Haiku Kukai 1 - Honors Seminar

Global Haiku • Kukai 1 • Fall 2010
(Select 6-8 favorite haiku, and write a ¶ of imagined response to 2 favorites.)

volleyball practice
the sweat sticks
on the gym floor

When I read this haiku, I was immediately drawn to it because it deals with athletics. I’ve played athletics all my life so I have a sort of bond with it. Particularly this year, I just started playing badminton again. I’ve recently created a badminton club for MU students, and I think of badminton because it is a lot like volleyball. Oddly, I think of the net, and the birdie just grazing it as I smash it down on the opponent when I hear the first line. But I also know how grueling of a workout it can be playing badminton, so I can easily relate to next line about the sweat sticking. Then next line stays on that same trail of thought – the gym, the net, the birdie, diving for it, getting a floor burn, etc. Danny

melted art
as the drizzle from the sprinkler
hits the pavement

Brittany Falardeau (7)

I love the imagery this haiku conjures. I picture a brilliant mural drawn on a sidewalk or on a driveway. It’s wonderfully bright, in shades of electric green, yellow, pink, and orange. Slowly, though, it starts to disappear because of drops of water. First a few drops make part of the mural disappear, then half is gone, and after another blink of an eye, the entire mural is gone. It disappears without a trace, and it seems like only I and the artist know what beauty used to lie there. Eddie

the white chalk is out
the wind blows swiftly
across the field

shaded hammock
freshly cut pineapple
lingers on your lips

Brittany Falardeau (9)

I thought this poem was extremely beautiful in its images. She managed to vividly capture every sense in the three lines. I feel the coolness of the shade and the relief from being out of the sun, taste the pineapple and lips of a lover, smell the pineapple and grass, hear the heat and sounds of children playing nearby, and feel the touch of the person next to me. It just brought me a very pleasant sensation, although it wasn’t my own specific memory. Katie

I love Brittany's haiku because of the images and senses they evoke. I imagine myself being in a secluded countryside with a lovely summer breeze. My back sinks into the thick ropes that compose the hammock. In addition to that, the acidic enzymes of the tangy pineapple make my lips feel as if they're tasty. A smile of contentment would appear on my face. Steph

sleeping at mother’s side
magic light
drips from her hair

Beth Ann Melnick (6)

sweaty sun-braid
trails rivulets down her back
fresh strawberries

summer work
crawling in the mud
to fix a bridge

trail behind me
with fresh mowed grass
sweating brow, clouds my glass

Danny Delaney (3)

one leap off the diving board
bikini bottoms slip
thank goodness for bubbles

Jessica Golden (9)

This haiku is the most light-hearted haiku in the Kukai. The last line ‘thank goodness for bubbles,’ is a silly almost conversational ending. The whole haiku feels just as if someone is recalling this moment in conversation instead of about the actual moment because of the conversational tone. This poem also reminds me a lot of my summers, not just this past one, but all of my summers since I was a child. I lived at the pool every summer, and that isn’t an exaggeration. I was on swim team at 5am, home by 8, and back at the pool at noon until the pool closed. This past summer I even taught swim lessons. I spent so many hours at the pool in my life that this moment is very familiar. I’m sure that any girl who has ever worn a bikini off a diving board knows this moment. I can remember a specific moment when this exact thing happened and I panicked because I knew my friends were watching under water because I was going to try to touch the bottom. I was very young, but it still was a potentially embarrassing moment. Thankfully, there were a lot of bubbles and I had quick reflexes. In general, losing your swim suit on a diving board is a very relatable moment, and the haiku itself is written in a tone that allows it to be related to even easier. Beth Ann

clay pigeons
sunlight on my face
no longer there

With this haiku, I felt like I was reliving a time in my life that was extremely specialto me. I dated a guy, Josh, for 3 years of my life and knew him for about 6. He was my best friend growing up and lived right down the road from me. When wefirst started dating we went to visit the family farm he had. His family is bigon hunting and I got to learn how to shoot a gun while we were there. We got toshoot clay pigeons and made a contest out of it. I ended up beating 2 of his guy friends that went as well, which made my day. Although this memory is areally good one, the ending line perfectly described how the situation is, itis no longer there. Ally

shoe grit
my cheek now rosy
sidewalk's sunny kiss

black hat
slips further down
wet forehead

a soft voice
sings through the store
. . . hello. my love

holding me
sweat drips down
holding you

Ally Staudenmaier (5)

his clammy hand is
perfect in mine

Beth Ann Melnick (5)

church parking lot
nervously swaying
to the rhythm of your breath

a smoky breeze
my sweatshirt soaked
in the scent of the night

Laura Scoville (7)

searing afternoon sun
gingerly holding the wheel
with my fingertips

Laura Scoville (5)

a lone boat
the single lamp casts
an unnatural yellow light

Beth Ann Melnick (2)

rearview mirror blocked
boxes, food, a teddy bear

Jessica Golden (4)

I really liked this one because I felt like I could truly relate. I remember when I first left for college last fall and how I was trying to stuff everything I could into my car and how it did not seem to fit. Going away to school especially the first semester I thought was hard, because for years you’ve had things like your teddy bear and you don’t know whether or not you should take it or leave it at home. For me personally I remember the night before I left for school and my mom was trying to convince me that I shouldn’t take any stuff animals and I argued with her about it for probably near an hour since I felt that I could not survive without them. This haiku makes me smile just because of how easily it takes me back to last year when I was experiencing the same thing. Sam Miles

salty eyes
the Thunderbirds’ scream by
straw hat on the sunburned man

clear vase
sitting on the oak table
artificial perfection

Kelsy Whitney (2)

one leg up
hopping down the street
numbers in squares

mom’s voice
calling me inside
five more minutes

Madeline Knott (5)

without covers, face
near fan

I like this haiku because it describes exactly what I do when I sleep now and over the entire summer. I currently live in Mills. It gets very warm and without the airflow from my door being closed while I am trying to sleep it gets even hotter. In the summer, while at home, my parents try to save as much money as possible. To do this, they will sometimes shut the air conditioning off over night. I sleep on the second floor in my house and you can feel a difference in temperature as soon as you get to the top of the stairs. Nights were miserable at home and working eight hours every day outside did not help this fact. Bret

I picture someone who is really warm and is trying to get to sleep, but cant because of how hot the room is. For some reason, I seem to think that this person is a college student in their dorm. Even though my dorm had air conditioning last year, I know that Mills dorm did now have air conditioning, so I very easily could see someone in Mill having to sleep with the covers off and their face in the fan. I always feel so vulnerable when I don’t have the covers on me, so I definitely would not be sleeping like this! Kelsy

sun pours through
the window…
she sleeps alone

The setting of this haiku is established at the very beginning, letting the reader see the golden sunrise pour through the window of a house or a dorm. I love the how the author used “pour” to describe how sun comes into a room because the sun does come into a room and bathe everything in light. The final line of this haiku is tragic in my mind, like someone is missing from that bed that should be there. Maybe her love has gone to work already or away on business. This poem affects me because it makes me think of my older sister and her husband. He will be deployed to Iraq in November so she will be sleeping alone for a year. I can not imagine going from sharing a bed every night and then having to wait a year to do so again. Madeline

This particular haiku arouses a feeling of depression. This is due to the juxtaposition of the warmth of the sun and the lack of body heat that would be shared with another person. The warmth can be particularly be felt on the face, but the rest of the body feels bitterly cold. Steph

For me, this poem evokes the image of a girl sprawled out on a bed tightly clutching a pillow. Perhaps she has been crying from a recent break up. Despite this, she smiles as warm, comforting sunlight spills in through the blinds and gently stirs her awake. Motes of dust glisten in the air and the sunlight lights up her hair, which is sprawled wildly across her pillow. I feel like there is a very quiet, solemn moment of self-realization captured in this haiku and it is beautiful, but somehow tragic. I love the imagery in the line "sun pours through." It soaks the verse in a warm, soft, bright light and is starkly contrasted to the cold, isolated feeling evoked by the line "she sleeps alone." Though simplistic, the haiku recalls moments and feelings I can readily relate to. Sam P.

best friend
never alone when you look
within yourself

fresh and clean
from the shower
i drip sweat

Stephanie Helfgott (2)

dandelion girl
petals sing on skin
boys flush

Sam Parks (3)

I love the image this one creates in my head. I picture a beautiful little girl with blue eyes and golden hair sitting outside on the playground in the sunlight, carefully running her fingers through a patch of dandelions while all the mesmerized boys watch from a distance. The line “petals sing on skin” is my favorite part. Petals and skin are both so gentle and soft, and putting them together like that makes a beautiful picture. I imagine the girl that all the others are jealous of and all the boys are too shy to approach. Laura

When I read this poem, I found myself rereading it numerous times, as I usually end up doing with poems I enjoy most. One of my favorite things about this poem is that no one is really specified. There are no “you” “I” or “us” ‘s anywhere and to me that is what really makes this haiku magical. The idea of “dandelion girl” gives the image of someone notorious. Whether she is the girl of the neighborhood that everyone is in love with, or a legend girl that people have heard of. The idea of petals singing is a beautiful image and goes back to the idea of contradicting verbs and nouns and the fact that they are on skin, when skin is such an intimate and sensual part of the body. Human touch is so precious and personal that the image of skin is perfect. Finally, having boys flush makes me think of blushing boys and only adds to the image of some beautiful dreamt of girl. Britty

clouds of breath
hover in the air
no school

Katie Coletta (6)

When I read this, I imagined vividly waiting to hear whether school was going to be in session or not on those frightfully cold days. I remember the cold feeling of the kitchen floor against my bare feet as I tiptoed out in my pajamas to check how much snow had fallen, and I remember watching my little dog bound through the snow and smile her doggy smile at me from the bottom of the steps. Snow days and cold days were always the best! Jessica

© 2010, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.