Note: This article first published in January 2015, revised with fresh material in 2021.
Bamboo is a plant like no other. Due to its size and stature, some call it a tree. In fact, botanists say it’s a grass. It’s strong, it’s flexible, it’s lightweight, and bamboo grows remarkably fast. So astonishing, words can barely describe it. Luckily, there’s poetry, which might bring us a little closer. I’m no Robert Frost, but I love my bamboo, and I really like writing poetry. So here are a few short poems I’ve written, mostly haiku and limericks, either about or inspired by bamboo.
If you enjoy the sweet sounds of bamboo, poetry, and other positive vibrations, be sure to visit these other pages:
- Bamboo Proverbs: Wise words on bamboo
- Inspirational quotes and Eastern wisdom
- Singing Bowls: Resonation and restoration
- Om: The sacred syllable
Bamboo and haiku
All work and no play makes for a dull day. That’s why I set aside a little time for bamboo haiku, combining two of my favorite Asian contributions to civilization.
The multifaceted grass and the 17-syllable poetry seem to go hand-in-hand. They both soothe the soul and inspire the heart, helping to release the mind from the fetters of the daily grind. Haiku poems can take you back to nature and, at their best, elevate your consciousness to a higher plane.
Some prefer chair yoga and micro meditation. But whatever it takes to break up the monotony of the work day and keep your spirit grounded, I say go for it!
Bamboo leaves knocking
Maple leaves all aflutter
Wind out of the East
Never too full of themselves
Honest like bamboo
Pale ribbons of steam
Envelop the aroma
Of green tea steeping
Is it invasive?
Wise gardeners must discern
Runners from clumpers
Are all that separate us
From Zen mastery
Provides all the great tasting
Flavors of sunshine
Trickle from my humble font
As the Buddha speaks
Bamboo and limericks
There’s a certain natural affinity between bamboo and haiku that’s hard to deny. But when it comes to writing poetry, you could say that limericks are specialty. In fact, they sometimes call me the king of limericks.
So it’s surprise that I should have a whole array of limericks about bamboo up my sustainable sleeve.
There’s a grass with some vast versatility
And none can surpass its ability
Her growth rate’s astonishing
Fossil fuels into futility
When judging the tree by its fruits
The bamboo proponent imputes
That this grass’s great power
Lies not with its flower
But deep in its rhizomes and roots
Climate Change, like an explosion
Brings floods and destructive corrosion
So plant some bamboo
It can trap CO2
While also preventing erosion
There’s a grass that grows better outdoors
It makes products for very fine stores
So stop using plastic
This plant is fantastic
For energy, clothing and floors
Bamboo, like a cup, or the Tao
Is quite hollow, and if you’ll allow
It seems as if nothing
Is greater than something
It never made sense until now
More poetry about Climate Change and sustainability
In that vein, here are a few more limericks exploring the unfortunate theme of Climate Change.
Shots and Prayers
We long to conjoin at the nexus
In search of the force that connects us
Compassion’s the way
But you might have to pray
Cuz they’re stockpiling ammo in Texas
Single Use Abuse
To make every seashore fantastic
We need to perform something drastic
Like pass a few laws
To prohibit the straws
That keep us all sucking on plastic
There’s a pipeline that must be reviewed
Moving billions of barrels of crude
But energy magnates
Claim industry stagnates
Unless the whole prairie gets screwed
Present and Accountable
Unless we find ways more sustainable
The future will not be attainable
And children will ask
Were we up to the task?
But our actions will not be explainable
All original poetry by Fred Hornaday. Not for reproduction without permission.
To learn more about the mystical aspects of bamboo and Eastern philosophy, check out some of these other captivating articles.