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Haiku Sampling

I have not posted haiku for a while. We wrote haiku as our last activity of the poetry unit. Whenever we write poems, I roam the classroom with a marker in hand. There are four whiteboards in the room and I write randomly as thoughts come. It helps students on two levels. I write poetry and it is not just them being told to do it. As well, I offer exemplars, some good and some less so. Here is a haiku sampling.

Water seeks freedom

Released from lethargy

Water plunges, plummets.

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Fry it in a pan

Friends for eggs and potatoes

Pig meat, oh soooo good!

Did I mention some were not great?

Fedora wearing

The coolest Rat Pack member

Sinatra maybe.

One student wears a fedora. I mentioned that it reminded me of the Rat Pack. He had no idea what that was or who Frank Sinatra was, but I told him it was cool to be compared to Frank Sinatra.

Stay Human My Friends

I ready for my Sabbath break. Yesterday morning, this Bizarro cartoon was in my blog reader. Todd’s posts are short and provocative, so the link is to his site for those who have not been there before. He gives me pause to think.

I shared this cartoon with a circle of acquaintance. We discussed the Most Interesting Man in the World advertisements for an adult beverage. I am an abstainer so the ads are humourous, but there is no chance I will buy the product.

What about a broader message? Instead of closing with “Stay Thirsty My Friends” or “Stay Filthy My Friend”, we could say, “Stay Human my Friends”?

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds me, “find the ordinary in the extraordinary.” I often miss those things which make me most alive and human. I find, in the ordinary so often missed, the extraordinary and live a mindful life.

Stay human my friends

Be one with the universe

Be compassionate.

September

I walked the path along the North Saskatchewan River yesterday. The valley is changing as nature takes its course and readies us for autumn.

Leaves fall by the path.

New colours slowly emerge

Nature paints herself.

Summer slips away

Seamlessly meets the equinox

Harvest our bounty.

Why Write Poetry

Yesterday, I read a haiku written by someone who appeared to not enjoy writing haiku. Despite this, the person wrote an interesting, amusing, and thought-provoking poem.

I am not sure this is verbatim but it goes somewhat like this:

Here are five syllables

And here I write seven more!

Are you happy now?

The person who presented this poem indicated that despite having written haiku they were unsure why teachers wanted them written. I think there are good reasons, but I could be wrong.

1. Poetry calls for the best possible word choices. Most poetry is simultaneously spare and spacious. The spareness is in the number of words; the fewer the better. The space allows the reader room for interpretation. What did the poet mean? What senses are invoked through the word choice.

Words chosen

Describe my moment.

No two experiences identical

A jungle of meaning revealed.

Each sense sameness different

Worlds bridged.

2. Students learn about figures of speech and their importance in expressing what we want to say. We can compare unlike things and make sense of a complex world.

3. I tell students who struggle with reading and writing poetry is an alternative way of expressing themselves. I use ee cummings as a model so they overcome their worries about grammar, spelling, and capitalization.

i dig ee cummings

no punctuation

no capitols

won’t worry about spellin either

no sweat

aint no problem

i write poetry

4. I enjoy poetry. I always have. I remember a poem, The Elevator, I memorized in Grade 4. I think it Walter de la Mare wrote it. My friend memorized a poem called Douglas Fir, because his name was Douglas. What my enjoyment means, is I bring enthusiasm to the process.

I believe we need to tell students what they are learning and the reasons they are important. But, then it might just be me.

On the Road

It was a dreary day when we started home from Prince George, British Columbia but, when traveling in the mountains, that is a dynamic that adds to the view.

Barely on the road, we spotted a bear browsing on the shoulder above the highway about 10-15 metres from the car. We rolled the window down and he posed before disappearing from sight.

mountain peaks peek out

snow almost hidden from view

clouds blur the picture.

valley flowers bloom

richness on nature’s canvas

a soft brush at work.

Mount Robson revealed herself within a cloud-like frame pointing her majesty into the blue sky above. I enjoy taking pictures of Mount Robson when the clouds show something different.

I took this picture of Mount Robson a few days earlier. The white on the mountain is glacier or snow.

Kathy and I hiked a few hundred metres along the Berg Lake trail. We had not done this before, but it is a hike we will attempt next summer. I settled for this shot of Mount Robson which disappears from sight as you move along the path. In the foreground, is the Robson River which has its headwaters on Mount Robson and flows into the Fraser River a few kilometres further down the highway.

File:Berg Lake Canadian Rockies.jpg

I borrowed this picture from Wikipedia, but a goal for next summer is to hike into Berg Lake, camp, and bring back pictures.

Fireweed

I am off for my Sabbath and perhaps an extra day. Kathy and I are going to British Columbia via Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park. I suspect there will be some pictures forthcoming. My mother celebrates her 88th birthday and it is an important event each year. She is the last of her generation in our family.

Fireweed is a common plant which grows in temperate areas of North America. It is hardy and is often planted in areas which are disturbed i.e. fire or oil spills. I am using it to carry me into my Sabbath and help heal the spirit.

It’s common enough

Beside paths I traverse

Lights the path homeward.

Sabbath and Haiku Haven

I am unsure whether I will be back today. We are sorting out our home Internet issues. We think the router blew up in a recent storm. This was good, because it was an unplanned daily Sabbath for me.

On a routine morning drive, I observed the sun rising in my rear view mirror with the moon still visible. It was early in the school year and I had just returned from BC. I began that morning’s haiku class with poems which described phenomena I took for granted most days. I try to emphasize for students poetry is the routinely observed. Poetry lifts it to the extraordinary nature of things often taken for granted. I try model this through poetry chosen and shared i.e. Pablo Neruda and Mary Oliver and I write poetry on what I observe in life.

Majestically,

Touching endless sky above

Roots firmly grounded.

Greeting and adieu

Sun and moon share the one sky

Guide our daily drive.

Pensive Pirate

Several months ago, Francesca at Words/Love provided advice for aspiring writers. She advised other writers to keep pen and paper close at hand. More and more, I do this. This morning, about 6:00, I woke up with poetry on my mind. I scrambled, grabbed writing gear, and jotted ideas down. I hope I can flesh the ideas out over the next few days.

It is during unexpected times or quiet moments I find creativity. Kathy surreptitiously took this picture at Kootenai Lake in Glacier National Park. I was feverishly scribbling ideas that had popped up during the hike. It was easy in those surroundings. I hope to continue now that we are home.

Pensive pirate pauses

Revitalize one’s spirit

Serenity sought.

I will see you on Monday; oki until then.

Waterfalls! Waterfalls!

I disconnected yesterday as the Internet was unavailable. It was a dreary day, but we toured parts of the Crowsnest Pass. One stop was Lundbreck Falls. It is a stop you can easily miss, even though it is just off the main highway and visible from the secondary road. I liked it because I was able to get up, close and, personal. My fear of heights did not intervene too much.

This is a spectacular sight, but within 50 metres there is a pool at the base of the rock cliff where fly casting is possible.

Kathy took this shot from above the falls. I did not go on the overview platform.

Waterton has many waterfalls. Cameron Falls is on the outskirts of the town site and I was able to see it from below and climbed a bit to see it from above.

The red in the rock is from iron oxide deposits. The view below is from a stairway that goes up the hill along the falls.

Some waterfalls in Waterton are less accessible. Kathy took these pictures on the walk around Cameron Lake. The mountain, on the Montana side of the lake, is Mount Custer. It is named for a surveyor, Henry Custer, who worked in the area.

The source of the waterfalls is the snow pack on the mountain.

We hiked into Blakiston Falls which are bridal veil falls as they resemble a bride’s veil. I saw the falls from a distance and Kathy, the mountain goat she is, was able to get closer. This was my view and I was sitting on the ground.

Kathy took this picture from the platform almost directly above the falls.

Platform at bridal falls

The terror drains energy

View through others eyes.

Have a great August 3 wherever you are.

Another Day in Paradise

It was a less eventful day today with no bear sightings. We saw some deer late in the day, but they were in a hurry to get somewhere so did stop for pictures. What I have are some pictures of the natural beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park.

As we drove south from Pincher Creek, this is the view of the mountains before a person drives into them. The sign says, “Where prairie meets the mountains” and they do.


This was a similar view, without the bales, later the same day just before sunset.

And, if you give it a few minutes, this is what it looks like.

Sun embraces mountains

The sky in peaceful fury

Signals the day’s end.

This is the view from the beach at the town site of Mount Vimy. Can you imagine waking up to this every day? It would be pretty intense, but 88 people do everyday. According to Stats Can that is the official year round population of Waterton.

This is a view from the boat of the approach to the American side of Waterton Lake.

This is at Kootenai Lake which was at the end of our hike into Glacier National. The ramparts are spectacular.

Rise above it all

Magnificent natural ramparts

We feel safe below.

This is across Kootenai Lake. We waited but the moose did not show himself. He was there five minutes before we arrived.

At the end of the day, just before we left the town site, the moon appeared above Vimy.

Fair maiden appears

Light for evening’s journey

Keep us safe til morn.

Have a great August 1.

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