Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lyrical Learners....

Jim Hamilton uses a poetry assignment in his online Introduction to Forest Resources Class to allow students with different learning styles to master the material. Here is an example of a real gem from the course.

An Ode to Invasive Bamboo
An original poem with original photos by Chris Fay
With apologies to Drs. Jim Hamilton (who ordered its' writing), and Seuss (whose pentameter I stole)

Bamboo: what are you? You're certainly not from here.

By houses and streams, and in woods it seems, you won't even feed the deer.

Where you take foot, you'll soon be a stand, through which you can hardly see.

You're all around town, on a silent march you come, creeping ever closer to me.

"Please have me here, I'm kind of cute, and a lot of green I'll bring!"

But in my yard? "No way!! No how!!" (I like native and friendlier things.)

I till and toil, and sweeten the soil to mother an herbal garden,

And then you move in, and spread all around, without even begging your pardon.

So I cut you back, or mow you down, 'cuz you're death to lesser plants,

And when I come back to plant something new, you've sprouted up just like a lance.

I sound kind of harsh, like you have no part, but that is far from true,

You're food, you're wood, can be shelter in fact, I just wish our cars ran on you.

In science they say, that you're Poaceae, and others call you Bambusoideae

I'm not good with Latin, so finding a rhyme is why I gotta avoid ya.

You're solidly jointed and hollow between, with long and opposite branches,

with parallel veins on long alternate leaves, lanceolate, resembling stanches.

In green gold or black, you have quite a knack, to run out via rhizomes,

sans flowers or seeds, amazingly spread, new roots quickly find nearby homes.

You're native in Asia, but do real well here, throughout the entire Southeast,

Up to 40 feet tall, amazing for grass, the same as 12 meters at least.

And that's just up, there's no limit out, in one year you spread 20 feet.

The scale above shows you're 4 inches wide, and no other plants can compete.

It's said you are grass, but in a thick mass, you'll haul down a cannon ball.

You don't cut like grass, you'll soon dull a knife, how do we tame you at all?

The epitome of sustainable, renewable without replanting, I can always count on you,

'cuz no fire, no pests or no rain at all, come Spring, fresh stands sprout anew.

They say you're invasive, in biology, a threat to everything green,

but I say invasive to our culture instead, because of everywhere you're seen.

I see you in stores, I wear you around, you're even in my Chow Mein,

Mr. Bamboo, there's no avoiding you, much to my disdain.

Now River Cane is not the same, 'round here since at least the Ice Age,

Cherokee used for arrows and spears, darts or a river fish cage.

They fashioned their tools from Mr. Bamboo, for at least 10,000 years,

for darts and blowguns, arrows and traps and they wielded you like a spear.

And without Sugar Cane also neither the same, a world less sweeter would be,

Ice cream? No point! Cereal… Yeah, right! Whatever would chocolate be?

You're not without your product claims, many things are made of thee,

we dream it up, of bamboo it is made, you're versatile beyond many trees.

Fishing rods, bike frames, rugs, and torch lights… why not add a Tiki bar?

Plus roofing thatch, counter tops, fencing and toys, there's even a bamboo car.

Flooring planks, chopping blocks, baskets and mats, you're kinda exotic rustic,

for furniture, chairs, tables and art, I'm fully housed with just a mouse click.

In forests you're food, but just to a few, and even then, look what it takes;

crushing teeth get in , sip on your sap and drunk Mountain gorillas it makes.

You're a Panda's delight, they'll eat nothing else, and then laze within your high grasses.

I would like that, but see what it takes? 900 pounds to gain access.

In karate dojos, you silently pose, strongest tie to the old Orient.

Back then you grew wild, but fashioned just so, defended many a peasant.

In my Shotokan, swung like Obi-Wan's wand, you're actually known as "Shinai",

You mimic a sword, swung with two hands, slashing every thing nearby.

You've trained with me, and I've trained with you, and whenever I became lax,

I felt your sharp sting, and closed up my stance, so you wouldn't become my axe.

But as clothing, you're soft, you don't really shed, and your socks wick me right clean,

you take a dye well, and match anything, you can even go back to green.

I'm softening on you, Mr. Bamboo, I don't want to go for reams,

I've been working this poem for over two weeks, and you're even in my dreams.

Despite all I've said, you're not all that bad, my white flag is now unfurled,

So with you I'll make peace, Mr. Bamboo, you've really bamboozled my world.



LLerdall said...

wow. I couldn't have said it better myself! Great job! And very humorous!

Anonymous said...

I work with Chris and never knew he had such a talent for words. Chris is also a great guy, teacher and friend. Haywood is gonna be lucky he is over there. I guess I will try to burn, dig or whatever I can to kill bamboo this weekend around my house.

Anonymous said...

Always the Mentor!