EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks
Spring 2003
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Special Moments:
Selected Haiku

Xiu Ying Zheng


My first encounter with haiku writing was a few years ago in high school. At that time, I found the format (5-7-5) of haiku writing to be rigid, thus I did not enjoy it. This semester I revisited haiku writing, but in a brand new way. Dr. Randy Brooks's Global Haiku Traditions class made haiku writing so much fun. I learned that haiku is not about following ridgid rules but capturing special moments in life using the most precise words of description. It was important to notice that the haiku writing cycle does not end here. A haiku is not "born" until it is examined by a reader; a haiku "grows" when the writer makes edits after receiving feedback from readers.

I love nature, thus I decided to organize the first part of my personal haiku collection the traditional Japanese way by seasonal elements. The second part are haiku reflecting personal moemnts in life that I would like to record in writing. These moments are core to my haiku, hence I title this collection, Special Moments.

—Xiu Ying Zheng

Reader's Response

After reading some of Xiu Ying's haiku collection, I see that many of her poems relate either nature or relationships. Many of her haiku relating to nature contain a seasonal element in addition to an object of nature, such as water. For example, her haiku:

first spring day
winter salt
still on the ground

I have also noticed that much of her work involves relationships, whether between friends or family—which is supported by her commitment and loyality to those close to her!

messy lumps
in my ponytail
mom in the hospital

The majority of Xiu Ying's work leaves her readers with a sense of peacefullness and contentment. I ahve really enjoyed reading her haiku this semester, especially because I was able to relate to many of them which spoke of experiences that we both share!

—Nikki Garry • Spring 2003

untouched          textbooks
empty                        desk
            spring break

summer night breeze
beneath the willow
grandmother's story . . .

pitching out a snow ball
no return . . .

only hit my memory



Goodbye China Sea
I will return
when I succeed

storm cloud overhead
wetness on my cheeks
walking home      a l o n e



sparkling water
peaceful wild ducks
   until I pitched in a piece of      bread

Thursday night
drive around town
we talked about      nothing



old country road
you show me
. . . your dream house

your surprise visit
chocolate milkshake
sweeter than usual



CNN Special Report
our hearts
with the twin towers

messy lumps
in my ponytail
mom in the hospital



I came from a southeastern city of China.  The weather there is mild in the winter and hot in the summer*much like the temperature in Florida.  The coldest winter I remember, only had temperatures in the lower 40's.  Being used to the warm weather, snow and icy winter always amazed me.  It wasn't until when I immigrated to the United States that I saw real snow.  I got off the airplane after a 14 hour flight and still trying to adjust to the time change across the continents.  I thought I was dreaming when I saw a parking lot covered with thick snow.  From far away it looked like the entire area was covered with a white blanket, from cars to the ground . . . everything was covered with snow.  It was so amazing that I froze by exit for a moment.  It took me a while to absorb the fact that there is real snow on the ground.   

away in a foreign land
the snow fairy
welcomes me

My father is a person I have always admired, even though I have never admitted this in front of him. He is a person that would follow his dreams and does not give up until he reaches his dreams. As a young man in his early twenties, he immigrated to the United States all by himself knowing no one. He settled in New York City and started working at an American restaurant in New Jersey. For about ten years he was in the United States all by himself and working hard to pursuit his American Dream. I've only saw him twice within the ten years that he has been away. That's when he visited us in China. The image I had of him was always so energetic and 'young.' Yet when I finally arrived in the United States after his ten-year immigration petition, I really got to know what his life was like in the United States. He looked so tired everyday after work and at that time I was too young to understand why he had to work a 12-hour shift everyday and come home exhausted. But as I grew up, I finally understand. It was for his dreams…his American Dream for success.

revealing grey hair
once sparkling eyes
t i r e d from chasing his dream



                    First Spring Day

first spring day
winter salt
still on the ground


     cool evening
     lovers chat on the porch


lace curtain
with the wind


     a pair of songbirds chirping


mating grasshoppers
enjoy their privacy


     love fills the night air
     first spring day


ng – Nikki Garry
ky – Kandy Yeung
xyz – Xiu Ying Zheng

2nd Place (class)


©2003 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors