Oberlin Blogs


April 25, 2024

Phoebe McChesney ’25

In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would share poems I wrote for an assignment in one of my courses, Green Japan, which explores the relationship between Japan and its environment. We look at woodblock prints depicting natural landscapes, written work (both scholarly and creative), natural events/disasters, and human-caused environmental damage such as the methyl mercury poisoning caused by a factory in Minamata, Japan. This course offers a very intriguing intersection of Environmental Studies and East Asian Studies.

Rather than have class during the solar eclipse that occurred earlier this month, we were instead assigned a prompt to write about the theme, Springtime Right in Front of Me, inspired by texts we had read for the course. I decided to craft several haikus, predominantly modeled after the style of famous Japanese poet Basho, who traveled throughout the country and composed poetry about the experiences he had and the wondrous natural sights he witnessed.

Each haiku is based on real experiences I had here in Oberlin, recent natural happenings that have been especially memorable. 


Springtime Right in Front of Me: A Set of Poems


A Walk Through Tappan

No squirrel says hi

But I can hear the birds chirp

Feel wind in my hair

(NOTE: The last line has been corrected.)


Observing the Total Eclipse

Darkness around me

Chill raises bumps on my arms

Halo above me


April Showers Bring May Flowers (based on the same popular saying)

Sopping noodle hair

As I am caught in the rain

My drenched socks are sad


Changing Times

Walking to night class

It’s bright outside, nature is

Savoring daylight

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