In Lan Su Chinese Garden, there is poetry everywhere you look—carved into rocks, inside and outside buildings and located above every doorway. Many of the poems are two-lined poems called couplets. These couplets often describe nature. In this exercise you will get a chance to write your own couplet inspired by the beauty and nature of Lan Su Chinese Garden. In China, adults and children of all ages spend time creating and writing poetry their entire life. We encourage you and your family to take time to create your own poems!
Create your own couplet and submit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All couplet submissions will be reviewed by a poetry panel and your couplet might be chosen to hang on the poetry arch at Lan Su during the month of April. Your couplet may also be posted here along side other select submissions and via social media. We would appreciate if you would include your name and location, but you are also welcome to submit anonymously. Please let us know if you prefer to not have your couplet displayed publicly or if you would like to remain anonymous.
A couplet poem is a short two line poem often containing 15 words or less in each line. The lines are traditionally called the “head” for the first line and the “tail” for the second line. Each line should mirror each other with same number of descriptive words (five, six or eight words). It is important that each line balance and be constructed with a similar sentence structure. The words within each line are carefully chosen so they reflect as well as contrast each other.
Here is an example of a couplet poem by poet Wang Wei:
Head: Walk and reach the place where the stream ends.
Tail: Sit to watch the moment when clouds form.
See if you can create your own “tail” for the couplet poem examples below:
Head: When the breeze breaks, the flowers dance spontaneously;
Head: The pavilion and terrace near the water first gets the moon;
Now try creating your very own couplet!