Haiku Kukai 1 - Winter Transitions

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2013

a hidden classroom
anxious pencils tapping

driving alone
the radio
must be loud

Sarah E. Kisly

This one wasn't mentioned in class, but as I looked back at the Kukai sheet, I noticed it. I like this one because it reminds me of driving to and from Millikin. I have two different interpretations of this haiku. When I first read it, I thought the times I have driven to and from Millikin by myself. Usually, I am excited to come back and I like singing along with the music while I'm driving. The other interpretation I have for this haiku is that it could have a somber tone. The poem sets this up by saying "driving alone." It goes on to say the radio 'must be loud" which could imply the need to drown out other thoughts. There have been times when I wanted to turn off my brain so I would turn on music. It all depends on how you see driving in the car alone. Emily D.

empty boxes
quiet music
free but alone

Alex Buchko (7)

With this one, I saw myself in a practice room in PMC, looking for a piece of music to perform or to use in an audition. At home I keep a box of musical theatre songbooks in my room, so I imagined looking through these books, hearing the muffled sound of other people practicing, and feeling free when I start to sing. Practice rooms provide a solace. They aren't completely soundproof, so it's not like I know no one can hear me, but people tend to not bother you when you're in a practice room with the door shut. It's different practicing at home in my room or anywhere else because that seems unusual to other people and they're more likely to interrupt. I love the idea of being able to just sing without someone judging or critiquing me, which doesn't get to happen a lot here. There are very few places where I can just be alone, so I appreciate and welcome the moments that I do. Heidi

This haiku reminds me of when I first moved into college. I was unpacking so there were a lot of empty boxes around my room. Everything that I used to have at home was being unpacked and becoming a part of my new home. The empty boxes were a sign of my successful move-in; the beginning of the next chapter of my life. Living on my own made me feel so free. I was finally growing up. Even though I was free in the sense that I could live on my own without anyone telling me what to do, I felt so alone. I missed my family. I become so used to my family always being there, that when I had to live on my own, it was very lonely. Amanda

This kukai was something I could connect to extremely well. I am a musician, and have been my entire life. That said, this immediately made me think of the music area of my home. I have big cubes where I keep all of my music, and these made me think of the empty boxes. When they are empty, it is because all of my music is out and I am playing it. Playing music in a space where I am entirely alone is an extremely liberating experience. When I am alone and playing, there is no pressure to play perfectly, for I am playing for myself. I can make mistakes and learn from them, and I can take chances in my music. Therefore, I can directly relate to the feelings that the person who wrote this haiku has, and I completely agree. Molly

out of the water
a soft breeze

lips so soft
I take off
into Heaven

big red onesie
back flap
much appreciated

Charlie Decker (6)

he sets down his crutches
and nudges
the soccer ball

Darien M. Sloat (6)

I really like this haiku because it hits home for me. My junior year of high school I lost my entire volleyball season to a severe ankle injury. It was awful. The worst feeling is wanting to be out there with your team, and knowing that you can't be. I so badly wanted to just set down my crutches and run out onto the court. Kelsey

wind bites
he holds the door for me

Sarah E. Kisly

I really like this haiku because it totally illustrates the awkwardness of holding doors for people. The holdee is almost always a little too close or far away, and on top of that the occasional second door just complicates the entire process. However, despite the weirdness felt by the holder, the holdee is usually unaware or indifferent to this and is flattered and impressed by the gesture. Charlie

I don’t like to pick a favorite, because I liked many of them, but this one caught my eye as I read through the kukai again so I chose it to write on. The first line of this haiku is harsh. I can imagine a bitter cold wind that bites into you. But then it changes to a softer mood when it talks about a boy holding a door. I like the contrast in this haiku between the biting wind and the tender moment of holding the door. I think the word twice is what makes this moment tender. A person holding a door for someone is a polite thing to do, but this guy holds the door twice. To me this implies that he truly cares and is going out of his way to be a gentleman and take care of the girl he is holding the door for. I imagine a scene from a movie where two people are going on their first date and they are both nervous but you can tell they care about each other. Emily D

full of leaves
no face—just arms

Charlie Decker (2)

snowball fight
first arcs high . . .
second nails face

at the gas station
chin tucked to my chest
Hurry up!

Therese O'Shaughnessy (3)

strong winds on a
january morning—
no scarf

Jordan Caulk

This is my life. I always forget to wear a scarf if I am not wearing one with the outfit I picked out for the day. Immediately after walking out of my building, I feel the cold right there on my exposed chest. At that point it's too late to go back in to bundle myself up more. Then you have to deal with the coldness all day long walking from class to class if you don't have a long enough break (which I don't have any breaks.) Emily C.

improvised song
distracts me as I walk
to my warm dorm

Courtney Burress (2)

an unwashed t-shirt
just to smell him
one last time

Darien M. Sloat (11)

I could totally relate to this haiku. I had a boyfriend who wore a very distinct cologne that tended to stick to everything he embraced, and I loved being able to smell him on my own clothes after a hug. I missed that smell when he broke up with me. But there was one day when I was walking around the mall that I swear I smelled that cologne, and I looked around, terrified I would run into him. I didn't, and now that I think about it, I haven’t encountered that smell again. I get the sentiment in this haiku, but I could see it going the way of fueling one's anger against that person. There are some colognes I absolutely cannot stand, and if one's sensory memory put that smell with a bad memory, then that smell would certainly remind you of those times. When I think of that cologne smell I don't think of being happy with him anymore. Alex

basement shower
trying to shave

stubble on his face
scratches on her lips
love in the moonlight

Emily D'Ambrose

This woke up my inner romantic; I loved the image I got from this haiku. I could feel the rough sandpaper-esque texture on my face and lips. I imagined a cool breeze blowing by, chilling me as I stand in the bright blue wash of moonlight with my lover by my side. I could feel the tight grip of his embrace as he holds me in the night, making me feel safe and loved. It fills me up with a mushy, warm, romantic feeling; I wish Valentine's Day would get here sooner! Jordan

Though the details of his face are shadowed by the darkness, the moonlight above makes out the faint outline of his nose and lips. Smiling in contentment at the warm fluttering feeling in the pit of my stomach I breathe in the summer air. Sticky with the scent of pond scum and wild grass, I can almost taste the earth on my tongue. Dreamily, I lean in closer to the figure in front of me, grazing my plush lips against his cheek. Tiny pricks of unshaven hair tickle my lips and I giggle at the delightful sensation. Craning my neck to fit into the juncture between his head and shoulders, I allow my body to be encased by his large warm form. Therese

brand new backpack
shiny shoes
a new beginning

Heidi A. Zapp

This haiku makes me think of the first day of high school. It takes you back to the feeling that middle school is over and there's this big new school full of opportunity waiting for you. There's a feeling you get when you have all new school supplies that you're whole life is so put together. Randi

his blue eyes
lock onto mine—
a chill rushes over

Jordan Caulk (4)

This one really touched me in a personal way. My ex-boyfriend (who broke up with me the night before senior homecoming) had the most beautiful blue eyes, and I can totally relate to getting goosebumps when his gaze fell onto me. So then, it was a chill of affection. But now, when the rare occasion happens that I see him, that chill is no longer one of affection but one of lingering feelings of hurt and pain. I love that this haiku can go both ways like that, as I have experienced both of those sides. Alex

winter coat
I open the door
and catch my breath

Heidi A. Zapp

I feel like I walk out into freezing temperatures and my coat is doing nothing. I feel like there is an awful wind that just hits meet at the door. I can feel the freezing wind. I can feel the dread of having to walk to class that is on the other side of campus and how cold I’ll be in the ten minute walk. I can remember times I count the minutes down to how long it will be until I am warm again. I feel miserable and I walk faster, I feel stiff cause the cold tightens my muscles and I long to be back inside. Kenneth

Sunday morning
her white hair gone
in a snowy gust

Therese O'Shaughnessy (4)

outdoor hot tub
snowflakes melting
before reaching the water

Charlie Decker

I’m seeing a trend in my draw to certain haiku with strong imagery. This haiku is among the haiku in kukai 1 with my favorite imagery. The steam rising in a wavy path from the 102 degree water of the hot tub intercepts the picture perfect snowflake, as it slowly descends from the sky, and melts it to join the rest of the hot tub water. It reminds me of song lyrics from a Coldplay song: “like a river to a raindrop, I lost a friend.” It can also be interpreted as a metaphor for forced conformity, but that’s a stretch. Matt

leaving . . .
she will always be
my home

Kelsey Meredith (6)

I am brought back to each memory of leaving home for college as a result of this haiku. Whether I am driving back with a friend or alone, I always feel the pangs of leaving my mother yet another time. It seems that ages must pass before I can see her and hug her again. No matter how many times I come home, spend time with my family, and have to leave again, the act of saying goodbye remains as difficult and heart-wrenching as ever. Just as the ellipses after “leaving” elicits a pause, I always wish to prolong my time with my mother, and stop time if I could – at least until I was ready to go again. Perhaps it is because when I am with my mom, I feel looked after. I feel as if I can set aside my cares for a little while. I sense her love at school when we talk on the phone, and when I receive cards and letters from her. She is synonymous with home for me; I cannot imagine feeling safe and comfortable without her around. I know that at the end of all things, I have my house to go back to, and she will be there to make it a home. Sarah

icicles hang above
the river stopped

Kenneth Albin (3)

blues brothers
anything but blue
move to start new

a white blanket
tucks me in
for a long winter nap

Randi Mehrmann

This haiku was a favorite of mine, because it describes something that is very near and dear to my heart, naps. Calling it a long winter nap makes me feel very relaxed because when I think of crawling into a warm bed on a cold winter's day I feel very lethargic and I can feel my eyelids get very heavy. I also really like how it says tucks me in, because it gives off an even more warm feeling, since not only do the blankets hold in the heat more when you are tucked in but also it made me think of when a parent tucks a child in and the love that it shows. Overall, this haiku makes me desire to just crawl into bed and experience it for myself. Jon

This haiku exudes a feeling of comfort and snugness, a favorite sensation of mine for cold winter evenings. I know that in many of my responses, I mention children or a child's experience, but a sizeable number of haikus we've read resound strongly with memories I've had as a younger person. For this one, it is as if a child is burrowing under beloved old quilts and blankets just before bedtime, looking out the window to watch snow fall gently. The ground is already coated in glinting white, reflecting the light of the moon and streetlamps above. It seems as if the whole earth will go into a period of hibernation throughout the winter season. As the snow falls, the child is aware of a sleepy warmth and assurance that seems to settle on her own being. This time of year is meant for bundling up against the cold, enjoying rosy firelight in a bright house, drinking cocoa while reading books by the Christmas tree, and lounging around with family, enjoying the heightened togetherness that comes from needing to stay indoors. Sarah

This haiku was a favorite of mine, because it describes something that is very near and dear to my heart, naps. Calling it a long winter nap makes me feel very relaxed because when I think of crawling into a warm bed on a cold winter’s day I feel very lethargic and I can feel my eyelids get very heavy. I also really like how it says tucks me in, because it gives off an even more warm feeling, since not only do the blankets hold in the heat more when you are tucked in but also it made me think of when a parent tucks a child in and the love that it shows. Overall, this haiku makes me desire to just crawl into bed and experience it for myself. Jon

six blankets high
two pairs of socks
still cold

first snow without glasses
she lifts her head
tasting a snowflake

Alex Buchko (6)

As someone who wears glasses from time to time, I understand why the first snow without glasses would be such a great experience! Snowflakes getting on your glasses is just a pain, and even though you can taste snowflakes with glasses on, being blinded while doing so and then having to clean the glasses off takes away from the moment. I wish I knew what age this girl or woman is with this first snow without glasses. I imagine a younger girl, perhaps preteen ages, getting ready to go to bed, so she has her glasses and pajamas on, and then she looks out the window and sees the snow falling. She rushes to put on her contacts, whips her snow boots on, and runs outside without a coat. Lifting her head and tasting the snowflake and the freedom of being able to enjoy the snow is a memorable experience for her. Courtney

This haiku, whose author I cannot remember, created an incredibly vivid image in my mind. While I wear glasses, I was undiagnosed until the eighth grade, so I cannot relate to this premier moment of awe. However, I think most can relate to the idea of being unencumbered by something for the first time in a while. I'm very jealous of this haiku'sconcise wording. I tend to use extra and unnecessary words, but this one has the perfect amount. Darien

stiff fingers fighting
snowballs flying

lips, purple cold
softly say
warm words

Randi Mehmann (9)

old adage
cold hands warm heart
sometimes I wonder

under the blanket
their cold toes find
each other

Heidi A. Zapp (14)

I love this haiku. It makes me think of two lovers cuddling. It gives me a feeling of comfort. It is such a sweet gesture. I can just picture to lovers coming home from ice skating. They are freezing cold, so they decide to curl up under a blanket together. When their cold toes find each other, they are filled with warmth and comfort. Amanda

This haiku made me smile so much! Again, my hopeless romantic side slipped out and ate this haiku up like a bowl of ice cream. I just imagined myself snuggling under a warm blanket with my loved one while I play footsy with them to warm up my ever-cold feet. It warms my heart and fills me up with that mushy romantic feeling that I love and hate all at the same time. It makes me want to search for my Valentine right now so I can guarantee I’ll have one then. Jordan

escape the cold
by getting into the car
car is cold

Kenneth Albin (5)

I really enjoyed the simplistic humor in this haiku. Everyone knows the feeling of running to their car to get out of the cold, knowing well that the car will be equally as cold. Yet, every time we all do the same thing. We hurry to the car, expecting to escape the cold, but it's never what we are hoping for. It's like disappoint that your not expecting, yet the disappointment appears time and time again. Matt

Something about the language in this haiku makes it impossible not to smile after reading it. The last line’s omission of the word “the” seems to create via sound the author’s frustrated and defeated wave of emotion. This haiku is so relatable and allows one to connect with every sense. I can feel the cold biting into my skin. I can feel the urgency of the author as they rush to the car in hopes of freeing themselves from the icy air. It’s a very physical haiku that I can’t help but enjoy. Darien

warm shower
turns icy
mom's doing dishes

Kelsey Meredith

I especially enjoyed this specific haiku from the Kukai because of the immediate connection that I had with it. In my house, we have a notorious rule that no one is allowed to run the dishwasher, do laundry, or flush the toilet while someone is showering. However, there is always that accidental moment where one of us forgets and you can hear that yelp as the shower either turns frigid or boiling. I also enjoyed the simplicity of the last line, for it was so blatant and straightforward that I can imagine the slightly sarcastic and blunt voice of the writer as I read the haiku. Hearing that voice made my connection to the haiku that much stronger and significant. Molly

Coming home weary from a strenuous day of baby-sitting, you smile at a plate of warm food sitting patiently for you on the counter. Noticing the unsavory stickiness that has clung to your skin like a wet suit, you opt for a shower before indulging in your mother's home cooking. What I enjoy most about this haiku is the clear contrast between "warm" and "icy" in the shower. As one's body temperature gets used to the warm water spewing from the showerhead massaging their scalp, it comes as quite a shock when that same soothing water turns chilly. While frigid water assaults the back of your scalp, the unsettling feeling of cold moisture dripping down your spine sends a shiver throughout your body. A feeling of annoyance overcomes your previously relaxed mood, as a dishwasher has foiled your pleasant alone time. Therese

it reads 103 degrees
then why am I
so cold?

the Christmas party
guests open the door
bare shoulders and goosebumps

he has a best friend

Randy Brooks (6)

© 2013, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.