I have had the privilege these last few months of working with a student in his calligraphy class. I do most of the work right alongside him, just helping him keep things in order and stay focused. Our last assignment of the year is a project around Haikus, that ancient poetry form so often used by teachers to get reluctant kids to try writing a poem because it is short. Haikus are fun and sometimes silly, but can also be incredibly profound for so few words. I have also found, while writing them, that they are surprisingly meditative in practice. Apparently, I am not the only one, this was sort of the original purpose of them and the reason many people continue to write them today.
The calligraphy teacher gave these instructions: write five haikus about people, places, things and events that have helped shape you. Next, break those haikus into one short summary sentence of no more than eight words. Here are mine:
Legacy of love
Food laden dinner table
Stories and laughter
Legacy of food laden laughter
Opal creeks, ancient timbers
Mountains opal, ancient canyon
I learned about God
In a small and perfect face
God in a small face, unconditional
Always book in reach
Narnia, Rohr, Coates, Melville
Pages in my blood
Narnia, Rohr, Coates, Melville in my blood
Broken heart, doubting
He helped me see, think and heal
I needed pursuit
Broken heart needed pursuit
Perhaps you can make some guesses as to what, where or who these allude to. Perhaps you would like to try it for yourself… I highly recommend it and would love to read the results.
The next part of the assignment will involve doing watercolor backgrounds then using calligraphy to write one or more of our short sentences onto them. Perhaps I will share my finished product.