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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Earthday Haikus

Air Date: Week of April 18, 2014

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Matsuo Basho’s famous Haiku. (Photo: Jennifer Pack)

April is National Poetry Month, and with Earth Day right around the corner, Living on Earth is asked listeners to send in their Earth Day inspired Haiku poems. Here are some highlights!

Transcript

CURWOOD: After our interview with NOAA oceanographer Gregory Johnson who interpreted part of a dense UN report on climate change as haiku, we asked you to send us your own haiku to honor Earth Day, which also happens to fall during National Poetry month. Many listeners responded to our call, although not all of your poems celebrated our lovely world. For instance, James Gallagher from Pompton Plains, New Jersey, sent us a haiku he entitles "Blah New World".

Clean air, skies of blue,
Water to drink and swim in.
Ain't gonna happen!

CURWOOD: Most of our respondents were more upbeat though, or thoughtful…

BOISRAME: Hi, I'm Gabrielle Boisrame. I’m a graduate student at UC Berkeley in California, and I study environmental engineering, specifically eco-hydrology and water resources. So when I heard about this call for haikus about Earth Day, I thought about the way I think about Earth systems, a lot which is water. And lately in the news there’s been a lot of talk about water because of the drought, but a lot of the people that I work and go to school with they think that water systems are important all of the time, and people need to be talking about it, not just when there’s a crisis. And so that made me think of the following haiku:

A drought year is not
The only time scientists
Should be listened to

CURWOOD: And then there was this reply from a published poet, no less, paying homage to a 17th century master of the haiku form, Matsuo Basho.

SLIDER: This is Red Slider. I’m a poet, and I’m calling from Sacramento [California]. My earth haiku is one that was inspired by a very famous poem by Basho about frog splashes from which I was inspired to take my first line. And the poem itself reflects one of my convictions that our best and greatest hope for cleaning up the messes that we’ve gotten our planet into lies with the children who are going to have to deal with it. I do hope they survive us. Anyway, here’s my haiku.

Waiting for frog Splash!
tadpoles swim through the ripples
of children's voices.



Frog in a pond (photo flickr user LPFearn, creative commons 2.0)

CURWOOD: We have more, and we'll play more next week, but not all of your poems obeyed the strict haiku form. Remember, it's three lines, the first line five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line five again. Any Earth Day topic that inspires you, from spring flowers to climate worries to eco heroes, send your haiku on over.

The address is comments@loe.org. Once again, comments@LOE.org.
Or you can use our postal address it's PO Box 990007, Boston, Massachusetts, 02199. Or read your poem aloud on our listener line at 800-218-9988. That’s 800-218-9988. If you use the phone be sure to record your name and a number where we can call you back.

 

Links

Check out some more haikus at Times Haiku

 

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