SESSION 6: Healing Through Poetry and Song

Taking Care: Where Art Meets Wellness 600x400
Learn how poetry and song can help us transform struggle into meaningful parts of our narrative. Join us on this powerful art journey together! 

Suggested Materials: 

  • Pen
  • Pad of Paper, or 3 sheets of paper 
  • Small percussion instrument or noise maker of some kind (drum would be perfect but you can use pots and pans, a tambourine, a plastic container with rice... Use what you have at home and get creative!)
  • Optional: Old picture of a relative, ancestor, or elder


  1. Think of a song that moves you or that hold a special place in your heart. Think of the lyrics, the melody, the tempo... 
  2. While thinking of your song, on your first sheet of paper, represent the song visually. Let the song guide your creation: draw, scribble, create...
  3. Close your eyes. Invite the voices of the ancestors, or the people who contributed to your life story. What are they trying to tell you? What message do they want to convey through you? What would they tell you today? 
  4. On the second sheet of paper, make a list of words that represent those messages. 
  5. Reflect on the music, the words, and the work you have created.
  6. Use your list of words and string them together to create a short poem or narrative. Use your feelings, your emotions, and the previous exercises as a reference.
  7. What are you trying to say?   
  8. Tip: If the words are not coming, take a deep breath, take your time and step away if you need to. Let the work guide you and tell you where it needs to go. Enjoy the journey! 

My Parents by Betty Lee-Daigle 

Going through hunger and fear during WWII as teenagers in Hong Kong, they found the will to live and the determination to seek a better life in Canada. Through hard work, sacrifice, faith,  bravery, strength and hope, they travelled to the unknown looking for their belief of the “Golden Mountain” and through perseverance and ignoring racial tension, they achieved happiness for their family, themselves and the happiness of their future generations in our great land of ours. Every last Sunday of May we pay respect to our ancestors and thank them for bringing us to where we are now.  What a Wonderful World!

Ancestors by Donna Chapman 

To leave, 

To the Why of it all. 

To hope - across the sea. 

To risk what little is here; 

To brave through a broken goal.

To live in adventure that may not amount to much.

To be forced out of necessity to come to here.

To work and to bleed and to adventure rough ocean swells - for what?

For what…

For here.

About our Guest Facilitator: Teajai Travis

Executive Director, Artcite Inc., Artist Activist & Community Builder (Drumming, Spoken Word) 
Teajai is an Afro-Indigenous descendant of formerly enslaved peoples. He is currently working on a collection of poetry titled Born Enslaved: A Freedom Story, as well as a play and collection of short stories of the same name. The work shares his Ancestors heroic journey from slavery to freedom. Teajai will share his story of tracing his family history and how he has used poetry and song to heal generational trauma he has unearthed, activated, and is coming to peace with. We will explore how the drum has been good medicine for him on his creative and healing journey.