What’s in a haiku? Plenty, says Colette Preis, a volunteer at Langton Green Community Farm who created a series of haikus to celebrate life at the Farm. Preis is one of many poets who joined an inaugural poetry event, featuring virtual readings by poets from around the world. Diana Davis, certified animal-assisted psychotherapist and director of community supports at Langton Green, introduces Colette who reads her haikus.
Preis created a series of 14 haikus inspired by moments at the Farm –and the individuals she works with side-by-side when she volunteers there. “My hope is that these haikus give you an idea of what the farm is like especially in the springtime,” says Preis, a retired special educator, who began volunteering at Langton Green Community Farm in 2021.
“In everyday life, I’ve learned to appreciate what’s around us: the smell of the warm earth, each plant as it is growing, each animal as it is going about its daily routine,” says Preis. “I know a lot of the individuals at the Farm do notice these things and through my poetry, I’m trying to help them record it.”
“Poetry has taught me to step back, observe and appreciate everything at the farm and the people around me. A lot of the individuals at the farm may not know it, but they make many observations. They inspire me and I hope my poetry validates this.” – Colette Preis, volunteer
Since 2021, Preis has volunteered more than 400 hours of her time, rain or shine. Her fellow volunteers and staff sing her praises as someone who is pitches in happily, offers a warm smile and even brings fresh baked goods. “She is also very involved in the lives of the I/DD individuals we support. She even went out of her way to provide clothing, food, and furniture,” says Davis.
Through the vocational program at Langton Green Community Farm, volunteers from the wider community, like Colette, work alongside individuals from Langton Green. This is therapeutic care farming. The Farm offers these individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to build job skills and have meaningful work and friendships. In addition to meaningful work, poetry is now among the many activities these individuals—and the wider community—enjoy at the Farm. Check out the Farm’s Facebook page to learn more about our events.
Listen to more poetry as award-winning poet and arts advocate Dr. Hiram Larew welcomes poets from around the world, including Maryland’s Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri. Poets from Maryland, New York, and Ireland; they all joined the Farm virtually at Langton Green Community Farm in Millersville, Md. for this unique poetry reading.