Haibun 1 Edited

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2012

The stars are beautiful at my old school, Enterprise Elementary. The school is pretty much away from the brightness of the city, so when you get away from the lights in the parking lot, it truly is dark. On a good night, find a perfect spot in the field and the sky shines. The sky is clear and is full of bright stars. They entice you and they keep you looking for a long time if you let them. It can be a spot of peace or an escape from life if you want it to. It is truly a beautiful spot.

dark field
the night sky
creates my escape

          Adam Blakey

Disney World

Walking down the middle of Main Street in Walt Disney World, surrounded by throngs of people, my family and I are the only ones there. We visit this well-loved place of magic and memories about once a year, and experience has taught us to drown out the noise and confusion of the surrounding crowd and simply enjoy time spent there. My dad and I are especially loyal Disney fans. We listen to a weekly podcast about the history of the parks and Walt Disney himself. There's just something about walking down Main Street with Cinderella Castle straight ahead and cheerful old-timey music in the background that makes me feel like everything is right with the world and nothing can ever be wrong. I know some people can't see Disney that way. To them, it's an amusement park for small children, but I know the truth from what my passion has taught me. Strolling down Main Street, I notice details that I have never noticed before. Looking up and around, there are many windows on the buildings surrounding Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, and on several of the windows there are names that refer back to some of the original Imagineers, or designers of the parks. The warmth of the Florida sun, the joyful music I know so well, the sights, the smells — I'm home.

men with balloons
women with crowns
adult children

          Catherine Hixson

I really enjoyed Catherin Hixson's "Disney World" haibun. It opened the scene by describing Disney World and the feelings that she has as she walks down the street. I loved her haiku:

men with balloons
women with crowns
adult children


When I went to Disney World for the first time, I was 15 years old. I would never trade that experience for anything. It is true that when you are there, you sort of believe in magic again. Because I went when I was older, I appreciated the fun and excitement more than I ever would if I were to have gone as a child. This is because children always act like children and they can make up there own fun anywhere. It is more difficult for an adult to let loose and have fun. Disney makes children out of adults, kind of like magic.

Haiku response:

sprinkling belief
back into adults
Disney World magic

Courtney Gerk

There isn't enough light in this foyer. This house used to be the Delta Sigma Phi house and now it houses percussion instruments, mainly because the members of Delta Sigma Phi flooded the basement. A broken computer sits on a desk while Audrey and I sit in this slightly too dark room instead of practicing. We talk about random things, anything beside the practice we aren't doing. J will never know of our insubordination, he is too busy conducting the piece that Audrey and I do not play on. Today is very stressful but I must get everything done before 7 because that is when I begin my Initiation week. There isn't enough light in this foyer.

I look sharp and prepared
except for one thing
ankle socks

          Conner Kerrigan

In the Water

Growing up, I lived for the summer, particularly for the beach. I would be in the water from the moment the lifeguard said I could go in until the sun went down and the beach closed. It didn’t matter how hot or cold it was, or even if I had done nothing but swim for an entire week, I just wanted to be in the water. The feel of the liquid surrounding me and carrying me with the current is one of my favorite feelings, and floating on my back has always been as natural to me as breathing. Even better is the sensation of the warm sun beating down on me as I swim through the cool water. I still have an intense love for the water, if there is a pool or beach I’ll swim in it. Even so, those childhood memories of the beach will always stick with me, because back then life was so free and easy. The beach was always there, and I always had time to swim.

light as a feather
I float
through the summer 

          Courtney Gallup

I loved this haibun so much because it reminds me of my younger self. I scarcely swim anymore, but when I was a kid I swam every chance I got. We would take trips to Panama City Beach, Florida every single summer, and sometimes twice a year. That first step onto the sand was the beginning of another wonderful week in paradise. I would play in the sand and swim out in the ocean for hours. When we weren't at the beach I was in the hotel pool, or relaxing in the hot tub. At home in the summer I would swim in the pool, and I would always eagerly await the day when it was warm enough to open the pool. You could hardly keep me out of the water. Eric

Courtney Gallup’s reflections of her childhood summers remind me of my own summers spent in Florida at my grandmother’s house. She lived walking distance from a beautiful, private beach and I spent some of the best summers of my life there. I love the way Courtney described the joy and freedom of spending a day in the water. She made me feel the warmth of the sun while floating in the cool water. Sometimes when I get stressed or overwhelmed, I think back on how perfectly relaxed I was on the beach in Florida during those lovely summers.

close my eyes
salty breeze
thoughts of summer

Catherine Hixson

We moved in July to that neighborhood without neighbors. The first lot of the subdivision, there was not even grass. Just dirt surrounded the house. Not even paint colored the walls yet. But my sister, Emilee and I had plenty of color in our mind. We always played with our imaginations in that dirt yard. Some days we would play farmer plowing the field, other days we would play the adventurous princess, but our favorite game was The Magic Waterfall, a game we invented. Towards the side of our backyard, there was an invisible waterfall, which no one could see but us. It held great wonders. Once you went through it, you entered a magical world with princes, monsters, and alligators. In this game, we were our own hero’s. Whenever it got dark, we would pick up the next day right where we left off and enter The Magic Waterfall again. Our imagination would keep us excited and never leave us bored in that lonely neighborhood.

dirt without grass
ordinary land
our wonderland

          Courtney Gerk

Response to haibun:

I really liked the haibun done by Courtney Gerk. She reallyenvisioned her childhood and the games that her and her sisters used to play,like princesses, barbies, and dramatic games. I loved the way she went intodetail about one of the games, the magic waterfall. I love how she describedthe games she played in the dirt in fromt of her new house, and she and hersisters would play for hours, then when they had to stop they would simply pick up where they left offthe next day.

Her haibun brings me back to my childhood, which I really liked. I always seem tolike the haiku/haibun that bring me back to my childhood memories. Most everykid loved to play outside, and when they did their imagination just ran awaywith them. I always made the best memories playing outside with my brother,whether we’d be heroes climbing in trees, or villains running to try and escapefrom the sheriffs (our dogs), we always let our imaginations run free and wecould be whatever or whoever we wanted. So in more of a response to Courtney’s haibun I’ll write a quick haibun about a game my brother and I always played when we were young:

The dog sat on the porch, overlooking the lush green front yard. Trees were in full bloom; as was the summer humidity, because it seemed to be on full blast. My brother and I were running as fast as we could, and not looking back. All ofthe sudden, we were being chased. There was nowhere to go, except for up. My brother and I frantically climbed up a tree, knocking off green leaves on our journey to escape who was chasing us. Looking down, we could see the frantic in the eyes of our pursuer. Breathless, we started to taunt our pursuer because we knew he could not get to us. The dark bark of the tree was itching our legs,and we were tired, so we climbed down from the tree, and immediately our pursuer tackled us. We immediately grabbed our pursuer and started tickling him, and he rolled on his belly and let us continues tickling him. The pursuer was no one else but our lovely chocolate lab, Yogi. Our favorite game was running and hiding from him and him chasing us. Good old games from our childhood.

running wild
childhood freedom


Perhaps my favorite haibun was the one written by Courtney Gerk. It really made me think about the times I would spend with my brother and cousins and neighborhood friends as a child. It also got me thinking about the vastly different childhoods people have experienced. It is interesting to read about other people’s experiences and relate them to my own and those of others that I know. I’m going to write a short haibun about one of my childhood experiences in my neighborhood:

All of the children gathered in the usual empty lot after they were done eating supper. Because it was mid-summer, there were still a couple hours of daylight left. I was one of the older children there, and I was glad; the ones older than me often excluded many of the younger kids. My younger brother, being the athletic one of the two of us, carried the large red bat and few baseballs and baseball gloves he found in our garage. As we walked across the street, we could see about five other kids walking towards us; they lived farther down the street. None of us were wearing shoes, and each young body was probably in need of a shower before bed that evening. But it didn’t matter. We were young, we were carefree, and we were starting a pick-up game of baseball. It was that simple. Kendall

As the day wore on and the night began to take over, the little girl and her mother were still hard at work in the garden. The chickens, curious as they were, inspected the work every now and then occasionally adding their “bocks” into the background noise. The girl’s dog watched loyally from the coolness of a nearby shade tree. Every now and then her mother would look up, expecting the little girl to be worn out from the day’s work and ready to go inside. To her surprise, however, the girl kept working diligently and dedicated herself to the project. As the sky began to change from a baby blue to a golden mix of yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples, the mother looked up at her daughter one more time and asked her if she wanted to go inside. To the mother’s surprise, the daughter responded, “Mommy, we can’t go inside until we’re all finished!” Smiling to herself, the mother continued on working with her daughter.

little hands
seed by seed

          Elise Scannell

This reminded me of when I used to work in the backyard with my Dad as a kid. In the spring, when I was done at school and he was done at work, we would go work outside together. We would plant the seeds, weed the garden, water the garden, mow the lawn, or whatever else needed to be done that day. If there was still daylight and we had finished working, we would pull out our baseball gloves and play catch until Mom called us in for dinner. I always will remember those days with my Dad. Adam

This haiku is a response to Elise's Haibun:

a mother yawns
calm air
dusk approaching


The little girl with pigtails watched the raindrops race each other down the glass windows. After much begging, her mother brought her outside to play in the rain. In pink rain boots and under a wide umbrella, she ran into the drizzle. The gravel covered parking lot down the street from their home was a place where puddles always seemed to form, the perfect place to splash in the rain. Pebbles on the ground fascinated the girl—in the rain they glistened and sparkled, and she collected the prettiest ones. The girl's clothes soaked through and clung to her skin, as cold raindrops poured from the heavens. Her mother carefully watched.

spring sun emerges
dried pebbles
no longer sparkle

          Wanda June

I really enjoyed this haiku, mostly because it was really funny and coincidental that Wanda and I both wrote about memories spending time outside with our mothers. Childhood memories like this are always wonderful to read and write about because you can almost hear the laughter and feel the connection between the mother and daughter. In response to this, I would like to write my own haiku—one that I thought of when I read it the first time in class. Elise

I really liked Wanda’s haibun because it reminds me of my younger sister and her best friend. For some reason, those two really loved the rain. I’m not sure whether it was the excitement of getting to wear their shiny red rain boots or being able to splash in puddles but whatever the reason, if it was raining you could guarantee they would be outside. I was often put in charge of making sure they didn’t end up in the street, so I would sit inside and watch from the bay window as they giggled and their clothes dripped as much water as the sky.

the sky weeps
Red Rubber Rain Boots


My favorite Haibun is Wanda June's the little girl dancing in the rain. Reading this haibun, I really felt like I was there. The imagery Wanda painted within her short story was really great. Iwanted to be that little girl, dancing her heart away in the sparkling rain.The following haiku really ends the adventure in just those three lines. It's short and sweet and honestly a beautiful memory into someone's life. Merissa

It was springtime, chilly, and we jumped up and down together in the light of the moon. With her, the night became comforting, instead of quiet and eerie. Her company made it beautiful. We jumped, for no apparent reason, but it was probably out of the joy of finding one another. We now had someone to create and share these moments with. After a short time we fell and layed together, looking at the stars that dotted the sky. The stars had never been so beautiful before we shared them together. All alone, we were mostly quiet, but it was a comforting silence. We talked quietly at times. Her pale face rested on my shoulder. This was one of the first few times we had been alone, but yet we both felt so comfortable with the other each time we were together.

topping off the day
with pretty sprinkles
over the night sky

          Eric Landgrebe

I really enjoyed Eric's haibun because of the haiku that ended it. I love how he paints the night sky as if it were a cake. His story discusses the perfect day, one that can only be topped by the perfect night. It describes those perfect moments when you look into the sky and see nothing but eternity; those moments when time seems to completely stop. When you make a cake, you work hard to perfect ever detail: It's taste, the smoothness of the frosting on top. But it's not until you add sprinkles that the cake seems complete. It puts those finishing touches on that make it absolutely perfect. For Eric's haibun, the day he writes about would be beautiful without stars spotlighting the evening moment. But those stars are what make that day complete. Lexie

It was raining in California, along the coast. I woke early to the sound of the drops angrily stinging the window. After 3 days of rain, the whole world seemed soggy, foggy, almost sad. Even with the rain though, we were determined to have a good time. We drove to the tide pools, spending all day immersed in salt, water and sea creatures. I wondered if they missed the sun as much as I did.

laze on tidal rocks
sun still hidden

Eventually we packed up to head home, what looked like half the beach accompanying us into the car. We drove along the coastline, narrowly escaping the receding cliff edges. Now we knew the reason for the new tunnel. Darkness was quickly falling, and I heard my parents’ voices start to hush as our breathing grew deeper and steadier.

falling dusk
the air is laced with
musty moonlight

          Hailee Peck

Christmas break.

AnnaMaria Island. Florida. Vacation. Watcing the sun disappear every night. A rainbow of colors overcame the sky, but created a new picture every night. The colors painted a beautiful memory. Taking in the moment together, with people all around the world. An amazing image, slowly gone, created an unforgettable moment. A picture paints a thousand words, but a memory paints a million.

our reflection
gently fades
with the setting sun

          Jessica Claussen

The day my grandfather surprised me with a giant chain swingin the middle of our woods was the happiest day of my life, when I was eightyears old. Our house is surrounded by woods, and I would always be playing inthem, climbing tall pine trees, jumping over the creeks, making a hut of sticksand log, and letting my imagination run wild in those woods. Often my parentswould get nervous that I would break my neck or contract a really bad case ofpoison ivy, because I would tumble & dance in the woods, and roll aroundafter I fell out of a tree or roll around in the random weed-like flowers thatgrow there. I loved the woods, I felt like I owned them (when I was 8, ofcourse) and I could do whatever I wanted in them. My grandpa created a safe wayfor me to 'fly to the treetops' by building me a 'mega-swing' that the ropeswere so long, he attached the ropes to high branches of oak trees, so it wassturdy. I would spend hours upon hours flying through the new budding trees,fully grown green trees, and fall leaves. I would swing on it every waypossible, on my rear, on my feet, on my stomach like superman, I'd even twistthe chains up and make myself insanely dizzy. I'd also make up games, like I wasflying from a demon, or I was a superhero flying to save the animals in thewoods. Every season, no matter what the weather, I'd be on that swing, swingingas high as I could, free in the wind. The saddest day of my life was when a hugestorm came through and knocked down a tree that broke my swing... and there wasno other place in the woods to put my new swing because it was too full oftrees and it wouldn't fit anywhere. There were no clearings left that were safeenough, either. So, now all I have arethe happy memories of my lovely beloved swing in the middle of the magicalwoods.

through the woods
she felt invincible

          Katie McDaniel

I love this haibun by Katie because it does embody the love she has for this swing and the multitude of memories that she associates with it. But I love it most of all because it also embodies the childlike joy of a swing. This haibun is very specific to Katie and her memories but it is also general enough that everyone can relate to this joy of swinging. I think it's amazing how she was able to incorporate so many personal ideas while making it so applicable to others. Stef

We were leaving my home in the largest town around for miles and heading towards the hillier section of central Illinois, so that the lights emitted from town were only visible as a distant glow. As we drove, a new type of light presented itself. It was subtle, but as we passed through towns with populations of only a few hundred, we found ourselves surrounded by the flashing red lights that appeared to be suspended in midair.

Upon exiting the car and stepping onto McLean soil, one can practically feel a charge in the air. Once we started to listen, we could immediately hear the quiet but ominous 'whooshing' sound that the windmills were serenely producing above us. Each of the 240 windmills moved on its own time, to its own rhythm. The effect of being among these immense machines for even a few minutes had an incredible soothing effect.

We left the countryside and headed back towards the city, feeling calmed and content. Although we could no longer hear the windmills stirring the air, we could see the lights growing smaller and more distant in the car's rearview mirrors. No matter how many times I drive past those towering things during the day, they are never quite the same windmills we experienced that warm spring night.

thinking too much
the quiet turbines
settle our nerves

          Kendall Harvey


It was a soft spring day; a gentle breeze lifted some of the heat from her skin. It was the perfect day to take a deep breath of the sweet smells of the blooming trees. Nola walked out to the middle of the quad, completely ignoring the mud left on her shoes from last night's storm. Despite the beauty of the afternoon, campus seemed particularly ugly. Some trees had fallen, their lives cut short by a heavy wind. Some windows were broken, students crying; cars were flipped over, and the roof of the student center was completely caved in.

Nola had never been so frightened by a storm before, but she had also never experienced one as intense as that. It was her first night on campus, a brand new freshman that hadn't been broken in yet. That first night was smashed by a tornado, leaving her new, color-coordinated dorm set somewhere at the bottom of the rubble that used to be her residence hall. She had nowhere to go; her family was lost in the same storm only hours before she had greeted it herself.

a single tear
as much power
as the rain

          Lexie Huston

I love how it begins with a description of a nice day, and then fades into this sort of story that is tragic. It's not something you would expect as the reader, but it works really well at getting you to want to read more. The story is so sad, and matches the haiku really well. The haiku still hold their own by themselves; they are not dependent on the story. I think my favorite aspect of this haibun is the fact that it is dark. Happy, fun haiku about nature are so predictable at this point; it’s nice to see something in contrast. Courtney Gallup

I really enjoyed Lexie’s haibun "Lost." It was full of emotion, but was not so emotional that it wasn't believable. I was also able to relate to the feelings that came out in the haiku part of the haibun. The haiku is strong enough to stand on its own and could describe many situations, but it relates to the written portion very well. Megan

New York

New York for the first time. Being excited about the trip. First glimpses reveal all that I expected. Tall buildings, bright lights. Sprawling city. Had only known my fellow teammates for a short time. New experiences with new friends. So many people, so many lights. Time to bond and get to know each other. So many new experiences and stories to tell. Late nights sight seeing all day. Excitement, no sleep.

lights and people
my eyes grow heavy
I wonder, who knows?

          Lindsay Quick

I liked Lindsay's because I can relate directly to it. Like her, I went to NYC in the fall, I went with my boyfriend's family who I had only known for about 7 months, and was very excited. The experience and the memories made are unforgettable. I thought her haiku went very nicely with the prose. I picked hers because of how relatable it was to my situation. Jessica

When I look through the viewfinder, I see the world differently. I see the beautiful shape of a bending branch and how the white flowers, green grass, and blue sky complement each other. The sun beats down, allowing be to capture the beauty of the lake in front of me. It teems with life: ducks, fish, and insects. Squirrels, rabbits, and robins wander around the lake edge enjoying the cool breeze that comes off of the lake. Click. My shutter breaks the silence as I capture the moment -- a souvenir of this serene scene for when I am back in the rat race.

through the branches
sparkles on the water

          Megan Vail

The ice blows strong on the black Wisconsin roads. I’m clutching my seatbelt as my mom bravely avoids the slip and slide of the tires. No one should be out today, but Wal-Mart was calling my mother's name. Arriving at the store, I was surprised tosee how many souls braved the cold in order to do some Sunday shopping. As we got out of the car, I ran ahead, face buried in my coat to get to the warmth inside. As I hit the double doors, I turned around to make sure my mother was still in sight, but something else caught my eye. An older lady, taking up both the handicapped spots was headed straight towards me. As she griped her purse and keys, she failed to notice the patch of ice below her feet. Without a sound, she hit the ground. Person after person passed her without a second glance. I watched her struggle until my mother met up with me. "We need to help her," I stated, and she instantly agreed. We helped her up and decided we shouldn’t let her walk alone in risk that she would fall again. We got her a cart, and decided to help her shop. I took her list and got all her groceries while my mother took her to the pharmacy. We made sure she completed her trip safely before start in in on our own.

pass it on
the kindness of your heart

          Merissa Marx

My 4th grade science project was on butterflies. It was extensive. I opted for the challenging experiment. Everyone else was done as I kept working. Summer was enclosing.

spring breeze
cocoon opens

          Moli Copple

Within our group, I really liked Moli's haibun. I think that it had some really good symbolism as well as a good choice of memory. I liked that the haibun takes you back to that moment in her history. If I were here, I would have maybe been a little more ambiguous about the memory itself. I think that the haibun was kind of wordy, but the overall concept was a good one for this assignment. I also like the haiku that she used to go along with her haibun. It fits well with the paragraph, but I also think that it could stand on its own because of the symbolism. Lindsay

Grandpa's house on a resort. The shimmering, red cobblestone steps lead up to the store, that is on the bottom floor of the two story building. There is the ice cream section outside the window that holds the same favorite flavor of mine since I was 6 years old. His dark-brown cat leads me near the spring. The water's purity is the same as when I drank from it during scorching summer days. The cat leads me to the cement path leading around to the vegetable garden, where my Grandpa stands.

growing old
I remind him of his youth
split cobblestone

          Sendin Bajric

When I was little I always wanted to make forts out of blankets or dig a fort in a snow bank during the winter. This idea interested me so much because I wanted to have a "house" of my own where I could be grown up and do what I wanted to do. I looked forward to being able to clean, cook, have a pet, and have fun whenever I wanted to. In an attempt to make this a reality even sooner I made forts so I could pretend. Looking back on these childhood wishes and dreams I see them now almost as a reality. Now I do live away from home and I can do whatever I want, to a degree. Though I am enjoying this time in my life it’s hard to realize when you’re young all the difficulties, struggles, and hardships you go through to get from childhood to adulthood. Friends are made and lost, mistakes are made and often life altering, there aren't an infinite amount of chances anymore. Reflecting my childhood dreams I see the reality of them, and though I still have many of the same dreams many of them have been altered to better fit reality. This also identifies a difference between the limitless dreams that children can have to the realistic and structured goals of adults.

little girl plays mommy
baby's crying
comes back to reality

wedding day dreams
save the cake
for broken anniversary

          Stefanie Davis

© 2012, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.