A Haiku Walk

I blogged about my daily haiku practice when I first started. I love the practice. I was very faithful from July through December. Then I was knee deep in teaching, coaching, and some family health issues, and my practice was set aside. The other day I found my haiku journal, and stowed it in my bag, hopeful that I’d find a moment to begin again. Days passed, and my journal remained safely tucked in my bag. I didn’t write, but each time I saw the book I thought of my Kindergartners.

My morning meeting manager composes our morning message each day. It seemed the perfect place to begin their haiku writing practice. Each one would then write five haiku poems — one a day during their week long job.

The process and products were delightful. The Kindergarten poets stared at the computer screen, thinking. They looked up thoughtfully and counted silently on their fingers. They tested sentences, and they wrote morning message haikus.

As they crafted their sentences, I practiced patience. I resisted the urge to free them from their struggle. Instead, I gave them time and space. My silence assured them I knew they could do it.

I breathed through every thought that encouraged me to watch the clock and rush them through their task. I reminded myself: “They can do it. The struggle is important. Their thoughts are valuable. Learning is happening. Breathe and wait. Wait and breathe. Accept these moments as gifts.”

Here are some of their messages. I love that the poems are infused with kindness, and affirmations. And their word play — mathy and mathists — bring me joy.

We are amazing.

We are artists and mathists.

 I love the playground.

Miss James is awesome. 

Everyone is so awesome.

Everyone is friends.

Friends are very kind.

Friends are very, very, kind.

We are very kind.

We are mathy girls.

We are mighty mathy girls.

Math is fantastic!

We are super nice.

We’re the best Kindergartners

We are always kind!

We are amazing.

We have big beautiful brains.

We are wonderful.

We are wonderful.

Everyone is amazing.

We love each other.

We are amazing.

We have big beautiful brains.

We have awesome hearts.

I loved everything about this, so I kept my eyes and mind open to other haiku possibilities. As the the days turned into beautiful spring days, I told the poets that we would be taking time during our reading block to take a haiku walk. They asked many questions: What is a haiku walk? What will we do? Can we go places we’ve never gone before? When are we going? Can we go more than once? Will we actually write haiku? I answered all their questions, and we planned our walk for the next day. Then, the weather turned cold, gray, and wet. Each day they asked if today were the day we would walk. Each day I said “Not today. It’s too wet and cold.” I knew we could walk and write when it was wet and cold, but I also imagined that better weather would lead to more joy, more writing, more willingness to engage.

Finally, on Friday, spring burst forth again. The sun was bright, and the temperature was warm enough to head out without coats. The perfect day had arrived. When I told them we were going on our haiku walk, they cheered and shouted “We’re going on our haiku walk!!!” You would have thought I told them I had candy and puppies for everyone!

We chose a spot to gather. It was large enough for them to run free, explore, and be inspired, and also small enough for us to see each other wherever they roamed. Clipboards in hand, they wandered, stopped, wrote, chatted, and sometimes abandoned the clipboards to simply run with joyous freedom.

Here are a few of their poems.

The statue is down.

Flowers are everywhere.

This flower’s pretty

The flowers are here. 

I see sticks and logs right here. 

I see the flowers.

The bees like flowers.

The flowers are everywhere.

The flowers are here.

Trees are beautiful.

The sky’s very beautiful.

We are beautiful.

There’s lots of flowers.

There is wood chips by us, too.

The trees are so long.

The statue is gray.

It looks so cool and funny.

It looks amazing.

I see trees and rocks.

I see beautiful flowers.

I see trees and grass.

I see the benches.

I see the gate and the grass.

I see signs and rocks.

As I watched, encouraged, and enjoyed the beautiful day, I joined my Kindergartners, and documented the moment in haiku.

Haikus are forming.

Fingers count syllables, then

pausing, they run free.

Laughter swirls round them.

Feet sound in quick staccatos.

Returning, they write.

Magic enfolds us.

Haiku poets all, living

and writing haiku.

These Kindergartners are mighty, capable, and filled with amazingness. It’s good to remember this, and to treat them as the humans I know they are — fantabulous, trustworthy, free, joyful, and poets of haiku.


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