Haiku Attempts 1 - Memoir Haiku

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2010

cheek on her hand
… the pages
turn themselves

Lyles, To Hear the Rain, 27

During the summer I love to lie outside and read. Sometimes I would just sit in the swing in our backyard and lean on the arm rest with my head on my hand. Just the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze rocking me causes me to fall asleep. Then when I wake up a few minutes later my page would be different than the one I was on because of the wind.

Other time I wouldn’t be asleep and the wind would fight with me to turn my page before I was finished with that page. I would then usually hold down one side of the book with my elbow and my head supported by my hand and the other page is held down with my other hand. Sometimes I would get very annoyed, but the warmth of the sun is so overpowering that I end up sitting back and enjoy that annoying breeze.

I would always go back into the house with a really big red spot on my cheek from leaning on my hand. It was almost like a short reminder when I got back inside of how relaxing it was to be outside. Sometimes I would take the book and let the wind have it’s way with it and I would just sit there and watch or close my eyes and listen to the sound of the leaves of pages flip. The sound makes music with the birds chirping, the wind whistling through cracks in the garage, and the shaking of tree leaves. It creates a lullaby for me to drift in and out while taking a sun nap. I love the summer and being able to do this. It is one of my favorite parts of summer and life in general. Not just because of the warm weather and being relaxed, but also because reading takes me into a world that I couldn’t always travel to to begin with. It’s an adventure and a new life away from my own.

soft music
the trees and birds harmonize
a page turns

young girl with a book
eyes closing slowly
dreams

alone
she escapes
a world of beauty

Kari Thorton

Haiku from memoir:

a warm breeze
drifting
in and out

warmth of sun
a cool breeze rocks
fast asleep

backyard swing
red spot
on a cheek

graveside rain…
the old hymn fading
into earth scent

Lyles, To Hear the Rain , 58

When I read this Haiku, I knew right away that this was the one I wanted to use for my memory. What comes to mind right away is my Grandpa Peter. I never met my Dad’s parents because they both died in a plane crash right before I was born, so I only had my Grandpa Peter and Grandmother as the grandparents in my life. When I was four, my Grandpa Peter was diagnosed with Cancer, and he died a year later. I will never forget the night he died. It was Christmas Eve and my family was in the middle of singing Christmas carols when the phone rang. My mom left to go answer it, and she didn’t return. I walked around the corner to the living room, and I will never forget what I saw. There are certain images and memories in life that are burned into your mind, and the memory of my mom curled up in a ball crying on the couch is one I will never forget. Long story short, every single year on Christmas Eve we go to the cemetery and sing “Silent Night” at my Grandpa’s grave, because that is the song we were in the middle of singing when my mom received the call on that night in 1995. The reason this memory came to my mind immediately is because this break, just like every other one for the past 15 years, we went to the cemetery and sang at my Grandpa’s grave. Garrett
Haiku on Memory:

Grandpa,
I wish I knew you more.
I love you

Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm.

Ring,
Answer the phone,
Santa isn’t coming tonight

Garrett Derman

summer night
we turn out all the lights
to hear the rain

Lyles, To Hear the Rain, pg. 45

This haiku makes me think about people that are together after a fun day out in the sun. They could have been at a picnic, celebrating a birthday or a graduation, or could have just been enjoying each others company for the day. They may have been outside and interrupted by the rain. Maybe they were at a bonfire and had togo inside. They may have stayed outside under a tent for a while waiting for the storm to pass. If they were children, they may have even played in the rain for a while. Whatever the case, they end up going inside and drying off. It’s dark outside now, and after awhile of trying to find a way to pass time, they notice the pattering sound of rain falling on the house. They turn out the lights, lay on the floor, and relax to the sound of the rain. This reminds me of multiple times whenI was growing up where I would do the same thing. Many times I would just come inside, run out of things todo, and end up listening to the rain. The rain is such a comforting sound, and I quite often listen to it to relieve stress. I remember one particular storm that was very bad.

We were quite young at the time, but I remember there were reports of heavy storms approaching. My parents, my brother and I all went into the basement and waited for the storm to pass. It was such a simple event, but it is something I have always remembered. It was actually kind of scary at the time, so that’s a slightly unfortunate memory, but this haiku reminds of that night. I have had plenty of other situations when I had been having a bad day and the only thing that I could do was listen to the rain and forget what was happening. I have used the rain to relax so many times, and I absolutely love just sitting back, turning out the lights, listening to the rain, and thinking about life.


lightning crash
the night sky glows
casting mysterious shadows

gentle rain
taps the shoulder
of the girl

summer picnic
a young boy looks up
to the falling rain

Nathan Bettenhausen

Extended memory haiku:

storm approaching
waiting to pass
calming rhythm

trickling rain
collects on the petals
of the daisy

dangerous storm
we hide for cover
find love

sunshine
passes away
replaced by stormclouds

This summer, I had a huge fight with my sister, Brooke. Basically she got mad at me for reasons that are still unknown to me and it exploded into our biggest fight ever. She just started screaming that my mom treats me so much better than she ever treated me at her age. I think she was just mad because when she was in college, my mom didn’t pay for anything but her tuition. Brooke paid for her phone, car, food, etc. I am now in college and don’t pay for anything. I do have a job but I am also very involved on campus, unlike she ever was.

Brooke kept screaming and screaming and eventually leapt over the couch and was hitting my repeatedly in the head. My mom tried to stop her but Brooke was just too strong. She finally stopped and when she walked in the kitchen, I thought it was over. Little did I know that she was getting a huge glass of ice water and poured it right on my head while I was sitting on my family’s brand new leather couch. This is funny now, but at the time I was horrified that my 22 year old sister was acting like a 5 year old.

She then told my mom my biggest secret I have ever kept after I had trusted Brooke when I told her a few days before. My heart broke as she said the words that I had hoped my mom would never hear. It’s a life changing secret. It is such a big secret that I don’t even feel comfortable saying it in this memoir. Thank god my mom didn’t believe Brooke and she just kind of brushed it aside and never brought it up again. My sister finally calmed down and went upstairs. My mom went up to talk to her and I walked out of the house, shocked that my ex-sister, ex-best friend, had broken my heart, my trust, and our relationship.

After this fight, I didn’t talk to my sister for almost four months. We have always fought because we are sisters and constantly bump heads, but we always make up. However, we usually just make up because we forget about the fight and it just isn’t important anymore. This is something I will never forget. Brooke finally apologized but that fight is on my mind every time we talk and she will never be forgiven.

freezing cold
ice water down my back
washing away love

one fight brought
tears, hate, screaming
glass half empty

The words spilled out of her mouth
end of sisterhood
with one word

One hit, one scream
One word
4 months

Phone calls
texts
I don’t answer

Becky Smith

moving day
the dogwood tree
in full white bloom

-Lyles, THTR, 42

I have moved three times in my life. This haiku makes me think specifically of the first time I moved. We left in summer from my childhood home. I had lived there all of my life and as a 12 year old eighth grader, it was all I had ever known. My extended family lived there, all of my friends were there, the high school I was supposed to attend was there. When my dad told me that we were moving 2.5 hours away from all of that, I was furious. But more than being furious, I was sad.

At first I let these sad feelings overwhelm me. I hated that we had to leave. I made people feel sorry for me because I was moving. I let my friends tell me how disappointed they were that I was leaving. One day, however, something changed in me. I don’t know what it was or why it happened, but I like to say that my “dogwood tree” went “in full white bloom.” Something inside of me ignited and I realized that feeling sorry for myself and being disappointed wouldn’t change anything. We were going to move. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t change their minds. From that day forth, I took on a new mindset. One that was much more beneficial.

I vowed to look at the situation as an adventure. I had always lived in one place. How boring is that!? I needed to be somewhere else. I needed to experience the world outside of my little Peoria, Illinois bubble. So that is what I planned to do. I looked up all these things about my new high school. I started planning things I wanted to do in my new hometown. I even talked to some people at the high school to attain some contact information of students so that I could start making friends. I decided that this would be a new place. With a new place could come a new me.

For this part, I relate the change in the tree, going from being “dead” to being beautifully flowery. I used to be a very shy person. I didn’t have many friends and had trouble stepping outside of my comfort zone. I decided that at my new school I was going to be who I wanted to be. I decided to be more outgoing. I wanted to be a completely new me where if I told my new friends how I used to be, they wouldn’t believe me. So I did. I became that “dogwood tree” and started a new beginning. As dreadful as “moving day” seemed to be, I turned it around and made it into one of the best experiences of my life.

boxes packed
dust wiped away
into the truck

tissues
crumpled in the trash
wet

thirteen years
the biggest leaf turning
moving on

childhood friends
embracing tightly
goodbye for now

playhouse empty
all fun has gone away
lost childhood

Olivia Birkey

Extra Haiku from my memoir:
a dogwood tree
blooming to life
a new me

feeling depressed
something ignites
a whole new world

I spent numerous nights listening and watching summer storms. Many times my father and I would stand in the garage, watching the rain harshly pelt the ground, the trees bending from the force of the cool wind. The roar of the wind and the sound of distant thunder would calm my soul as my father and I would sit in silence, watching and listening. I still remember how awestruck I was when the simultaneous strikes of lightning lit up the whole neighborhood as bright as day. I turned to my father in amazement, not understanding how powerful nature could be. It was night time, yet for a brief moment, the entire area before my eyes was clear as day. I was ecstatic at this new discovery of storms, and I snuggled closer to my father as we continued to watch.

Memory Haiku

summer heat
barking orders
to throw the ball

endearing face
her trusting eyes
truly knew life

a new day
freshly fallen snow
brings squeals of delight

shattered headlight
hanging our heads
as we tell mother

those first days
new love was
our blindfold

Jade Anderson

snowed in
the wedding-ring quilt
lumpy with children

Lyles (64)

I am a small child. This has happened many times before...so many times during a single week, I feel like I have a second home. And, I do. My Nona’s house is warm while mine is cold and boring on these snowy days. My cousins and aunts and uncles feel the same way. We all migrate towards the old, three-story brick house on Pershing Avenue, right in the heart of the city. The surrounding houses are new and beautiful, but my Nona’s house in beautiful in a different way. It has a life, a past. I especially love the blankets inside. They all are hand-knit from yarn, a little scratchy, but very warm. My cousins and my sister and I always fight over who gets to snuggle under the blankets. Our parents in the other rooms drink coffee and laugh as smells of food waft from the kitchen. My mother tries to get me to eat, but I am too cozy under the wool to even consider it.

Today, us kids are playing hide and seek. I take the quilt with me in my hiding place, and when I’m found, everyone crowds under the blanket with me. We pretend we’re in a fort. The light filters through the rainbow of wool and illuminates our faces with the same quality of stained glass. I hear my mother calling, and soon the other adults are calling my cousins. We giggle and stay hidden as we hear them stomping up and down, looking for us. The game is bigger now, and more fun! Suddenly, my giant of an uncle rips the blanket off us all, revealing us quivering with laughter and glee. He good-naturedly yells at us for worrying them all, and soon we are collected by our respective guardians. I go home, and me and my sister try to get the same effect as the blankets at Nona’s house with our covers. It is warm, but not the same. Then our mother joins us. Now we are warm and happy, we laugh, and watch the snow cover the ground as we sip hot cocoa.

ticklish threads
weaving around my body
a giggle

hide and seek
parent searching for child
a shriek

warm sun
dances through a frosted pane
snowflakes banished

frozen car
warming your hands
steam off the coffee cup

Susie Wirthlin

Memoir Haiku - round two:

snowed in at Nona’s
old three-story brick house
the heart of the city

Mom joins us
under the blankets
snow covers

cousins crawl under
Nona’s hand-knit blanket
a little scratchy

Camping Memoir

summer night
we turn out all the lights
to hear the rain

(Lyles, 45)

I feel this poem creates a picture that I am all too familiar with in my childhood. From an early age, I loved to be outdoors. At my disposal were a big backyard, swing set, tire swing, sand box, basketball hoop, and plenty of grass for soccer and football. Something unique that my parents brought into my interests was camping. We would camp on average four times a summer, meeting up with relatives or merely making friends as we go. I got to know certain campsites as good as my neighbor, leaving me always excited to return to my “out-of-home stomping grounds”. Yes we had electricity, but it was primarily used for cooking or night time lighting in the camper. I felt we were as close to the outdoors as I could be.

The only event to top off our outdoors adventures was the infamous campfire. S’mores,ghost stories (told by dad), and blankets for late nights were necessity.Although the campfire was the epitome of most nights, a sole issue could prohibit such fun; rain. Personally, I had no problem packing everything up and bringing it inside. For in my family, indoor camping nights meant candlelight (forced by father) board games included Clue, Monopoly, or Scrabble. Rain or no rain, a summer night in the campgrounds guaranteed a positive childhood memory.

Analyzing the poem, the “summer night” verse immediately provoked a campfire, because the amount of time spent outside during the night. Sitting outside around a fire inserts me into the summer night, not in my air conditioned house with too many electronics to count. It is the rest of the poem that specifies the memory to camping with my family. Those nights we spent inside the camper always ended with board games put away, candles blown out, and lights turned off. To lay in a camper with complete silence, it is inevitable to fall hypnotized to the soft pattering of rain drops only feet above my head against the camper canvas. With lack of light and background noise, you can slowly begin to pick out each individual drop as it hits. This was a lullaby I preferred in my childhood, and will always remember its tranquility. Tyler


flickering campfire flames
happiness and smoke rises
as eyelids falls

crickets at nightfall
the radio silenced
as music continues

noble pine trees
safe and soft dreams
under green guardians

“Cold” Poems:
icy wind
forced open doors
met with painfully closed eyes

a mitten gone missing
five jealous frozen fingers
one warm hand

first breathe
a warmth wrenching inhale
tears and smoke to follow

bare hand on ice
instant regret but kept calm
a water pool forms

Tyler Lamensky

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