Kid’s POV Haiku – Poetry Friday

This week I’ve been looking to nature and experimenting with haiku. I also picked up Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, perfectly illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Talk about two great tastes that taste great together! Words and images create a lively look at a year of being a boy.

Although I enjoy haiku, I often think they feel too detached from the natural world. All observation, not enough heart. Raczka’s work is quite the opposite. Completely engaging, colloquial, even conversational, I felt like I was re-living my own boyhood memories. He made me reconsider what it is to write authentically from the point-of-view of a child. And, since this is Poetry Friday, I’ve taken a crack at a few Guyku of my own.

I had the good fortune to live in the perfect kid-friendly neighborhood between the ages of 4 and 7. Among other things, we had the Pollywog Pond at the end of the street. Frogs in the summer, skating in the winter. General year-round tomfoolery any time.

I’m not claiming these are on par with Mr. Raczka, but I enjoyed writing them. They brought back some fun memories. We were afraid of that snapping turtle for months! And I didn’t even mention the snake that tried to bite me, fishing for Kivers, the haunted barn or the train tracks. Hmm, wonder if they’d consider a Guyku anthology?

Pollywog Pond Haiku

by Jim Hill

Summer days prowling
around the pollywog pond
for frogs and turtles.

Barehanding bull frogs.
“Mine can jump farther than yours.”
We bet popsicles.

The snapping turtle
came right out of the water.
Scared the pants off me.

Opening milkweeds
to launch a million fluffy,
white paratroopers.

Skipping stones across
the pond to see who can reach
the other side first.


This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Linda at TeacherDance. Go say hello and read some more poetry.

16 comments

  1. Jim, I haven’t read Raczka’s book, but if you were going for conversational haiku that put the reader in the nature-action…you nailed it! I am not a huge fan of haiku, but I really love these. Did we grow up in the same town? I miss milkweed and skating on the pond!

    I also think “pollywog” is one of the best words in the language. It just begs to be used in a poem. Really, really lovely stuff here.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Renee! Did you grow up in a small New England town? When I read Guyku I thought Bob Raczka had secretly recorded my childhood. I wonder where he grew up?

  2. Linda Baie says:

    One of my favorite memories growing up was playing by a creek’s edge, watching the tadpoles, catching small frogs (I didn’t do bullfrogs), and just wading. I love your Guyku (I’ve seen parts of the book in other reviews) & think the form make it good & accessible to young students. I like that dialog in there too! Thanks!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Linda. Glad you liked the dialogue. Once I tapped into those memories a lot of the words just rolled out.

  3. Betsy says:

    I could see each one of these! Starting off with the one about “prowling” really got it all going well. I loved the paratroopers too, that was great. Good stuff, and thanks for sharing the book, may have to look for it now!

    • Jim says:

      We were proto-hunters in training sneaking up on those poor, unsuspecting frogs. Half the time we’d end up in the pond, abd that a big part of the fun!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Ruth. I once woke my mother up very early on a weekend morning by holding a frog about three inches from her face. I hope your boy treats you better than that!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Julie – I wonder how many kids have froggy memories these days, or have they all the lily pads been replaced with ipads?

Leave a Reply