Camp Glenwood Comments and Poems

My first visit to the Camp Glenwood detention center to teach haiku poetry was on 21 March 2002 (I had a second visit on 27 September 2002). After the first visit, one of the staff members sent me the following comments and poems from the students. These are all the comments and poems I received, as typed up by the staff member, with no edits (I believe that person added the capitalization of the first line of each poem, or perhaps that was a result of the autocorrect feature in Microsoft Word; however, in most cases the poems were not originally written that way). See my “Camp Glenwood” haibun.


  • “At first I could not understand it, but at last it was cool. I think the poems were about the way you feel and you understand it.”
  • “It was a fun activity and now all I do is make up little haikus whenever I have the time.”
  • “I am glad he came because it introduced me to a new kind of poetry.”
  • “I really enjoyed it and I also started to try writing haiku poems myself.”
  • “I learned a more simple way of writing a poem.”
  • “The best thing I liked was how the poems explained your mind.”
  • “The poems that he is famous for are so simple, but yet complex at the same time.”
  • “I learned that only a few simple words can express one’s deep internal feelings or just emotions that need to be expressed.”
  • “. . . it was that there are no limits. I can write about anything I want.”
  • “I can express myself in three lines. I never knew how to do that before.”
  • “Now when I sit outside and look around, everything is different though my eyes and ears . . . one day I’m going to look back at all the things I did as a kid and thanks to you I will see things differently and not as bad, but in a good way.”
“A man who taught us
The joys of



Sitting by a tree

Feeling all alone

All alone



No matter

Where I am at

Food smells good



Doing time


Is still ticking



I smell the ocean breeze

Allergies are kickin’ in

So I must sneeze



Tall trees in rows

Like soldiers

Ready to fly to war



A far distance away

And a close site nearby

Shocked me to believe it was right here



Every meal

I know what we are having

Right before I step into the dining room.



People walking

Big heads

No mind



Sunny days

Hot weather

Sweating underneath my sweater



A picture

A puzzle put together

Is nothing but the broken past



The grass


So when is it enough?



With the time

I know

That I have to have friends



Sunshine and wind

Voices, birds whistling

Leaves crinkling



I send a letter

I am still waiting


Not knowing if it’s going to come back

a good letter.



People stink

They don’t know

Old fish



No matter

Where I am

Food smells good



Voices coming from a different mouth

I don’t know

What they are talking about



I feel warm from the sun

Yet the breeze cools me

Dusty table



Summer tree

Summer sun

Summer glare

More Poems

On 27 September 2002, on my second visit to Camp Glenwood to teach haiku, Kate Riviera gave me a copy of Broken Silence Poetry, a spiral-bound collection of poems written in the previous school year, during which I was a guest teacher on 21 March 2002. The book included most or all of the preceding poems, attributed to each author by first name only, but also the following additions—all haiku and two five-line poems that may be tanka. I’ve retained one typo (“shinning” should be “shining”) but have omitted author names.

This was not a good day
The yelling started right away
Her lip started to bleed

Being locked away
The Easter Day
Just another day

A guy in and orange shirt
Doing his work

I am on my feet running
Under trees
Not looking for the sun to hit me

The sun shinning bright
On the lonely blue flower
Sputter of lawn mower

Relief, happiness
The feeling of freedom

A moment
In the grass
Crisp cool ar

I look up to the sky
A cloud floats by
I see a tear fall out of it

A trail of ants
Moving on the log
They are free

Under a blue bowl
And weird shapes

The happiness from my face
Turns around in disgrace

I smell the grass in the ground
I taste the trees around me
I touch the wood; it is not that hot
Whistle birds on top of the trees
I see the sun in the sky

If time were to turn
The other way
Would it be enough?

I smell fresh air
Green grass everywhere

The taste is bitter
But it is good
For your health

Wind in her hair
Her tail wagging

Warmness and freshness
I sit in the roughness
Of a woody bench

I hear the train
Will it come
It is gone

Crackles in the leaves
Silence in the air

When I walk in the garden
It is green with red roses
I remember the smell of my girl, Joanna

It is silver
The end of your life

Back to Camp Glenwood haibun.