2 Kukai Favorites

Global Haiku Traditions • Millikin University • Fall 2010

hungry teenagers
anxiously await breakfast
Christopher Robin

Kelsy Whitney

I love this haiku even though I am not quite sure what it is talking about. I imagine a couple of teenagers eating breakfast on a Saturday with their family. Even though they are growing up they still enjoy watching Saturday morning cartoons and Winnie the Pooh. Their parents just smile because they realize how fast kids grow up but that they never lose their childhood. This haiku reminds me of my life because I still love to do kids stuff like watch the Disney channel and color in coloring books. As I get older I will never lose my childhood and all the wonderful memories, and a simple thing like a cartoon show can easily bring you back to your childhood. Maddie

empty bottles
hidden away
keep daddy happy

Ally Staudenmaier (5)

bottle rocket
neighbor's glass door!
whew. hit the gutter

Kale Ewing (3)

from her bedroom
she hears
the fighting

laying in the grass
wet, sticky blades
tickle my legs and yours

Laura Scoville

This haiku is just a constant reminder of the beauty of the world as dusk and dawn. When the dew is on the grass, watching a sunrise is amazing. Even though your pants or shorts get wet, nothing matters in that moment of watching the sunrise with someone you are close to, whether it is a boyfriend or girlfriend or maybe just a friend. It is a very positive and comforting haiku, that makes me think of times spend laying in the grass and sometimes even avoiding the grass because it tickled, but those times that it does not matter that the grass is tickling your legs are the best ones. Ally

pressing pause
the rhythmic waves
become a new song

Laura Scoville (3)

This haiku doesn’t necessarily create a beautiful mental picture for me, but it offers a great idea about life, especially in this technological age. The person depicted in the haiku I picture sitting on a beach chair listening to their iPod, bobbing their head up and down in rhythm to the music they are listening to. The iPod changes songs though and rather than start another song, the person hears the ocean waves beating rhythmically against the shore and they realize that there is beauty in nature. It seems to say to me that we shouldn’t get too wrapped up in technology and fancy things. Rather, it seems to say to me that we need to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, such as the rhythmic beating of waves against the shore. Eddie

on the capitol steps
independence night
homeless man is joined by the crowd

Katie Coletta (3)

This poem was my favorite of the Kukai because of everything it stood for and against. The idea of the capitol steps, the way to justice and peace and what our country stands for, fights for. Independence night, a night of coming together and celebrating our freedom and sharing together in a celebration of love and connectedness. Then the image of a homeless man, who is so often walked past, and look down on, who is neither welcomed nor accepted, and rarely feels a part of anything, finally, for one night, is joined by a crowd of people, and is a part of something bigger and beautiful.
The most heartbreaking thing about this poem for me, is the image I have, of that man, standing on the steps which have become his home, with people all around him, feeling safe and warm and a part of something greater for once, with the glow of the fireworks illuminating his eyes. In my head, seeing this picture I could burst out in tears, because of the beauty and bitter sadness knowing that the beauty for this man, will last only one night a year, when people can put aside their pride and celebrate the true meaning of “liberty and justice for all.” Britty

on the shore
I wonder—
how long should I wait?

Laura Scoville (4)

This haiku holds value to me because it reminds me so much of my haiku (Column 1, 8th down). Both of our haikus relate to the shore, and the shore has a lot of symbolic value to me. I feel, in many ways, I'm like the shore. I get swept back and forth by the tide, then crash like a wave when I can no longer hold myself together. Waves make me think of indecisiveness. In this haiku, the author questions how long they should wait, and the crashing of tormented waves come alive. I can feel the salty air, rushing rampantly, swirling around the author. Strangely, I also feel the author can stop the crazy windiness of the shore, by just making a decision, but in a more symbolic sense. Steph

This haiku automatically brings me to the beach. The haiku sets a scene that is familiar to me, and just the small line “on the shore” sets up the smell of the beach, the rhythm of the waves, and the taste of salt on your tongue. After the setting, the next structure element that struck me was the dash after the second line. It highlights the pause when someone wonders. Again, the small phrase brings up a certain pause, a real life moment expressed simply with little words but clear images behind it. The poem is a beautiful expression of someone waiting on the beach, hoping that something will change, knowing it won’t, and weighing the pros and cons of waiting for the impossible. Beth Ann

the sprinkler hisses
like an angry snake

racing to womanhood 
the girl in the miniskirt 
still holds Barbie

Jessica Golden

I like this haiku because I feel like this really represents the way girls are. We are always in a hurry to grow up, whether you’re 3 or 18. Girls of this time in history are always trying to skip over the joys of their childhood so that they can be like their older sisters or the girls on TV. I remember being that little girl and wanting to wear high heels and make up and looking back I wish I would have just enjoyed being young and carefree. It’s like a race to see who can grow up faster because that decides who’s popular and what activities you can take part in when you are young. Sam Miles

on the car hood
our hands join
under the stars

Eddie Pluhar (6)

This haiku instantly sends me back home, in the summer time. Every summer, it never fails that one night we all get bored, but do not want to sit inside, so we all pile into a few cars and go drive into the middle of the country and just star gaze and chat or gossip, passing the time together for one more evening. There are usually the couples that go together, but there are always those ones that no one knows about yet, so they are trying to keep everything secret. They seem to sneak off onto their own, talk, and hold hands. Everyone just enjoys each other’s company in such a serene place. Ally

The first time I read this one, I thought it was a little cliché. It instantly brought me back to one of those movie moments when a couple lays on the hood of the car outside an airport or out in the middle of nowhere to star gaze and just be close to one another. In reading it again, I realized that just because a haiku isn’t stacked with heavily descriptive words doesn’t mean it can’t be just as image-evoking. While I personally have never laid on the hood of a car under the stars, although I would really like to try it, it made me feel the innocence and excitement of finally holding hands with someone under the night sky. Laura

I just love this image of lying on the hood of a car with (in my case) my girlfriend, watching the stars and enjoying each other’s company. It really is such a pleasant experience. I live out in the country, so there aren’t any street lights or big buildings around, so stargazing is actually very possible for me. Kale

down comforter
slipping in between
the layers

rusty playground
the chains moan as our swings
finally synchronize

Laura Scoville (6)

mine at last
the beautiful doll
playmates gone

Madeline Knott (2)

I really enjoyed the youthful nature this one captures. I know that when I used to play with my brother and sister or with other kids at school, it seems that everyone always wanted the toy someone else was playing with simply because of the fact that someone else had it. It’s the element of always wanting what others have. After the initial victory of finally getting the doll all to yourself, the celebration is short lived when you realize that everyone else has gone on to play with something else. Laura

I slip on the rock
you grab my arm, just
a friendly gesture

Laura Scoville (4)

I can relate to this haiku greatly, probably as well as many. In my life, I've hoped that the kind gestures from guys were romantic ones, but, alas, they didn't mean anything. Quite a few guys I know have these very endearing-looking eyes, and you could think they were in love with you if they simply looked at you. Frustrating, I tell you. In this haiku, I imagine that the author had mistaken the person's endearing-looking eyes to be romantic ones (for a hot second) but comes to the realization that she's a wishful thinker. She let's out a sigh. Steph

I think of this in one of two ways. The first is as we discussed in class. I feel like it would be the beginning of a relationship between two people that originally couldn’t stand each other for unknown reasons. However, circumstances made them strive for the same goal in which they had to work together, and they found that they actually enjoyed each other’s company. It seems as though the friendlier of the two would slip, and be caught by the more irritable of the two. Then he would shrug it off as though anyone would have done the same. Danny

I can relate to what I feel this poem is saying a lot. My friends used to get angry with me for not believing them when they’d tell me a certain girl liked me. I always assumed it was “just a friendly gesture”. The haiku also puts me in a forest, crossing a stream, which are images I really love being a nature guy. Kale

hum of the crickets
blanket for two

frosted window
a piece of the pine forest
in our living room

Jessica Golden (4)

frosted window
a piece of the pine forest
in our living room

The last four or five years at Christmas, my family has debated whether or not we should break down and purchase a fake Christmas tree. Every year we resolve to do it, but we just can’t. There is something so magical about having something that belongs outside indoors. It’s tragically beautiful too, because we end its life for our enjoyment. I remember one year when my brother was about three years old and he was really into nature that we went to the tree farm. As my dad cut down our pine tree, Robbie saw the tree tipping over, started bawling, and yelled “Put it back!!” over and over again! How adorable! Anyway, I love the idea of taking a part of the world we don’t always interact with and bringing it into our homes. The scent of pine wafting through the house is something I’ll always remember about home. Peanut butter balls, our molasses christmas cookies, and the smell of pine symbolize Christmas for me. And although we idealize Christmas into being a magical time of goodwill that is rarely an accurate picture of how the season works, I still like to believe in that magic. Katie

the boy's second glance
at the girl in her bikini

Jessica Golden (2)

chasing butterflies
i remember
I'm no longer a child

Stephanie Helfgott (7)

stomach cramps
enraging desire
to be with you

Stephanie Helfgott (2)

mango trees create shadows
the water glows
just for us

Beth Ann Melnick (6)

When I read this, I pictured a newlywed couple on their honeymoon in Hawaii or some other island getaway like that. I picture the new couple just relaxing together, looking out across the ocean at a sunset, which is reflecting and glowing off of the water. They’ve already had the perfect wedding, and now they’re experiencing the perfect honeymoon, too. It’s almost as if God had created this perfect moment just for them. Kelsy

singing sweetly
rope is slowly moving
jump in

lumpy marshmallows
reminding you
of a wide-eyed crowman

down the shore
two chairs
awkwardly together

Stephanie Helfgott (2)

toe into water
pushed in

watermelon drips
down my dress
i smile

Madeline Knott (2)

they sit, throwing stones
revealing nothing

Beth Ann Melnick (6)

I imagine a cool, early autumn night where two people sit beside each other on a ledge above a creek. They're in a relationship but it has been a tense one and the two are mostly silent as they gaze out over the water, throwing rocks and twigs in only to watch them sink beneath the dark surface of the creek. The moonlight hides behind the trees casting eerie shadows on the water and their faces, so that neither can glimpse the others thoughts or expressions. Occasionally, they throw ideas and insults at each other, metaphorical stones. However, both are reluctant to bring up the actual issues between them and so eventually the pair dissemble with a sigh, unsure of what the morning will bring for them or who their lover really is. Sam Parks

This haiku reminds me of myself in past – and present – relationships. I don’t really strike up conversations very well. I often find myself just sitting there and enjoying the silence; however, the girls I’ve dated typically want to talk. They almost find silence as insulting. As of right now, my girlfriend is completely silent when she is angry. So when I read this I think of something having gone wrong and two people just sitting on the shore completely unsure of what to do next. Break up? Stay together? Get mad? Stay sad? It’s feels almost like you could cut the tension with a knife.

as we run behind the barn door
where the grown ups can’t see

Laura Scoville (4)

When I read this poem, I instantly was taken back to the 7th grade. This poem is basically the story of my first kiss. We were at a birthday party at a friend’s house who lived in the country. Everyone decided to play flashlight tag because it was getting dark. My best girl friend and I pretended to be partners, and our boyfriends pretended to be partner, just so the parents didn’t say that we couldn’t be partners with our boyfriends. Then when it came time to hide, we split back up into couples. My boyfriend and I ran behind the bard, where he kissed me for the first time. This haiku just brought back that memory for me very vividly. Kelsy

running faster
trying to find
the breeze

Sam Miles (7)

This poem is another that really stood out to me. The idea of a breeze is something that is so freeing and peaceful and comforting all in one. It is something that cools us down, plays with our hair, and makes us feel as though Mother Earth herself could be calling out to us, reminding us that we are a part of something bigger. This poem really called to me because when I am stressed or feeling particularly trapped, I find myself running, literally, in no particular direction and not in a sort of pace-yourself way. Just sprinting, often barefoot, as fast as I can to try so I can feel some sort of release or escape from something. This poem reminded me of that, and also had a sense of desperation and utter need for the air that would force itself into our lungs when we ourselves had forgotten how to breathe. Britty

This haiku calls out to my restless spirit. I grew up as a sort of wild child who adored their grandfather and spent a lot of time on a motorcycle breaking the speed limit before breaking my first tooth. I love roller coasters and windy days because I feel that voice from childhood calling out to me, telling to me to loosen up and enjoy myself. Thus, while reading this haiku I imagined myself frustrated from a long week dealing with too much homework and, as of late, overwhelming relationship problems. There have been evenings when I just want to drop everything and go outside to run, letting the problems all get blown away for a while. I can feel the hair whipping around me as I run, and the wet dew on the grass seeping into my long jeans. My eyes are closed and I'm stumbling over branches and jumping over puddles, doing whatever it takes to go faster, until it feels like I'm free and flying above all the troubles. Sam Parks

looking out the back
I leave my home
I barely knew

Sam Miles

I like this haiku because I felt as though it describes my last move into school. My brother is older than me, but he didn’t want to go to college and has been living at home because of it. As soon as I left, he felt the need to get up and move out as soon as possible so that he wasn’t the last one to move out because my younger sister moved into college on Labor Day. Now that both of my siblings are out of the house and I am too, my parents have the house to them and the dogs. I feel like that would be a completely different house without arguments between siblings and parents arguing with the young adults. Bret

evening rain
an old woman feels youth
upon her dampened foot

hand in hand
she greets.. her parents
face to face

Sam Parks (2)

stepping lightly
through the woods
worries disappear

Eddie Pluhar

I like the image and sound that come with this haiku. I can see the greens of the leaves getting darker and darker as you venture further into the woods and the crackling of the leaves beneath your shoes. I also like the feeling of calmness that this haiku brings. For me personally I get really scared if I go alone into the woods and all the problems that I had before disappear and soon the fear also disappears and then I get into a state of relaxation. I also like how the words of the haiku also just seem to kind of bounce in a light fluffy manner. Sam Miles

the moonlight dances
on the forbidden lake

Laura Scoville (4)

This haiku reminds me of my younger years when my friends and I would run through the woods for about 10 minutes and we would come up to no trespassing signs on a fence, and behind the fence was a lake. We didn’t usually go at night because we had seen coyotes around our neighborhood, but one time we did and it was cool being out in the night and the only light source was the moon. We just sat down and talked like adults would have. Bret

sweat drips
glasses clank as
the crickets chirp

as days go by
she shortens her skirt
for him

Kelsy Whitney (8)

I just think this haiku is brilliant! Its so melancholy, that sense of slipping loss.... the girl gives in a little further each day so it seems as though nothing as really changed, but over the course of time, everything is different. The fact that she is making the choice is important, although we don’t necessarily know the circumstances in which she gives in. In my mind, he is pressuring her, and even though she says she won’t give in, each day the line blurs a little further. In her mind she thinks she has control.... but to think you have control while being manipulated is almost worse than realizing you don’t hold the power. Boys can be the master manipulators, playing on girls’ insecurities for their own selfish desires. I would venture to guess that many girls could relate to this poem... I just think it is gorgeous. Katie

day old band aid
pull it fast
…or slow?

Laura Scoville

I love this haiku because it reminds me of my childhood. I was always falling down and skinning my knees. When I read this haiku I can imagine a child who has a few band aids on their body and are sick and tired of having the stupid band aids on them. They slowly start to pull away the band aid but of course it is stuck on the gunk that is on the scab. They are in a hurry so they decide to pull off the band aid really quick and hope it doesn’t hurt too bad. I loved going swimming because the band aids would usually fall off at the pool and I would not have to go through the agony of pulling off a band aid. Maddie

sun catcher
refracts shattered light
across her freckles

Katie Coletta (6)

This haiku captures a beautiful image. It’s not an emotional attachment to this haiku, but it is a beautiful image full of smells, lights, and sounds. The light is slanting through the window, slanting in the mid morning. It is a strong light, and direct, creating bright lines and dark shadows and contrasts. The morning is crisp and quiet, smells of fresh cut grass and sweet sweat. The most prevalent thing in this haiku, however is the light, which cuts through the girl and seems to put the light in a painful way. The pain is represented in just one word; “shattered”. It is simple, but powerful. Beth Ann


salty breeze, cool sand
take me back
…to you

blueberries nestled in batter
safe and warm
fresh pancakes

Katie Coletta (3)

watching Sparrow
wanting to rip the skin that binds me
born to fly

table lamp glowing
yelling down the hall
face in a book

waving crazily
above my head
wasps swarm

she holds out her hand
we swim into light

Beth Ann Melnick (6)

I love this haiku because of the great imagery it creates. I imagine being underwater and seeing this woman – beautiful, stretching out her hand, searching for mine. At the same time though, this seems like it could be a dream. It seems like it could even be a metaphor for death, as morbid as it sounds. But I think it is a really beautiful way to imagine the soul being released. It doesn’t necessarily mean death, but rather, just a release from a restraint, from something that prevents us from being who we want to be. Eddie

people expect us
to be angsty
I’m just a teenager

Beth Ann Melnick (4)

city pool
umbrellas sprout
like mushrooms

dead bird
splayed on the sidewalk
kids poke with sticks

Madeline Knott (4)

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