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

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.

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 Eyes of the Poet: Seeing Like an Artist

What joy simple pleasures bring! One of our greatest gifts is the ability to simply take time to appreciate and enjoy the world around us. Fine-tuning our ability to notice detail is an important skill of the artist and the writer. It is an important skill for everyone to enjoy!

 

Every time you see something new, take a moment to really get to know the object with your eyes. Practice this technique on new things that you see. Take time to rediscover old, familiar objects and places. Look outside and find something new. Take time to let your vision appreciate your discoveries. Look at the detail. Let your mind tell you what your eyes have found.

 

Try this technique on people. Try it on a loved one. Look at them.  Really look at them as though you are seeing them for the first time. Look closely. Find something new about them that you never saw before. Appreciate them with your eyes.

 

Look at nature. Study the sky, the trees, birds, and animals. Open your eyes wide and take in the entire landscape. Slowly zoom in on one particular object. Notice its detail. Let it paint its picture into your mind’s eye.

 

Art by Susan Swan

 

Give your eyes permission to be young and curious again. Look for things to behold, for things to bring into your new world of observation. Look up at the sky. Forget the cumulus, cirrus, and stratus. Search for the long-tailed dragons and sailing ships. Let the child in you wake up with fresh eyes each morning.

 

Try these six steps:

 

  • LOOK. The first step of observation is to simply open your eyes and look.
  • SEE. Now pause and focus on the object, person, or scene.
  • NOTICE. Select one, specific area to study.
  • PONDER. Allow your mind’s eye to enter into your vision.
  • STUDY. Explore the minor detail of your subject.
  • BEHOLD. Allow your mind, your emotions and all your senses to begin making free associations, literal and abstract, with the various aspects of your subject until the delicate essence of your subject is no longer simply a part of your observation, but a part of you.

Look for color, size, shape, and texture. Try to feel the object with your eyes. Choose new vantage points from which to observe the familiar. Look for similarities and differences. Look for parallels and contradictions. Look from the inside out.

 

Play what-if games with your observations. What if it were larger or smaller? What if it were a different color, size, or shape? What if it were found someplace else? What else could it be other than what it first appears?

 

And finally, remember what the poet Paul Valery once wrote: “To see is to forget the name of the thing that one sees.”

 

Forget and behold.

 

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.

 

 

Inner View

Look inside the scape called sea

Until the ocean owns your eyes;

Search beneath the surface shine

Until its depth dispels its lies.

 

Climb your stare upon each wave

Until you see all shades of green;

Swim your vision past itself

Until your sight becomes the scene.

 

 

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 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.

Inspiration: A Different Road Home

Want to write a poem, a story, a memoir? Need a jump start on some new inspiration? Try surrounding yourself with something new. Change is good. The Muse loves change. Turn off the computer and TV. Put away the iPhone. Go out to eat. Go to a live play or concert. Attend a sporting event. Hang out at a new coffee shop. Meet new people. Take a different road home. Listen to some new music. Find alternate station. Check out a book from the library. Look through old photo albums. Light some candles. Take a warm bath. Soak in your thoughts. Write randomly. Bathe in your own stream of consciousness.
 

Now you’re ready to write. Start with an image, a mood, a feeling. Let it tell you where it wants to go.
 

Writing is talking on paper. Let your words speak in a whisper. Let them lull you on to deeper thoughts. Think of someone special. Pretend you are telling them a secret. You are.
 

Now go have some fun. Writing is not a chore. It’s magic. Let it happen. It’s process of awareness and discovery, discovering something you didn’t know you knew until you wrote it. If it surprises you, it will surprise someone else. If there are no surprises, hit delete and move on to your next burst of inspiration. You have lots of ideas inside waiting to come out. Let them.
 
Inspiration

Inspiration
 
It is every thing
you think it is.
It is the end
of the tunnel
and the light
up ahead.
It is the sound
of the wind
and the silence
of the night.
It is the sun
and the moon
and the memory.
It is the eye
and the hand
and the mouth.
It is the present
and the future
and the past.
It is here.
It is there.
It is gone.
 
* * *

 
Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a tree house in the middle of Alabama.
He is the author of more than 5,000 poems and 100 award-winning books from Random House,
Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Abrams, Charlesbridge, Orca
and Capstone. His poems appear in magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights.
 

For more information, please visit: FatherGoose.com

10 Things I’ve Learned as a Children’s Poet

  1. Children have the best imaginations.
  2. Children look at the world from the inside out.
  3. Children love lyrical language.
  4. Daydreaming is a highly underrated art form.
  5. When you write for children, don’t write for children. Write from the child in you.
  6. It is better to show, than tell.
  7. Style is not how you write. It is how you do not write like anyone else.
  8. Enter the writing process with a childlike sense of wonder. Let it surprise you.
  9. Finding poetry in the world and sharing it with others makes us feel alive.
  10. Staring out the window and making things up is a fun way to make a living.

 

Charles Ghigna’s fantastic poem “Moon” appears in the October issue of Spider. For more poems like this be sure to subscribe to any of the magazines in the Cricket Media family and check out our website at shop.cricketmedia.com for some special poetry-themed product bundles. (And shhh, don’t tell anyone where you heard this, but use discount code FF2015 until December 15th to get the friends and family discount on all our magazines, as well as 60% off in our online store. Hey, we’re all friends here, right?)
 

American poet and author Charles Ghigna has written more than 100 books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers and has published dozens of poems in Cricket, Spider, and Ladybug magazines over the past decade. Be sure to check out his website.

What’s So Grand about Grandchildren?

It is no wonder we call them grand children and they call us grand parents. From the moment they arrive, they transform us into the grandest we have ever been. They give us new names, and we are never the same. They fill our hearts with love and laughter and other wondrous gifts of grandeur.
 
The first time my grand daughter, Charlotte Rose, called me “Gooooose,” short for Grandpa Goose, a derivative of my pseudonym Father Goose, I knew I had been anointed. Oh the smiles and giggles and make-believe silly stories we share. One would think we had surely followed Alice down the rabbit hole.
 
That spark of story-telling inspiration comes each time I allow my silly self to let go of reality and enter into imaginative play with her. Those carefree creative times often ignite a trail of tall tales full of an endless array of colorful characters. One of those new characters is Lucy Goose, the main character who now proudly appears with her sidekick, Duckling, in our new Tiny Tales, a series of four sixty-four page early chapter books, all inspired by my very grand daughter.
 
Charlotte Rose and I like to play in my tree house when she comes for a visit. That’s when the magic happens. She climbs up onto my old desk and sits there playing with my parade of little geese miniatures. They lead her to an assortment of my other collectibles: old kaleidoscopes, magnifying glasses, marbles, slinkys and toys from other times.
 
On one of her visits, Charlotte picked up my tiniest goose figurine and asked, “What’s her name?” I told her that one didn’t have a name. I asked if she would like to name it for me. Without hesitation, her eyes lit up and she said, “Lucy. Lucy Goose!” A new burst of make-believe filled the tree house that morning as little Lucy Goose led us on the first of our many story-telling adventures, adventures we later wrote down for others to read and enjoy, adventures that now appear in our very grand new series of Tiny Tales. And below you will find a poem of mine that appeared in Cricket magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as Charlotte does.
 

 
Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a tree house in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Capstone, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Abrams, Charlesbridge, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights.

The Poetry of Life

We are all poets. Each one of us sees the world in our own special way. Whenever we look up at the passing clouds and see long tail dragons and sailing ships we are poets. When we share our visions and dreams we are poets. We are poets whenever we tell the world who we are, what we think, and how we feel.

What is Poetry?

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.

 

Poetry is music, theater, dance, art, and literature. Poetry is winter, spring, summer, and fall. Poetry is laughter and tears, faith, and fears. Poetry is life!

 

So what do poets like to write about? I’ve written poems for children’s magazines such as Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, and Babybug on a variety of subjects from “Snowfall in the City” to “Roses After the Rain,” from sunny days of “Summertime” to “The Cold Gray Days of Winter.”

 

Poetry is everywhere! It’s in the smile of a friend and in the sound of the wind. It’s in the scent of the meadow and in the skyline of the city. It’s in the setting sun as she bows her bright orange dress away into the purple haze of evening.

 

 

Finding poetry in the world and sharing it with others makes us feel alive. It fills us with hope and wonder. It celebrates life. It shines light into the corners of the world and turns the overlooked and the common into sparkling gems of wonder and joy.

 

Poetry is everywhere! It’s in the smile of a friend and in the sound of the wind. It’s in the scent of the meadow and in the skyline of the city. It’s in the setting sun as she bows her bright orange dress away into the purple haze of evening.

 

So what else do poets like to write about? We like to write about everything! Sometimes we write poems that compare one thing to another. We call that metaphor. Sometimes our metaphors compare poetry to things!

 

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 Painting

A poem is a painting,
A masterpiece you’ll find
Hanging on display inside
The gallery of your mind.

* * *

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!

 

So what is poetry? It’s life! It’s also the little path that leads us all the way to wonderland — and back.

 

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 is the author of more than 5,000 poems and 100 books from Random House,
Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone and other publishers.
His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights.
For more ideas about poetry, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Art by Barry Gott