Global Haiku • July 2017
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Jennifer Yeakley

Tea in a Mason Jar

Jennifer Yeakley

For Tim—what a delight to share my life with you.
With special thanks to Zach, Emory, Jonas & Irina
for their inspiration


Growing up in the Midwest, I see Mason jars as a symbol of simplicity, hospitality, and community. Haiku encompasses these same qualities. This form of poetry captures a single moment and shines a light on its beauty. Each poem is meant to be shared. The tone and imagery guide the reader to take notice, reflect, and appreciate the little nuances of life. Tea in a Mason Jar is a compilation of poems from a novice writer. Each haiku draws inspiration from simple moments gathered from present day or distant memory. I hope they connect with you as they have with me.

neighborly chat
a young woman serving tea
in a mason jar 

My grandparents were farmers. Their house was full of mason jars. To me, this glass container exemplifies a lifestyle full of simple pleasures, hard work, community, and hospitality. My grandparents worked hard planting, weeding, and harvesting their crops. In the late summer, they would store away fruits and vegetables after sharing their abundance with family and friends. My grandmother would often crack open a jar when company came over. In my mind, this poem features a young woman who has set-up house recently and has assumed the role of hostess to a neighbor she is getting to know. It speaks to the refreshment of sun tea and the enjoyment found in good conversation. ~Jennifer

heat wave
lemonade stand  
I buy a second glass

silent night
heat lighting
illuminates her thoughts

I reflected on a common personal experience as I wrote this poem. I am often restless at night as my mind races through the events from the day or pressing tasks that needs to be accomplished. This haiku speaks to one of these nights. My thoughts were heavy with family concerns. The humidity was high, and clouds rolled in obscuring the moon. As I peered out the window, heat lightning illuminated the horizon. The night was quiet, but there was an electricity in the air. This ambiance provided the perfect backdrop for me to sort through my thoughts. ~Jennifer

the music fades
ice cream drips down
little fingers

a little girl sways
nestled a hammock
nap time


lazy afternoon
the rusty mailbox reclines
against a picket fence

old song plays
she still knows
every word

walking away
under his boots
the crunch of snow

black friday—
shopping on-line
from the food court

letting go
crimson leaves fall
from the maple

When my husband and I built our home, a crimson king maple tree was given to us by my family as a housewarming gift. Both my grandparents and parents have one planted in their front yard. Our tree continues the tradition. Now that my grandparents are gone, I cherish this sturdy little tree all the more. Each spring, I inspect the leaves closely for the new buds. The crimson color is striking against the other green foliage. In the autumn, I mourn the falling of each leaf knowing colder weather is coming. Even so, the tree represents the passing of each season and the love of family. Loved ones will not be with us forever. Cherish each day given. ~Jennifer

rain delay
two drops race
down the window pane

This haiku was the first poem that I wrote that was recognized by a classmate. The classmate shared very similar memories to my own. He spoke of how he would become lost in visually tracing the path of a raindrop as it raced down the glass and liked how the poem connected this experience with a common occurrence of an athletic event—the rain delay. This is the exact experience that I reflected upon as I wrote the three lines. Hearing him share his own experience allowed me to see the personal connection discussed in this class between the writer and reader. I had never written anything before that resonated with someone else. I sat in class fascinated with this phenomena and was inspired to write more the following week. ~Jennifer

morning dew
a butterfly flitters
               to bloom

in the jewelry box
a broken strand of pearls
worn on her wedding day

When my mom and I went through my grandmother's jewelry box after her passing, we ran across a velvet box nestled in the bottom drawer. It contained a strand of pearls that she wore on her wedding day. Aged over the years, the string had deteriorated and broken into several pieces. My grandparents were married during the great depression. The pearls were her something borrowed. The strand was not expensive, but their value is immeasurable because of what they represent to my family. This was a perfect picture of wabi sabi. Life is about these simple, yet memorable, moments that capture can last far beyond our years. ~Jennifer


Reflection on Haiku

When I first signed up for this course, I chose it because I needed one additional elective, and this class came highly recommended by classmates in my cohort. I was first introduced to haiku in previous creative writing and reading roundtable classes. I enjoy poetry and gravitate towards art enrichment courses as they have proven to enhance life experiences. Great art can capture a moment, figuratively stop time, and allow reflection upon the beauty that one might otherwise miss. It is like walking through an art gallery and discovering something new in a painting, photograph, or statue. I stand in awe as my perspective shifts. I find that I am quite addicted to this sensation. Literary art, including poetry, acts in the same way. It allows me to be better open to new concepts and ideas. 

Through this course, I found that I am drawn to the unexpected. I love when beautiful imagery surprises me with a simple turn of phrase. I love the juxtaposition as it is unpredictable. You are along for the journey, and there is a freedom in not knowing where the writer was going with their poem. This surprise may be found in an association between two subjects that otherwise may not demonstrate a clear connection. Or, the poet may give a subject characteristics I would not normally associate with them. The beauty is in the unexpected as it provides fresh insight to the familiar. Developing an appreciation for the unexpected and taking time to savor it will prove beneficial in my career and personal life.

Secondly, leaders are readers. They should not limit themselves to business journals and non-fiction. Dynamic leaders, in my experience, are open to reading a variety of genres including poetry. Exposure to poetry expands reasoning and creativity. The exercise of reading prose, reflecting on the words, and articulating personal meaning is beneficial in the business arena. These analytical and cognitive skills enable the leader to simplify problems better and communicate concepts so others can adequately understand them. The same reasoning and creativity abilities are needed when identifying solutions, leading teams, and developing new products.

Another benefit in poetry, particular haiku, is found in connection. When you read a poem, the writer opens themselves to the reader. You discover their personality, interests, and vulnerabilities. This candidness expands your empathy. You see life through their eyes. Knowledge grows when leaders practice looking at an issue from other angles. When in class, a classmate shared a favorite haiku. I may share the same memory of a moment but recall it differently based on my background and experiences. Listening to their account of how the poem resonated with them expanded my perspective. This connection enhanced the beauty of the three brief lines. My appreciation blooms and my emotional intelligence improves.

The most important concept that I will take from this class is the importance of cherishing the wonder and beauty of life's moments. My life can be so hectic, and I can lose sight of the goal in the midst of the chaos. Good leaders need to remember why they do what they do, connect with people, and share meaningful moments of learning with others. In this class, haiku has been the introduced vehicle that can enrich the experiences of life. Taking time to savor the moment improves work-life balance and engages me in the work that I do. Thank you for sharing this captivating Japanese art form with me.

~Jennifer Yeakley


© 2017, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.