The haiku were written in June 2008 by pupils in primary 4 and 5 at Creetown Primary School along with poet Lucy Burnett, originally from the Galloway area. Describing her approach to working with the schoolchildren, Lucy said,
‘I wanted to take a modern approach to teaching haiku to the class. All too often one sees the counting of syllables being the focus of haiku lessons: the poems must have three lines and follow the 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Not only has this been shown to be an inaccurate translation of Japanese methods, with modern critics suggesting fewer syllables should be used, but many modern haiku poets have abandoned these strictures and taken a more flexible approach.
While retaining certain traditional features such as brevity and a reference to nature / the seasons, I was keen to focus on the essence of haiku: capturing images in words, and creating emotions through images rather than personal expression. A communal as opposed to individualistic approach to writing was also taken with fragments of writing by all members of the class combined and adapted by myself to create the final poems. The use of spacing to punctuate the poems and small case lettering reflects the continuity of time and one of the central aspects of haiku: a humble sharing with others.
The class took all of these concepts in their stride and were fantastic to work with. They had recently been on a visit to the woodland and some of the images they came up with were startling. Hopefully the result is a modern, fluid set of haiku which are offered to the public to share our experience of the woodland, or to enhance your own visit.’
The class composed 14 haiku, seven of which are blasted onto the standing stones at the Kirkmabreck Church entrance to Balloch Wood. The seven final poems were selected from the 14 by the Balloch Wood Committee.
The complete set of the poems will be published in the near future in a booklet to be sold locally.