Haiku Kukai 1 - Transitions

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2012

Pick your favorite haiku.

sweet anticipation
new knowledge approaches
a freshman again

first day of class
i double check
this is the wrong room

Wanda June (2)

new faces
everyone is as lost
as i am


100 99 98 . . .
and suddenly I awaken
in a different room

Megan Vail

twelve hours daily
in the blistering heat
band camp

Conner Kerrigan (2)

butterflies in my stomach
just say it already
he loves me too

Courtney Gallup (6)

I like this haiku because it really put a scene in my head of a girl in the arms of her boyfriend. It paints a great picture of the first time the couple says, "I love you." This haiku emphasizes the anxiousness and anticipation of the situation. Then he says it and the relief hits. The butterflies go away and the joy comes. I can see the smile gleaming on the girl's face. This haiku was written very well. Moli

This haiku makes me think of a young couple still dating. This woman knows she loves him but she's afraid of it being unrequited. This is a feeling that so many of us are familiar with that it's almost impossible to make a connection with this haiku. We can all relate to the nervousness and anxiety that this situation creates. Everyone wants to be loved by the person that they love and unfortunately it doesn't always turn out for the best. It's such a pivotal statement in a relationship and this is why it creates so much tension and anxiety. You just want this person to return your love and you hope that you aren't ruining this relationship. But when he finally says he loves you too it creates a flood of emotions. You're so relieved he loves you and then you're ecstatic because . . . he loves you and they you love him so much because he loves you. It's amazing how so many emotions can be perceived in only twelve words! Stef

one hundred eyes
mine scan the sea of strangers
and find you

Hailee Peck (6)

ascending the hill
. . . still perfect
in his eyes

Courtney Gerk (6)

From my interpretation of this haiku, I visualize an elderly couple. They have been married for years and years with plenty of children and grandchildren. They are walking hand in hand when they reach a hill, and the man pauses to watch his wife slowly struggle up the hill. He watches her for a while, and slowly smiles as she transforms in his eyes to the young, beautiful, perfect woman he married. It is a very joyful haiku because it shows that love can last forever. It is hopeful, happy, and a true joy to read. Catherine

This haiku became my favorite from our first Kukai only after hearing other’s responses to it—and the idea that it describes relationship, still perfect in his eyes, but not necessarily the other person’s. I imagine two people walking up a physical hill, although the idea of ascending a hill could also be describing the ascent in the relationship of the two people—they may be dating, and the relationship is becoming more elevated, more serious. In the beginning of a relationship, everything may seem perfect to both people—but sometimes as it wears on, one or both people begin to notice flaws and problems in the other person and in the relationship in general. In the scene I imagine as a result of this haiku, the girl in the relationship has begun to notice these flaws, but realizes that her significant other hasn’t seen these flaws, and still thinks that she and the relationship are perfect. This kind of disjunction between two people is a bit heartbreaking, but it is all too common. This interpretation of the haiku really strikes me, taken both as a literal and figurative ascent. Wanda

tightly holding hands
grip gets looser
roller coaster


new moon
a budding romance

Elise Scannell

I really enjoyed the wording in this haiku. People usually use the phrase new moon when the sky is dark and the moon cannot be seen. Typically, this darkness would represent a frightening ordeal, but in the context of the poem I feel that the darkness created by the new moon represents a new beginning. Each person in the couple has the chance to show the other who they truly are free of any other influences from past relationships. For me, the word shining does not apply to the first line, but to the last line. This new romance is beginning, and in the future their relationship will shine, or make it through hard times. Megan

serene night
my love sleeping close
quietly breathing

in his arms
the next morning
she pretends to sleep

Wanda June (7)

I chose this haiku as a favorite because it is romantic. I feel like the girl is just trying to keep the perfect moment going as long as possible, so she just keeps her eyes closed in the hopes that everything will stay just as it is. Maybe she is staying asleep because she is curious as to what he will do when he sees that she is still sleeping. Or from another standpoint, maybe they argued or something the night before, and she is not ready to deal with it yet. Either way, there is love in this haiku, and I am a sucker for love. Courtney

white dress and black tux
sealed with a kiss

Moli Copple (9)

This haiku is obviously about marriage. The most important part of it is the stand-alone work "forever". Marriage is such a sacred bond, and it is constantly being shattered in our modern era. This haiku reflects on the true meaning of marriage, which is to promise to love someone "forever". "Sealed" is another strong word, meaning that the kiss is a binding contract to which there should be no escape. Unfortunately, many people now-a-days escape this seal by signing a terrible piece of paper that has the ability to hurt people. Conner

step into
diamonds on dark blue silk
midnight swim

Stefanie Davis (7)

blue moon
the fox stops
for a curl of warm tail


vast graveyard
mother nature's cold blanket
patiently waiting for new life

of bedtime stories
now on my own

Courtney Gerk (5)

sea like eyes
warming touch
only in pictures you stare

Jessica Claussen

This haiku to me, is about someone who lost a loved one. The one who passed away has eyes so deep, genuine, and innocent.  He also was once the comfort to the narrator. I like this one because of the sensation of a warming touch and the sight of “sea like eyes”. Eyes are the key to one’s soul. Therefore mentioning the eyes say a lot about the narrator’s connection with the person who dies. The last line “only in pictures you stare” is very solemn. It shows the magnitude of the living’s grief and longing for the lost one. Courtney Gerk

walking hand in hand
kicking up dirt
the sun falls behind us

Katie McDaniel (5)

I absolutely adore this haiku because of the imagery that I get whenever I read it. My first thought consisted of two small children—a boy and a girl—in slightly dirty clothes walking down a long dirt road from an all day adventure. The little boy had a fishing pole in his hands and as they walk they talk about life in that questioning, philosophic way that kids often do. After someone mentioned this in class, I realized that this reminds me specifically of the movie Forest Gump. Forest and Jenny as young children are a perfect example of what I image this haiku to be. Elise

This haiku reminds me of that young summer love. Two young adults walking hand in hand down a dirt road, with the glow of an orange and pink sunset behind them. I love that the author said that “the sun falls behind us” because the sun it reminds me of those times when it seems like it was daylight one minute and the next it is nightfall already. I just love the imagery that this haiku sets up. I pictured a silhouette of two people walk and a big orange sun falling behind them. It just makes me think of this very sweet and innocent young love. I instantly thought of that very stereotypical young summer crush. Lindsay

her child
yet she speaks now as if
I am an adult

one step
in the right direction

Lindsay Quick (4)

This was the one haiku from the twenty four selected that I thought best represented the idea of a transition time, at least for me. It makes me think back to my senior year, when every decision I made caused me to be anxious and wonder if I was really doing the right thing. Picking a college, applying for scholarships, taking AP exams ... every part of senior year was accompanied by a feeling of self-doubt. I think any transition in life is like that, too—the most I can do is take a step that may or may not be in the direction I want to go, as the haiku implies, and hope that in the end it will turn out alright. It makes me feel confident and excited about where that one step will lead while at the same time, making me feel apprehensive about whether that was the right direction or not. Hailee

soft breathing
against the back of my neck
my lullaby

Megan Vail (9)

I picture two people in love lying side by side. The man is holding the woman in front of him. They are slowing and softly breathing about to fall asleep. A lullaby is soothing, relaxing, and comforting. The woman's lullaby is the man breathing on her. I imagine it as a sign that she is safe and protected; it is a sign that she is safe to fall asleep because he is there right behind her. The image is breathtaking and peaceful. Jessica

The first thing I think when I read this is that this could either be a childlike sensation or an adult sensation. This could be coming from the perspective of a small child that is being lulled to sleep by the presence of their parents. Most people are comforted by having someone near to them holding them close. The breath on the back of the neck could symbolize a parent holding their child closely on their lap. However, this could also be an example of an adult relationship or two people in love. I picture a couple embracing, listening to each other's breath as they fall asleep. Kendall

Here is an old woman. She is dying, unresponsive to treatment. She has been lying in her bed for several days with no movement. Her family is ready to end the life support, and her husband wants to spend one last night with the love of his life. He climbs into the bed with his wife, embracing her with as much love as their wedding night. She has been holding on for him, she knows her death will leave him terribly heartbroken. She knows tonight, though, she must finally let go. She feels him embrace, though unable to react. He falls asleep, his breathing falling into a soft rhythm that graces her neck. All sounds around her, the heart monitor, the tired voices in the kitchen, are silenced by his breath. She holds on as long as she can, embracing this moment as her last. His breath comforts her as she finally greets death. Lexie

doorbell rings—
he quickly dries
sweaty palms

Elise Scannell (2)

This reminds me of one of the first times I picked up a girl from her house to go on a date. It was my first date ever, so I was extremely nervous. For some reason, I always sweat some when I am nervous. I remember walking up and feeling the sweat starting on my hands and on my forehead, trying to wipe them away to look at least decent for her. I got to the door and frightfully rang the doorbell and waited for her response. Being the worry-wart I am, every possible situation ran through my head. What if she doesn't answer? What if she slams the door in my face? What if she does answer? Will I be brave enough to make it through the night? These questions running through my head did not help the sweat situation at all! I quickly wiped away the sweat and then the door opened. She did come with me, we had a fun time, and all was swell. No reason to worry at all. Adam

last year's regrets
a fresh start


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