Gandhi’s Seven Social Sins

In 1925, Mohandas Gandhi published a list of Seven Social Sins in his newspaper, Young India. The poet William Stafford, during his teaching career from the 1940s through the 80s, would use this list to start discussion in his college writing classes. And in 1995, the Christian Science Monitor published it with this note: “When Arun Gandhi last saw his famous grandfather, the old man gave the boy a piece of paper with this list of mistakes that lead to violence."

Here are Gandhi's Seven Social Sins:

  1. Wealth without work.
  2. Pleasure without conscience.
  3. Knowledge without character.
  4. Commerce without morality.
  5. Science without humanity.
  6. Religion without sacrifice.
  7. Politics without principle.

Inauguration Haiku

Be careful it's very foggy
—text message on Trump’s Inauguration Day


I'm going to write and share haiku and senryu throughout the next couple days to help us think and see creatively during the inauguration. These are short poetic styles that originated in Japan to comment on the natural world and human nature in fresh, often stark ways. When I can, I'll also pair them with photos to add another layer.

If you're unfamiliar with haiku and senryu, here are the definitions of the genres from Haiku Society of America. From what I've seen in American haiku, most tend not to worry about whether a poem is one or the other genre since it can be a fine line. Unless talking about the differences, both genres are casually referred to as haiku; but the differences are still worth noting:

A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.

A senryu is a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way.

I'll be posting more haiku with the hashtag #inaugurationhaiku on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and I'll collect them all here at the end.  


Inauguration Day 2017

Be careful it's very foggy
—text message on Trump’s Inauguration Day


a hawk hunting mice from the telephone pole,
the president’s oath broadcast through the wire
—this warm January morning


a wind instrument of music,
to out do, impose on, deceive
—what "trump" means to Webster


President. . . Trump . . .
took office today
—reporter getting used to the news


tiny paper the shape of Indiana
slipped between two poems
midnight before the big march


Indianapolis Women's March


don't let anger
poison your vessel—
be happy! resist!


little girls in pink hats
petting police horses—
a woman’s place is in the revolution!


pussy grabbers get the claws—
power to the cat people!