2016 Haiku Hike at MSU Science Festival

May 9, 2016

Photo by Michael Rehling

On Sunday, April 17, the Center for Poetry took part in the 2016 MSU Science Festival, a 12-day annual event that takes place not only on campus, but at various locations in the East Lansing region, and also in greater Detroit.

The Center’s contribution was the haiku hike, during which participants learned a bit about haiku from haiku poet Michele Root-Bernstein, then took a gentle and observant hike led by Laurie Hollinger to the MSU Horticulture Gardens, where they made textual snapshots from a vast array of choices. Back in the classroom, Anita Skeen directed participants to construct haiku from their images and notes, which were then shared.

The day was one of the very first this spring to feel truly springlike, with not a cloud in the sky and with the season’s earliest varieties popping. Here are a few of the resulting haiku:


botanical signs

a bare tree blooming

with finch song


nature walk

the persistent sound

of a low flying plane

sunny day

a bird chirps loud and proud

from a perch unseen


New Skin

Under peeling bark

Michele in sneakers


magnolia buds

slipping out

of our jackets

still wind

something rustles in the shrubs

heard but not seen

building crane

nesting material hangs

from the lamppost

in the trees

a squirrel shakes a pinecone

in my direction


Under the big top

Wisteria on the high wire

Dandelions laughing




through forsythia

a plastic bag

scorching sun

red and shriveled berries cling

to branches and dirt



daffodils nod

keeping time for the

song of the sparrows


pink blossoms peering

from beyond the Center

for Interactive Plant Systems



the seagulls

swing back toward the shore

spring thaw



greenhouse shade

robin perches on the

shadow of a branch