

you’re hanging

drapes.

Its shape

and flow

should come

and grow

like wild

summer grapes.

 

XVI.

A poet’s life

is paradox,

it’s more than what it seems.

We write

of our reality,

the one inside our dreams.

 

XVII.

A poem

is the echo of a promise,

the thunder of a sigh,

the music

of a memory,

a child asking why.

 

XVIII.

A poem

is a rising moon

shining on the sea,

an afterglow

of all you know,

of all your dreams set free.

 

XIX.

A poem

is a spider web

spun with words of wonder,

woven lace

held in place

by whispers made of thunder.

 

XX.

A poem

is a firefly

upon the summer wind.

Instead of shining

where she goes,

she lights up where she’s been.

 

XXI.

It’s not the poem

on the page

that makes them laugh or cry,

it’s how your soul

touched a heart

and opened up an eye.

 

XXII.

A poem

is a play

meant to delight you.

A poem

is a party

meant to excite you.

A poem

is a song

full of desire.

A poem

is a sunset

meant to inspire.

A poem

is a secret

shared among friends.

A poem

is a promise

that never ends.

 

XXIII.

A poem

is a whisper, a shout,

thoughts turned inside out.

A poem

is a laugh, a sigh,

an echo passing by.

A poem

is a rhythm, a rhyme,

a moment caught in time.

A poem

is a moon, a star,

a glimpse of who you are.

 

XXIV.

The answer

to the poet

comes quicker than a blink,

though the spark

of inspiration

is not what you might think.

The muse

is full of magic,

though her vision may be dim,

the poet

does not choose his muse,

it is the muse that chooses him.

Leading the Way to Leadership

What is a leader? A leader is a person who unites us and inspires us to work together toward a common goal. A leader is a person who is responsible for guiding the group toward new heights of success, individually and collectively, and for bringing out the best in each of us. In a symphony, the maestro is the leader. In sports, the captain of our team is the leader.

 

Leading the Way to LeadershipLeaders are everywhere! They are in our family, classroom, team, community, state, and county. At home, parents are the leaders. At school, teachers, librarians, and principal are the leaders. The leader of our community is our mayor. The leader of our state is our governor, and the leader of our country is our president.

 

Some leaders lead with their words. Some leaders lead by example with their actions and deeds. Some leaders bring out the greatness within each of us. Those leaders are great leaders.

 

In his play, The Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare wrote, “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Maybe Shakespeare was thinking of one of those great leaders. Maybe one of those great leaders is you.

 

Response Ability

Responsibility is our

Most favored point of view;

Responding with ability

To what we say and do.

—Charles Ghigna

 

The Right Touch

A thoughtful word, a thoughtful deed,

We never lose the knack,

For kindness is a boomerang

That always comes right back.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Success Full

Never doubt what you can do

No matter what the chore;

Success comes when we care enough

To do a little more.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Think Tank

It doesn’t take an army

To think what can be done;

One person with just one idea

Is more than ten with none.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Virtue Us

Integrity comes not from words,

Though spoken near or far;

It does not come from what we say,

It comes from who we are.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Winning Strategy

Self-discipline is what it takes

To find a way to win;

To see if you have what it takes

Just take a look within.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Dream Child: Follow your Dreams

Dream. Dream big, Child. Follow your dreams. They will take you places you once only dreamed about.

 

It all starts with a first step. A few new steps each day and you are on your way toward your dream.

 

Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. Remember, nothing can keep you from your dreams, but you. The fear of failure is only an illusion. When “No, I can’t” comes knocking, knock him out with “Yes, I can!”

 

You will learn that failure is only an excuse. It is only a temporary set-back. One step back. Two steps forward. And you are on your way again. Each step is a stepping stone leading the way on the path to success.

 

Thomas Edison had a dream. He dreamed he would one day invent the light bulb. But each time he tried, he failed. He failed more than one thousand times, but he never gave up. He said he welcomed and accepted all those little failures along the way knowing that each one was simply the next step to his ultimate success in bringing new light to the world.

 

What is your dream? Do you want to become a doctor? An athlete? An architect? An actor? A teacher? A dancer? Musician? Artist? Writer? Scientist? Inventor? Do you want to cure cancer? Do you want to help make the world become a cleaner, safer place, a more peaceful place? A place to ponder? A place to dream?

 

Goal Mind

Success begins the moment that

You set your goal in place;

Take time to savor every step

For life is not a race.

—Charles Ghigna

 

The High Road

The path to inspiration starts

Upon the trails we’ve known;

Each stumbling block is not a rock,

But just a stepping stone.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Headway

Do not let fear confine your life

Inside a shell of doubt;

A turtle never moves until

His head is sticking out.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Solid Goal

Don’t let the distance to your goals

Keep you from your dreams;

It’s never really quite as far

As what it often seems.

—Charles Ghigna

 

True Grit

The move from failure to success

Takes more than simply grit;

It starts when you first realize

You know you’ll never quit.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Dreams Allowed

Don’t be afraid to dream aloud

The things you want to do;

Just saying what is in your heart

Will help your dreams come true.

—Charles Ghigna

 

The Worst Bad Word

Try to think of all the words

That you could live without;

Make a list of all those words

And throw the worst word out.

 

It’s not a very easy task,

You might just rave and rant;

But don’t give up before you find

The worst bad word is can’t.

—Charles Ghigna

 

[Editor’s Note: Speaking of Thomas Edison, enjoy this overview of just a few of the many inventions he created. This article “A Lifetime of Invention” appeared in the July 2005 issue of COBBLESTONE. Or better yet, get the entire issue about this great inventor and share it with some of the young dreamers in your life.]

 

Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems, many of which appear in textbooks and anthologies, and in newspapers and magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He has spoken at schools, colleges, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

What We Learn From Nature

Go outside. Look around. What do you see? A robin? A squirrel? A honeybee? A parade of busy ants beneath a shady tree?

 

What can our little outdoor friends teach us? What can we learn from them? What lessons await us at every turn?

 

The robin is busy collecting sticks and straw and building a beautiful nest for her baby chicks that are on the way. She teaches us diligence and patience and pride as she prepares for the future.

 

The squirrel gathers and stores acorns for the winter. He teaches us how to postpone immediate gratification as he prepares for greater rewards in the future.

 

The busy honeybee buzzes around the garden with his brothers and sisters. He gathers nectar from the flowers and takes it back to the hive to make honey. He teaches us how to work together to reach a common goal.

 

The eager little ant hurries back and forth carrying crumbs to her ant hill for everyone to enjoy. The crumbs she carries are often bigger than she is. She teaches us the joy of sharing and the reward of doing more than we thought we could.

 

We can learn much from our little nature friends. We, too, can find joy and pride and reward in working toward our goals every day, working together and alone to accomplish more than we ever imagined.

 

The Ant

See the little ant.

He never says, “I can’t.”

And so it comes as no surprise,

He carries things ten times his size.

—Charles Ghigna

 

A Poem is a Busy Bee

A Poem is a Busy Bee

A poem is a busy bee

Buzzing in your head.

 

His hive is full of hidden thoughts

Waiting to be said.

 

His honey comes from your ideas

That he makes into rhyme.

He flies around looking for

What goes on in your mind.

 

When it is time to let him out

To make some poetry,

He gathers up your secret thoughts

And then he sets them free.

—Charles Ghigna

 
Ladybug Cover

Robin’s Nest

Tiptoe up and look real closely,

Made with sticks and straw but mostly

Made with love and lots of care,

A little tree house in the air.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Shadow Tail

Shadow Tail

The word “squirrel” comes from

Greek meaning “shadow tail.”

 

Elusive as a wisp of smoke,

Bashful as a breeze,

Shadow Tail plays hide and seek

Among the morning trees.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Editor’s Note: For more about how nature can inspire readers of all ages, read our recent blog about how to bring the outdoors inside with nature magazines for kids.

 

Charles Ghigna - Father Goose®Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems, many of which appear in textbooks and anthologies, and in newspapers and magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricketand Highlights. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He has spoken at schools, colleges, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Predicting Your Future

What if you had a crystal ball that you could look into to see your future?

 

You do.

 

It’s YOU! You are your own crystal ball.

 

In his play “The Tempest,” William Shakespeare wrote, “What is past is prologue.” That means that all we need do to predict our future is to look to our past. Our past thoughts, actions, interests and activities are the road map to our future. We very often become what we most like to do.

 

Do you like to work in the garden? Do you like to build things with your hands or on the computer? Do you like to draw, or paint, or dance and sing? Do you like to bake and cook? Do you like to take care of pets and people? Do you like to daydream and make up stories and poems and songs?

 

Henry Ford liked to tinker with pocket watches when he was a child, taking them apart and putting them back together to see what made them work. Vincent Van Gogh liked to draw. Ernest Hemingway wrote articles for his high school newspaper. Amelia Earhart made a home-made ramp and rode on a wooden box down it off the roof of the family toolshed. She said it felt “just like flying!”

 

Think of all the things you like to do. Think of all the things you have done. Your past actions, interests, and dreams are a good indication of your future success.

 

Predicting Your Future -

Artwork by Brad Walker from the April 2016 cover of DIG INTO HISTORY Magazine

Your crystal ball is in your hands. What do you see?

 

In Sight

Close your eyes and look inside,

A mirror shines within;

To find where you are going,

First see where you have been.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Choice Art

The answer to the artist

Comes quicker than a blink

Though initial inspiration

Is not what you might think.

The Muse is full of magic,

Though her vision’s sometimes dim;

The artist does not choose the work,

It is the work that chooses him.

—Charles Ghigna

 

 


Charles Ghigna – Father Goose®
 lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems, many of which appear in textbooks and anthologies, and in newspapers and magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at charles-ghignathe Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He has spoken at schools, colleges, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

The Art of Listening

We all have feelings and opinions. One of the best ways we have to understand each other’s feeling and opinions is to listen, to simply stop talking, open our minds and our hearts, and listen to what the other person has to say.

 

Listening to people who we think are different from us can be especially helpful — and surprising! Often the biggest surprise is to discover the other person is so much like us!

 

The other person may be older and wiser, or younger and curious. Either way, we can learn so much about other people by simply listening to what they have to say.

 

When we read about other people we are listening to them too, we are listening to their stories, their feelings and opinions.

 

I especially like to read and listen to young people who want to tell me their stories. One of my favorite books was written by a young person. Her name was Anne Frank. She wrote a book titled The Diary of a Young Girl.

 

Anne Frank spent much of her young life in hiding away from danger during World War II, yet she never lost her positive spirit and her undying joy of life. We can learn so much about her — and ourselves — by reading and listening to her diary.

 

Anne Frank

All the years she lived in silence,

All the years she lived so small;

All the years she lived in darkness,

All the years behind the wall.

 

All the years she lived in shadows,

All the years she lived to write.;

All the years she lived to show us

How to live our lives in light.

—Charles Ghigna

 

Read more about Anne Frank and her secret hiding place in the attached article from FACES, our magazine for kids ages 9 to 14 that is all about travel, geography, and world culture.

 

The Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House

The Art of Letting Go

The creative process begins when the artist forgets himself and becomes the work. That is when the magic happens. It is an integral part of every artistic form of creation; theatre, music, dance, writing and art.

 

Art by Chip Ghinga

Art by Chip Ghigna

My son, Chip Ghigna, is an artist. He paints pictures with paint. I am a writer. I paint pictures with words. My wife, Debra, was a dancer. She painted pictures with movement. The three of us discovered early on that to create our best work we must first be true to ourselves — and to our art. We learned the art of letting go, to let go of ego and let the painting, the poem, the dance take hold.

 

In his poem “Among School Children,” William Butler Yeats wrote about how the dancer becomes the dance by asking the rhetorical question “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” When the dancer is true to the dance, the dancer and the dance become one. We see the artist in the painting, the poet in the poem, the dancer in the dance.

 

The creative process teaches us the art of letting go. It teaches us to let go inside, to follow our natural instincts and trust our sense of wonder. It teaches us to savor the joy of each new discovery and to celebrate with all our might. It teaches us how to identify the creative force that stirs within us, how to nurture it like a child, and how to finally let it go so that it may take on a life of its own.

 

The artist learns that he is not in search of something greater than himself. He learns that he is a part of the search. He learns that following the search within and letting it go, so that it can communicate with others through images, words, music or dance, is the greatest gift he can give to the world — and to himself.

 

*      *      *

Art can move us to question and examine, to ponder and celebrate, to see and feel and understand ourselves and the world around us beyond what we thought possible.

*      *      *

To the artist who thinks every piece of art must make a statement.

Art does not have to make a statement. Art is a statement, a visual statement of what it means to be alive.

*      *      *

The Magic of Making Art

Make Art Because You Love To

Make art because you want to, need to, have to!

 

Paint What You Feel, Not Want You Think

Good art is intuitive. Feel it. Follow the feeling.

 

Creation Does Not Come From the Outside In

Art comes from the inside out. It is already in you. Let it out.

 

Paint Fast and Fearlessly

Your brush is an extension of you. Use your whole body, not just your arm and wrist.

 

Forget the Color Wheel

There are no primary or secondary colors. There is only color. Make your own.

 

Put the Critics on Mute

Art is a silent visual song. Turn off the chatter. Listen to your own music.

 

Good Art Takes Time

Take time to make good art.

 

Charles Ghigna - Father Goose®Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com