Orange Bishop Weaver Finch. Photo by Vicky Earle
of the Madagascar palm—
by Brenda Larsen, VHG member
Haiku poetry is defined as:
a short poem, usually of three lines, that originated from Japan. It is one of the most well known forms of poetry in the world today, written by people in many different countries.
The Bloedel Conservatory, our domed tropical oasis at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, has become a muse for many artists in a variety of disciplines. Members of the Vancouver Haiku Group (VHG) recently met at the Conservatory for a haiku walk that included self-guided tours.
Haiku is inspired by an emotional, sensory awareness of the world around us. To gain fresh perspectives for their writing, haiku poets often gather for walks (referred to as ginko walks) at special locations known for their beauty and/or historical significance. Members of the VHG participate in workshops, public readings and walks throughout the year to inspire and support the writing of haiku. Dr. Gabi Greve, author of World Kigo Database (WKD), refers to a haiku walk on her blog as a Ginkoo and breaks the word Ginkoo into two parts: gin means singing, praising, making a poem and koo means walking. A kigo is a word that indicates the season in which the haiku takes place.
Marianne J. Dupre, a member of the VHG, who lives near and is a frequent visitor of Queen Elizabeth Park, describes a beautiful haiku walk through the Bloedel Conservatory:
Entrance to the Bamboo Bridge in the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo by Vicky Earle
Haiku on the hilltop
It was a glorious day to be inspired. After weeks of rain, it was the first real day of spring and I was out to enjoy the warmth of the sun. High above the sounds of city traffic, the hilltop was alive with activity. Children were on bicycles and skateboards, mothers and fathers pushed babies in strollers, while teens captured in-the-moment selfies on their cell phones. Even a few beaming brides and grooms strolled across my path in search of the ideal scenic backdrop for wedding album photos.
If the day wasn’t glorious enough to write about, the Bloedel Conservatory teased the muse in me. A wave of damp, earthy heat met me as I entered the front door, and the tropical city jungle was mine to explore. Rich green palms towered ahead of me, their fronds fanning the pathway, while exotic finches trilled in the treetops. Water flowed low beneath bamboo bridges, trickling into small pools with bright orange Japanese koi. Silver coins, reflecting sunlight from the glass roof, winked at me below the ripples of a pool. Along the path a small wooden waterwheel thumped and splashed steadily, feeding a small meandering stream.
Lost in my own awareness of sight, sound, and scent, I set off, my every step giving me pause for reflection. The scent of hyacinth was in the air, along with squawks from jewel-toned parrots grooming themselves, and the lighthearted sounds of children’s laughter.
I recognized houseplants we had at home like palms, ficus, bromeliads, philodendrons and corn plants, all more rich in colour, texture and size in an environment similar to their native habitat. Pastel tulips and delicate white lilies seemed to sigh open as I passed by, and brilliant azalea shrubs dazzled me with their bold hues.
On a drawbridge a girl scampered across to meet her mother, pausing for just a moment to feel the sway of the ropes. A shy boy tentatively sat next to me on a bench beneath a rubber tree then grinned on cue for his father’s camera. Another little girl talked sweetly to a branch full of small birds, coaxing them to answer her back. She didn’t notice the silver pheasant poised, confident and curious on the path behind her.
I pulled a notebook and pen from my bag, and focused my camera to record impressions that would define what my senses had captured. I lingered for more than two hours, circling the paths time and again, seeking details that may have been overlooked. Finally, with my head full of sensory images, I sat outside at the edge of the Dancing Waters fountain to write. While deep in thought, the gradual rise of jetted fountain water applauded my efforts.
More Haiku inspired by self-guided tours under the dome
Rosie, African Grey Parrot. Photo by Vicky Earle
red-tailed Rosie says
I love you . . .
candy corn beak
by Angela J. Naccarato
photo by D Sharon Pruitt
asks for a piggyback ride—
by Jessica Tremblay
Carmen and Maria, Green Winged Macaws at the Bloedel Conservatory
under a wet palm leaf
the macaw munches berries
the click of the shutter
by Lynne Jambor
If you are interested in joining the Vancouver Haiku Group, new members are welcome. Currently, the VHG includes members from Vancouver and surrounding areas who meet once a month to share and discuss haiku and welcome people who are interested in learning about and writing haiku. As a member of the VHG you will learn to write contemporary English-speaking and experimental haiku through a variety of exercises. Discussions about the structure and form of haiku are based on contemporary English-style and traditional Japanese-style haiku. Membership is open to all people who are interested in writing haiku. For further information about the Vancouver Haiku Group or queries regarding membership, forward an email to Angela J. Naccarato, facilitator for the Vancouver Haiku Group, at email@example.com. You can also follow VHG on Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Vancouver-Haiku-Group/1571492576409446.
A very big thank you goes to Angela Naccarato and the members of the VHG for sharing their poetry and making this post possible. The Bloedel Conservatory is open everyday (except Christmas day). Why not grab your camera, sketch or notebook and come be inspired! The muse beckons …