Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pond (haiku)

Pond, a collection of 5-7-5 haiku is dedicated to educate and entertain middle readers. Pond introduces the life cycle of an aging ecosystem and how it supports a cast of characters through the seasons.

Pond, the story will help raise the awareness of children in many ways. The glossary of terms becomes the readers friend as nature unfolds. The poetry has a lyrical quality that makes it fun to listen to. My thoughts are that teachers and parents might read the collection through it's entirety and then review each haiku one-by-one as its own story. My hope is that children will be able to visualize processes such as metamorphosis and photosynthesis and inspire them, especially those deep in their i-phone/pads, to venture outside and seek-out nature.

Pond takes place in Upstate New York, U.S.A. Due to geographic climate variations, some facts may differ.

Note: Please feel free to download and distribute Pond, "a not for sale" body of work written to help children widen their vocabulary, write concisely and understand some of the wonders of nature. 

Pond- Introduction

aged ecosystem
nourishing life, enduring

shallow stony shore
two-hundred paces around
a nine year old's gait

cold underground springs
yucky-mucky mud bottom
center, four feet deep

autumn brown cattails
algae and tall grassy reeds
plant-life flourishes

great granddaddy's dock
rickety-hickory dock
leaning, planks missing

Pond- Meet the Cast

bullfrog (cold-blooded amphibian)

green, bug-eyed leaper
lives wary, aquatic lifestyle
voracious eater

crayfish (cold-blooded crustacean)

lobster look-alike
scoots backward fanning its tail
sharp pincers tear food

snake (cold-blooded reptile)

a loner since birth
long, sleek, stealthy predator
silent in motion

turtle (cold-blooded reptile)

hard shell hideaway
plods, swims, lays eggs underground

bird (warm-blooded vertebrate)

works daily routine,
whistles merry melodies
nester, egg layer

lunker bass (cold-blooded vertebrate)

Scales, fins, gills, tail, swims
fish feeding on smaller fish
feed ol' lunker bass

dragonfly (cold-blooded insect)

Stained glass bi-plane wings
zippy insect predator
carries mate aboard

big old tree (woody plant)

four arm spans around
large root veins branch underground
stretching out skyward

water lily (plant)

clustered in patches
round green waxy leaves rest blooms
flowering cup-like

ACT I Spring's Up

nature awakens
daylight lingers, landscape thaws
as new life emerges

spring showers

rippling rain drops dance
runoff layers pond's bottom
worms wiggle about

big old tree

root veins release sap
lifeblood flows to new green buds
spring relieves winter

water lily

morning blooms unfold
pretty petals white and gold
closing up at dusk

lunker bass

stones nudged into place
outline female spawning beds
males fertilize roe

nesting side-by-side
fanning fish tails aerate eggs
males fend egg poachers


migrating northbound
winter's respite is over
a sure sign of spring

trills a welcome tune
mates, eats worms, builds nest, lays eggs
raises chirping chicks

turtle nest

buried turtle eggs
incubating underground
hatch baby turtles

clawing up topside
turtlettes breathe in fresh air
now time for a swim

dragon fly (three stage metamorphosis)

eggs laid in water
hatch newborn larvae, called nymphs
looking spider-like

larvae nymphs eat worms,
fish eggs, frog eggs and tadpoles
some live years submerged

nymphs grow by molting
sloughing off their old, small shell
growing one larger

bullfrog (three stage metamorphosis)

eggs by the thousands
float in a clear gooey gel
each with one dark speck

baby pollywogs,
or tadpoles, morph into frogs 
breathing above ground

tadpoles aren't cuddly
though fun to watch, all schooled-up
hiding under rocks  


some snakes pop from eggs
others wiggle from their mom
skilled hunters at birth

snakes grow by molting
slithering out of old skin
a new skin has formed


tiny crayfish hatch
clutched in place on mom's tummy
they wait their first molt

babies molt often
their new shells are spongy soft
though harden quickly

discarded old shells
appear to be live crayfish
but they are empty

ACT II Suddenly Summer

nature develops

hot muggy weather
lightning strike, thunder burst storms!
the growing season

big old tree (photosynthesis)

trees and plants inhale
harmful carbon dioxide
nature's air filter

sun-baked new green leaves
exhale oxygen we need
fresh clean air to breathe

lily pads (leaves)

floating table plates
flying insects land on leaves
food for frogs and snakes

lunker bass

spawning season ends
minnows school-up near shorelines
safety in numbers

big ol' lunker bass
gulps insects from the surface
a tasty fish dish

dredging with its nose
bass overturn shoreline stones
hunting for crayfish

bird (initial flight)

eggs -- hatchlings -- fledglings
skydiving, dropping like rocks
plop - plop - plop, they float!

wings thrashing, splashing,
paddling back ashore, flapping,
wings drying… flying!


swimming, sunbathing
taking lazy turtle naps
yet always alert

toothless jagged jaws
feast on bugs, slugs and earthworms
a yummy diet!

courtship mating tricks
males win favor with antics
showing off for girls

dragonfly (larvae/nymph morphs)

full grown larvae nymph
crawls ashore and molts once more
ta-da, dragonfly!

flying acrobat
dragonfly zooms quickly by
searching for a mate

adulthood is brief
time enough to lay their eggs
dying soon after

bullfrog larvae (tadpole/pollywog morphs)

tadpoles breathe through gills
drawing in pond's oxygen
similar to fish

tadpoles eat algae
green pond scum that grows on rocks
slippery slimy goo

with large broad heads
and short tail fins for swimming
they don't look like frogs

as tadpoles mature
eyes, mouth and legs start to form
looking froggie-like

the moment arrives
tadpole gills morph into lungs
young frog leaps ashore


poised in the shallows
hidden by tall grassy reeds
snake hunts for minnows

snakes also eat eggs
bird eggs, frog eggs and fish eggs
no scrambled eggs though


scavengers by night
crayfish eat eggs, dead fish, nymphs
whatever they find

crayfish hide by day
concealed under brush and rocks
so not to be lunch

ACT III Autumn Arrives

autumn winks

air chills, daylight wanes
the growing season ripens
harvest time again

big old tree

sap withdraws to roots
leaves, brilliant with color
swirl aground dying

annual dead leaves
decay at the water's edge
making fertile soil

water lily

lilies germinate
nut-like bulbs take root in the
mucky-mud bottom

lunker bass

winter approaches
food becomes scarce, no insects
worms stay underground


migrates flying south
warm blooded mammals need warmth
we'll see you next spring


no more sunbathing
turtles burrow for shelter
frost is on its way


dragonflies have died
young nymphs snuggle under rocks
molting season ends


froggie fattens up
less leaping, more sleeping now
nestled underground


slithers for its den
no more hunting til' springtime
winter's freeze is near


fall mating season
males deposit small sperm sacks
on females bellies

females produce eggs
eggs pass down through the sperm sacks
fertilized for spring

ACT IV Welcoming Winter

daylight hastens night
freezing winds sculpt snowy drifts
ice thick as a brick

big old tree

stands tall bearing all
dormant throughout the winter
appearing lifeless

water lily

lily pads vanish
rich mucky-mud safeguards bulbs
through freezing winter 

lunker bass and crayfish

still life beneath ice
basic primal survival
winter's fitness test

fish don’t feel the cold
slowing their metabolism
until almost dead


no more melodies
winds blow nests from naked trees
gone for the winter

bull frog, turtle, snake (hibernators)

low metabolism
s l o w  b l o o d f l o w,  h e a r t r a t e,  b r e a t h i n g
no food until spring

dragonfly nymph

adolescent nymph
slows down its metabolism
waiting adulthood


ages of aging
seasons recycling anew
pond slowly grows old

runoff fills in pond
nutrient rich mucky-mud
enhances plant growth

plant-life takes over
draining the pond's oxygen
fish-life suffocates

runoff, lily pads,
cattails, algae and tall reeds
change pond to a swamp


dear young friends, pond ends
inspired by Mother Nature
go outside, find her

she is you, you she
beautiful, wondrous, awesome
egg- birth- grow- blossom…

The End

S.A. Peck

Words written in bold print are found in the glossary below.

Pond- Glossary of Terms

Adolescent: ad-o-les-cent - One that is not yet mature; a growing stage before adulthood.

Aerate: aer-ate - To add or supply with oxygen.

Algae: al-gae – Also known as seaweed and pond scum are plant-like organisms that absorb nitrogen and phosphorous from nutrient rich runoff. Algae also contain chlorophyll for making oxygen. Algae can grow on rocks near the surface, or in blooms that float on top of the surface. Some algae grow on land. When algae blooms die they absorb oxygen from the water creating dead zones in ponds and lakes. There are many different types of algae in various colors.

Amphibian: am-phib-i-an - Air breathing, cold-blooded vertebrates such as frogs, toads and salamanders, whose larvae hatch and live underwater before reaching adulthood.

Antics: an-tics - Silly or playful acts to draw attention.

Aquatic: aquat-ic - Living in, or frequenting water like frogs, fish, turtles and crayfish.

Bi-plane: A plane with two sets of wings, one wing on top of the other on either side.

Carbon dioxide: car-bon di-ox-ide - A colorless gas absorbed from the air by plants and trees. It is exhaled by humans and animals. It is also given off by dead vegetation and dead animals.

Coda: co-da – A concluding statement to summarize, or round out, and usually has its own interest.

Cold-blooded or Ectothermic: cold- blood-ed / ec-to-therm-ic - Body temperatures of animals such as fish, turtles, frogs and snakes that are regulated by the air or water temperature where they live. Cold blooded animals don’t need a coat to keep warm or short sleeves to stay cool. Their body temperature is determined by the weather.

Courtship: court-ship - Being with the one you like. Dating

Crustacean: crus-ta-cean - Mostly aquatic animals with an outer shell, ribbed tail fins and two antennae, like crayfish, crabs and lobsters that grow through a molting process.

Dredge: To dig up.

Ecosystem: eco-sys-tem - An environment of organisms, plants and animals, functioning as a unit in a particular space in nature. In this case, Pond is a particular environment where plants and animals depend on it to reproduce, feed and multiply. An ecosystem creates a cycle of life. The earth and its atmosphere is an ecosystem for everything that lives.
Enduring: en-dur-ing - To undergo a period of time without giving in or stopping. Long lasting

Eutrophication: eu-tro-phi-ca-tion - A process by which a body of water is enriched with nutrient rich soil that stimulates plant life, resulting in the depletion of oxygen.

Fend: To defend or ward off invaders.

Fertilize: fer-til-ize - To make grow. Sperm fertilizes eggs so they hatch. Bees fertilize plants as they collect nectar. People fertilize grass so it grows better.

Fledgling: fledg-ling - A young bird that has grown feathers for its first flight.

Gait: A manner of moving on foot, walking, trotting, or running. An adult has a longer gait than a child.

Germinate: germ-in-ate - To cause to sprout or develop. Flowers germinate seeds that fall to the ground and sprout into more flowers. The lily germinates a nut-like berry that sinks in the mucky-mud to make more lily clusters.

Gills: Body organs near the mouth of fish and crayfish that enable them to breathe in oxygen from water.

Hatchling: hatch-ling - A new born animal hatched from an egg. Bird hatchlings don’t have feathers yet.

Hibernate: hi-ber-nate – To become inactive. Living through the winter in a torpid or resting state

Hickory: hick-o-ry - A nut bearing tree used to make planks for docks, tool handles and furniture.

Incubate: in-cu-bate - To maintain conditions favorable for eggs to hatch. Birds sit on their eggs to keep them warm. Turtles bury their eggs in the ground.

Indefinitely: in-def-i-nite-ly - An undetermined length of time. You never know exactly how long it will last. A person’s life is indefinite. The life of a pond is indefinite.

Larvae: lar-vae - The immature form of an insect or animal that is hatched from an egg, and grows through metamorphosis before looking like an adult.

Lunker: lun-ker - Large of its kind. A lunker bass is a BIG one!

Metabolism: me-tab-o-lism - The total of all things happening inside a living body and how they affect each other. For example: If you breathe fast, your heat beats faster, which makes your blood flow faster. If you breathe slowly, your heart rate decreases and blood flows through your body slower. Pond also has a metabolism. If too much plant-life grows, fish and crayfish won’t have enough oxygen to breathe. These are just a few examples to help you understand metabolism. There is so much more to learn.

Metamorphosis: meta-mor-pho-sis – A step-by-step change of form through the growing cycles of some animals and insects. There are two types of metamorphosis. There is a three-stage process called incomplete metamorphosis consisting of an egg- larvae and adult, as with the frog and dragonfly. The four stage process or complete metamorphosis consists of an egg - larvae (caterpillar) - pupa (cocoon/chrysalis) and adult, as with the moth and butterfly.

Migrate: mi-grate – Birds, insects and land animals that move long distances depending on season and climate.

Molt/Shed/Slough: Growing from an old, smaller shell or skin into a new and lager one. The snake sheds its skin and the crayfish sloughs its shell, as does the dragonfly nymph.

Morph: A distinct change in form. The nymph morphs into a dragonfly, and the pollywog to a frog.

Nymph: The aquatic larvae of insects, like the dragonfly.

Photosynthesis: pho-to-syn-the-sis - A series of chemical reactions between sunlight and green plants that convert (change) harmful carbon dioxide into oxygen and other life sustaining compounds. Plants, such as the big old tree, take in carbon dioxide through their stems, bark and roots and release oxygen back into the atmosphere through their green leaves.

Carbon dioxide is converted into oxygen when sunlight and chlorophyll (the substance that makes leaves green) heat up water and carbon dioxide stored in leaves, changing them into oxygen.

Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Animals and humans do the exact opposite; they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis is nature’s way of filtering and recycling the air in our atmosphere.

Pincers: pin-cer – A claw-like hand to hold and tear food. Also used for protection.

Plod: To walk along slowly.

Poacher: poach-er – One that trespasses and steals.

Poised: Positioned/ Balanced
Pollywog/Tadpole: pol-ly-wog / tad-pole – The larval form of a young frog or toad. The second stage of a frog’s metamorphosis

Pond scum: Various forms of algae found in ponds and lakes.

Predator: pred-a-tor – One that preys, or hunts for food.

Respite: re-spite – A temporary period of rest.

Rickety: rick-ety – Unstable physical condition. Great Granddaddy’s dock is old, and not in good shape.

Roe: fish eggs or crayfish egg

Runoff: run-off – Sediment, such as dirt, carried by rain water that settles at the bottom of ponds, lakes, rivers and streams.

Sap: The lifeblood of plants that flows through their veins.

Scavenger: scav-en-ger – One that hunts for, and eats, whatever it finds, dead or alive.

Self-revelation: self- rev-e-la-tion – Understanding one’s own thoughts and feelings; knowing who you are.

Slough: sounds like sluff – To cast off skin or a shell. To molt, or shed

Spawn: To produce or deposit eggs.

Sperm: Fluid from males that covers (fertilizes) eggs so they will hatch.

Stealthy: stealth-y – Secret/ Sneaky quiet/ Undetected. The snake is sneaky quiet.

Submerged: sub-merged - Underwater

Trill: A musical sound; sing, warble. The bird sings springtime greetings.

Turtlette: tur-tl-ette – Little Turtle- This is not a recognized word. I made it up.

Wane: To dwindle, or slowly go away.

Warm-blooded: warm- blood-ed – Having a constant body heat not determined by the weather. Warm blooded animals cannot automatically raise or lower their body heat.

Vertebrate: ver-te-brate – Having a backbone/ spinal column.

Voracious: vo-ra-cious – Having a huge appetite.

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