When to rhyme was a crime: A week of poetic madness at Shibumi

September11, 2015
by Shibumi
It always thrills me when I get a chance to work with poetry. As an avid fan of stories and prose, poetry came to me much later in life and since then I’ve been hooked. So, when Shibumi suggested I work with the children on poetry, I grabbed the chance.
My first task was to dispel all common notions that a poem has to rhyme. We attacked haiku with a vengeance in the Kiri and Thulir group. By giving them a simple formula, and some examples, they were soon spouting haikus about stones, puppies, mice, and even about people. Their young minds grabbed the chance to step out of the structures of a poem, and the imagery they captured in three simple lines was fantastic. As Sarayu said, “I love haiku because it’s infinite. Anything is possible.” Of course, we had to trim and tweak some of the ‘poems’ which irked our budding poets, but they eventually succumbed to some edits here and there in their masterpieces. We also sketched and doodled about existing poems and haikus which finally led to ‘The Poetry Weekly’ newspaper. My final lap was complete on the last day when Mahiti showed me a poem and looked at me horrified when I suggested the last line could rhyme, “Prer, I don’t want my poem to rhyme!!” I might have created a monster. Many, in fact 🙂
With the Tarangs and younger Isauras, we dug deeper. Looking at different styles of poetry (including Shakespeare, surprisingly), they were soon able to spot patterns, images, sounds, moods and themes. We tried to touch upon deeper emotions using simple themes like the pond, or the library, even an eraser. The uninspired poets diligently worked on their pieces every day, much to my amazement. We also looked at using different elements like art, craft, movement and music, to add to poetry to bring to life. ‘The Wormhole’ took on a whole new flavour with an addition of mystical Celtic music, ‘Abandon’ soared with tai-chi added on,  and Siddh even rapped his poem after sitting through a Shakespeare and hip-hop documentary. By the end of that week their minds were open to poems in a new way and they seemed less anxious about reading and writing poetry. Hopefully many more gems shall spout from this point on, for this is only the beginning 🙂
“Young minds leap in joy –
The sounds discordant and few
Aiming for the stars..”
Much love to the Shibumi family always,

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