Tackling Racism With Haikus

A haiku is a Japanese poem consisting of three lines, the first is five syllables, the second is seven and the third is five again, as you can see above. For such a short poem, they have the capacity to be very powerful.

Poetry is a way of using words to express something. Words can change people’s lives and destroy people’s lives, they have so much potential. If only we can use words to beat terrible things that exist in the world, like racism. Words can do more than any amount of fighting, wars and conflict just cause more hate. Words can turn hearts around. We can employ poetry to raise awareness of, and eventually conquer, racism.

Let’s start a campaign called Tackling Racism With Haikus. Come on guys. I think we could do this. We may not be able to wipe racism off of the face of the earth, but I think we can make a change. So everyone who is reading this now, please go and write a haiku in the name of anti-racism. If you have blog, post it on that and ask your followers to write one too. If you like you can reblog this post and raise awareness.

You know, being bloggers, we have a really amazing tool at our disposal. We have A VOICE! So we should use it to do something good and worthwhile. Don’t worry if you’ve never written a poem in your life or if you think you’re not that good. It’s the thought that counts. Let me know in the comments if you’ve written one and I’ll check it out. Also don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

Right, I’ll start.

You don’t understand
how colour doesn’t matter,
it fades in the end……..

 

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Poppa

 

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The next part of our adventure takes place in Kent. Currently we are living in a house here, taking care of a good friend’s 95 year old father.

We are looking after Poppa, as everyone calls him, in his own home on Romney Marsh.

It’s a lot of work looking after Poppa and a lot of it my parents have to do, but I am Chief Tea Maker and I do bake a lot of cakes and puddings for him, as he does have a very sweet tooth. He’s a lot of fun to be around and everyone loves him.

It’s funny, but exciting for us to live in a 3 bedroom house, seeing as we’ve only ever lived in tiny houses and, just recently, in the back of a car!

We have our own room, me, my brother and sister, and we look out of our window in the morning across the flat marsh with sheep grazing in the sunrise. It’s beautiful.

I’ve set up my own little corner on the landing with a table and a chair. I’m right next to a window again and the view looks like a painting. I have my stack of books and my writing stuff. And, of course, a tin of biscuits! It’s blissful.

This morning Poppa did some Homeschooling with us. He seemed to be enjoying himself. He made everyone laugh by playing Irys’ recorder!

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Looking after Pops is a pleasure for us.

We always said that if someone’s in need of help we would make it part of our journey to help them and we are.

 

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A good student

Deja Vu: How About You?

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What do you think about deja vu? For those who don’t know what deja vu is and/or are interested in the dictionary definition ( like me, although I’m pretty interested in the dictionary definition of everything. Yeah, I have read the whole dictionary! Yes, really! Anyone else who’s done that? Thought not ). Anyhow here it goes: The illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time.  It’s french for ‘already seen’.

But, the big question is, is deja vu an illusion? Hang on, am I questioning the  dictionary? Yup, I am.

Personally I love Deja Vu, it makes me think. In fact, it usually sends volleys of thoughts flying round my brain, that I can’t seemed to harness or control and that I end up thinking about for hours. It’s also brilliant inspiration for stories, the mystery, the romance of it all. I’m a Deja Vu enthusiast.

But I know that’s not the case for some people. Whilst researching this marvellous thing ( Thing? Not quite sure what to file it as )  I read about people that live their lives in a constant maze of Deja Vu. Like they’re wandering round a labyrinth of some sort. Having Deja Vu of having Deja Vu and so on.

I want to know your views on this and your experiences.

 

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Inspiration

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Sometimes I’m out and about and I have a brilliantly creative idea. I kick myself ’cause my pencil and pad is at home. Then it’s gone. The idea flickers, burns and dies within just a few seconds. I still remember it sometimes, but somehow it doesn’t seem so good.

Then I go home and pick up my pad and pencil. The blank, white sheet stares at me, the lines that run across it are like prison bars. Like the words inside my mind are trapped. Someone who isn’t  writer wouldn’t understand this, but it’s sort of depressing. Seeing that blank sheet and not having any words to decorate it. This is my struggle.

I’m sure all writers go through this. But the thing is you must push through it. You must just write and let inspiration guide you when it can. Stephen King said: Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. Sometimes you have to go out and look for things, it’s like everything in life, it won’t always come to you.

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Perfectly sums up what I’m trying to say about finding inspiration.

But still spontaneous inspiration is wonderful. It shows the absolute beauty of your mind.

Inspiration strikes at unexpected times. Roald Dhal admitted that sometimes he used lipstick and a sweet wrapper to record some idea he’d had. I think a decent writer has to find the balance between using spontaneous inspiration and finding inspiration themselves.

What are your thoughts on inspiration? Please let me know.

Inspiration concept crumpled paper light bulb metaphor for good

Love this.

Four Birds

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I hope you like this short story that I wrote. I’m working on my story writing and I do believe it’s slowly improving. This story is like a fable, it has a moral, and the moral is that your parents may make you work hard and learn lots, but they’re doing it because they want to prepare you for life. And they want the best for you, because they love you. Dad and Mum talk to us about this all the time. They are always teaching us things and it’s because they care.

FOUR BIRDS

There once was a family that lived peacefully up in the High Hills. They lived a simple life, in a simple little cottage, on a simple little farm. The children never knew anything about the outside world, but the parents did. Every evening they would sit by the crackling fire, the littlest on the Father’s knee, the other three curled up on the rug. The Father would tell stories of big cities, millions of people, great palaces, schools, brightly coloured markets, beautiful sunsets not blocked out by hills, mountains that touch the sky, majestic forests and exotic animals and oceans that stretch further than the eye can see.

The children listened in awe and one by one they decided that one day they too would see all these wonders. They spoke to their Father about this and he nodded, smiling. “My children,” he began ” I would like nothing more than for you to go out and explore the world, follow your dreams, settle down and help our world to grow.” The children’s eyes grew wide with anticipation. “But,” their Father continued, “but first you must be ready. The world is not just wonderful, it is dangerous too. You must be able to think for yourselves. At the moment you are fully reliant on your Mother and I. Before you go, you must learn and put the effort in. If you do not work hard, you will not be able to go out and adventure.”

The four children walked away, their wise Father’s words resounding in their ears ” You must be able to think for yourselves.”

That night, as the children lay asleep in their warm cosy beds, their Mother and Father sat talking. “Must we make them think for themselves?”, asked their Mother, “Can we not think for them?” ” My dear, the time has come. We cannot think for them always and forever. They must begin now otherwise they will be adults who have no idea how to live. They will always have to rely on someone else, they will never live their lives to the full. Surely that is not what you want for them?” “No,” sniffed the Mother, “I want them to spread their wings and fly.” “Good” smiled the Father “I’m just giving them a little push. That is my job as a Father, to help my children be the best they can be.”

At first the children worked extremely hard, watching and learning from their parents and trying to think for themselves at every opportunity they got. But their Father knew it wouldn’t last long. Slowly, they grew tired and less motivated. Their Father took them aside and reminded them. “Children! How many times have I told you the importance of thinking for yourselves?! You mustn’t keep relying on me and your Mother. It is my role to guide you , but I can’t do everything for you. If you want to go, you must do it for yourself.”

The children felt refreshed and inspired after their Father’s speech and they set about it once again. This time they stuck to it. They learnt more and more and they began to do things for themselves ever oftener.

Their Mother watched them with tears in her eyes, but also pride and joy. Their Father just looked on, content. He rarely had to say anything nowadays.

Eventually the time came when the children were ready to leave. Their parents stood on the hilltop, outside the little cottage, and watched them go. Four birds, flying free.

The Father put his arm around the Mother’s shoulder. “My dear,” he said “our children are off to live their lives the best they can and we have helped them the best we can. They are part of the future and, because we love them, we have made them as ready for it as they possibly could be. They will contribute to a bright and hopeful world.”

THE END

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My Honest Diary

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This is an entry from the diary I have begun to write. Dad speaks to me often about being honest and honesty’s importance so I decided to start this diary. It will allow me to me honest with myself and occasionally, through this blog, honest with the world.

10th March 2016

“No matter how stupid it sounds, honesty is your friend. It is only when people are honest that wrongs can be righted. If you are honest you can be forgiven. When you are honest you can live without guilt and fear of being uncovered. Honesty is another word for truth. And the truth is the truth, whatever you do to it, it will remain the same.”

And at the moment I’m not always honest. I’m not a liar or a fraud, but I am defensive and I don’t like to admit that I was wrong. If I was honest with myself I would see that I was not right and accept it.

Gracie…..

 

The Candle

 

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I wrote this poem to enter into the poetry category of the Amnesty International Youth Awards. It took  me a long time to write the poem I really wanted to enter, like, five hours and eight attempts. Not to mention discussing it with and receiving advice from  various people, such as my Mum, Dad and friend Ollie.

In the end I was just honest with myself and wrote a poem based on my own experience. Here it goes:

The Candle

Every morning I get up and light my candle,
in the midst of darkness it can be seen for miles.

My candle shines freedom, beams truth and radiates justice.
My candle makes a difference.

Sometimes my candle burns strong and bright,
but other times a slight breeze makes it dwindle.
Sometimes a gust of wind blows it out completely,
but I always relight it and nurture it back to life.

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When ever my candle does start to dim,
I remind myself of all those who need me,
who may otherwise feel alone.
I don’t want to let them down.

I look around me and see all the people who are like me,
feel the same passion as me,
a passion for humanity.
And I feel bound together with all those who desire to keep their candles alight.

So I smile to myself and continue to shine.

“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”

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Another Blog About Botho

 

A while ago I wrote a blog called Botho and I promised more blogs about the same subject. If you don’t know what Botho is or you didn’t read my first blog you can read it here: https://graciechicksblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/botho/

This blog is about how I apply Botho to life in my family.

To be honest, I  don’t always think about Botho, but in some situations I do. For example, the other day we didn’t have much milk and I was first, Botho was absent from my mind so I used too much and there wasn’t enough for my Mum. But then another time when my sister wanted to walk a friend’s dog before school I remembered. She really loves to do it, but she had to do her jobs as well and she was going to be really late so I thought: “I’ll do her jobs for her!” and I did. The reason I did this was because I wanted her to be able to enjoy her walk and not worry about being late. I also wanted to use this opportunity to live Botho style!  Afterwards I felt good because I had thought of her before myself.

The key is to think about Botho in everyday situations you find yourself in and try to make your decision based on what’s best for the people around you.  I need to try as well, we all do if we want harmony and peace for our world.

 

 

Botho may start within one country, Botswana, but I believe that it can spread around the whole world. Then we will live in peac and harmony, no more fighting.

Botho may start within one country, Botswana, but I believe that it can spread around the whole world.

Botho can bring people together

Botho can bring people together

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Botho

If change was a fire, then a small piece of tinder has been lit! And I’ve just smelt the smoke! The fire has started deep in the heart of Africa, in the country of Botswana, and it goes by the name of Botho.

 

 

A small village in Botswana

A small village in Botswana

Botswana is governed by five national principals, democracy, development, self-reliance, unity and Botho.

Botho is a philosophy that the people of Botswana follow.  It is based on a number of important things: Mutual respect, responsibility, compassion and realising your full potential as an individual and as part of the community you live in.

The people of Botswana  practice Botho everyday, at school, at work, at home and in their local community. They think about the decisions they make and see if they are good for others and not just for themselves.

Botswana’s vision for 2016 states:  ‘Botho defines a process for earning respect by first giving it, and to gain empowerment by empowering others. It encourages people to applaud rather than resent those who succeed. It disapproves of anti-social, disgraceful, inhuman and criminal behaviour, and encourages social justice for all. It means above all things to base your thoughts, actions and expectations for human interaction on the principles of Love, Respect and Empathy’

You cannot live  Botho alone. Botho is all about working together, about doing what is best for the community and not just for yourself.

I think that Botho holds the secret for the world living in peace and harmony. That is what it is all about, unity and in unity we have strength to stand up for what is right.

I challenge you, people of the world, to think about Botho and how you can apply it to your own life. I too am going to think about it. How can I apply it to life in my own little community: my family? We, as a family, feel like we already try to follow some of the principles of Botho.

I am going to explore it even more, so expect more blogs about it. As I journey I will share my thoughts . My final destination is to live Botho.

Tell me what you think in the comments, I’m really keen to know…….

They don't have a lot of things or a lot of money, but they have Botho and that makes them happy!

They don’t have a lot of things or a lot of money, but they have Botho and that makes them happy!

One family found the philosophy so important that they named their child Botho.

One family found the philosophy so important that they named their child Botho.

Caring about others is essential for the people of Botswana. They believe that it is important to do what is best for your community.

Caring about others is essential for the people of Botswana. They believe that it is important to do what is best for your community.

 

 

 

Malala Yousafzai: A Real Light In The Darkness

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A long time ago, in a country called Afghanistan, there was a battle. The battle was between Afghanistan and England.  Afghanistan was losing.  Amongst the masses of slain soldiers, sat an Afghan girl. She looked up and saw her people running away. Slowly she rose to her feet, she climbed to the top of the highest mountain. Here she spoke up, the words poured out of her mouth, loud and clear and brave. ” It is better to live for one day as a lion, than to live for a hundred years as a coward”.  The people were encouraged and they turned to face the English. The girl stood at the head, holding the flag.  Her words had made the men of Afghanistan strong and they won a great victory that day, but as the English went to ride away, a man looked back over his shoulder. He pulled out his pistol and aimed. The girl fell, dead. Her name?  Malala.

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Over a hundred years later, in a small village in the Swat valley (Pakistan), a baby girl was born. Her father was a teacher and a wise and good man. When his daughter was born he knew he had found his soul mate. She would grow up to be an incredible girl, ordinary yet extraordinary. Her father knew it, he named her Malala.

Malala is seventeen now and has become one of the world’s greatest and most amazing young women. She has campaigned for girl’s education all over the world.  She has met with world leaders, written a book and produced and starred in her very own film ( Which I have just seen and it actually inspired me to write this blog) and won the nobel peace prize. All of this was to work towards her goal: every child shall get an education.

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Malala was just an ordinary girl, but her love for education and her determination has made her extraordinary. But how has she got here? What and who has made her who she is? What has been her journey?

The Taliban said that she and no other girl should go to school. Then they said that it was against Islam and that no girl will go to school and if you do then they will kill you. Even at eleven years old, Malala believed this was wrong. She argues that girls and boys are equal. “In the Qur’an,” Malala says ” the first word means ‘read’. Nowhere does it say ‘only to be read by men’. It simply says ‘read’.”

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Malala and her father spoke out against the unjust laws of the Taliban. They put their lives in danger. Malala’s father said ” I would rather die than live another day in silence”. They were brave and they did what was right.

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Malala when she was no older than me!

But Malala paid dearly. One day, in the school bus, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban, along with two of her friends. The other two girls where not too badly injured, but Malala was. No one thought she would live, but everyone prayed for her. Praying the hardest, were all the girls she had stood up for.

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She was taken to hospital in Birmingham and here she made a long, slow, but miraculous recovery. But Malala was sad, never again would she see the valleys of her home land. If she returned, the Taliban would kill her.

Malala has inspired me a lot. She is what I want to be: A light in the darkness.  Malala is a girl who was passionate about something and look how far she has come! From a small child living in a remote village to a nobel peace prize winning activist! She first started speaking and standing up when she was just eleven years old. I am almost twelve.

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Malala is living proof that children can make a difference. She says that you should not doubt yourself and think you are uncapable of achieving great things because of your age. Children are powerful, they can be lights in the darkness. I struggle with being a light sometimes, it isn’t easy, but watching Malala’s film and hearing her story has made me more determined than ever. Even though I am a child, it does not make me any less able to make a difference than an adult. Malala needs all of us children to stand up for what is right.

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My favourite speech that Malala has made was when she stood up in front of many important world leaders and said:

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