Monday, May 24, 2010

Fifth-graders Become Itinerant Haiku Poets

Article and photos by Nancy J. Hamilton,
Cultural programming coordinator, Culberson Asiatic Arboretum

On May 19, fifth-graders from Duke School for Children gathered for a haiku adventure in Sarah P. Duke Gardens. These emerging haiku artists took their inspiration from the 17th century Japanese haiku poet Basho, who abandoned his humble dwelling in the old city of Edo to travel Japan on foot and record his meanderings in a now-famous haiku diary. In similar fashion, the students set out onto the trails of the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum to see what scenes and experiences would inspire their writing.

Stopping at a quiet streamside spot, a bamboo grove overlooking a small waterfall gave our writers pause.

“Creek,” by Charlotte
A creek reflecting green,
An old pathway,
With new life.

“Green,” by Aaron
Dominant Color,
Everything Around Us,
Green with no envy

“Waterfall,” by Margot
Tinkling of a waterfall
A feather floats down
This is where the pond ends

“Stream,” by Zoe
Tall stalks of bamboo
Water, cascading down rocks
Bright new leaves of spring

“Wet Bamboo,” by Lindsey
Tall, skinny, green.

Moving farther into the garden, our young poets were greeted with the fresh scent of the previous evening’s rainfall.

“Shiver,” by Amelia
The air is cold and sweet
After a long rain
Is my shiver cold or joy?

“Tears,” by Djelimory
Water falls on the trunk
As if the tree is crying
Tears for its kinsmen

“Nature’s Treasure,” by Shelby
Water drops from a leaf
Diamond shatters on the dirt
Earth swallows the gem

“Rain,” by CJ
Rain has fallen
Turning green
Grass greener.

A quiet moment pondside inspired these artists to reflect on the ever-fleeting treasures of the garden.

“Mother Duck,”
by Rachel
A big mother duck
With four cute baby ducklings
Oh no! They’re gone now

by Katelin
Gliding above the trees,
Touching the clouds
With its wings

“The Pond,” by Emma
Very still water
A duck breaks the silence
Leaving spray in its wake

“Duck,” by John
The feather glistens
in the sun
Dark as night

“The talk of the forest,”
by Conrad
The trees talk
Silent whispers of life
Can you hear it?

These poems were written as part of a haiku field trip offered by Sarah P. Duke Gardens’ Into the Gardens children’s programs. For program information, please contact Annie Nashold, director of children's education and family programs, at 919-668-1708.

For information about haiku field trips or other cultural experiences in the Asiatic Arboretum, please contact Nancy J. Hamilton, coordinator of cultural programming for the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, at