Haiku Extended Memory 1

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2015

an old song
in our second language
starry night

Lyles, THTR, 110

Again, I selected a Haiku with stars in it, but this time stars aren't what drew me to it initially. I always joke and tell my family that I am bi-lingual, which my Spanish teacher told me last year (I have no confidence with speaking it) and I like to listen to Spanish music, but really I just like the beat and rhythm. This music reminded me of a trip I took to the Dominican, and I was reminded of everything I saw, smelt, and heard. I recalled seeing young boys who I had just played baseball against eating out of trashcans. It was a very powerful experience for me at a young age, and I was able to think about how I should be more thankful for the things that really matter in life, like enjoying a starry night.

As I mentioned, and is well known, many Dominicans live in poverty and appreciate seemingly everything in their lives. I visited the country during the same time I turned 16 years old, and seeing this country couldn't have come at a better time for me as a person. Sixteen is the age of entitlement, but it wasn't for me after that experience playing baseball there. Flying in, I saw a goat on a baseball field (yes, that really happens) and I saw houses made from tree branches. I had never seen anything like it, and I thought that things like that were fabricated for the movies.

Of course, we played baseball against the Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Venezuelans, and they were all very, very good teams. It made me think to myself that these kids love the game so much because it's all some of them have. It is literally their only possible route to "get off the island" as they say. But, most importantly, they play the game because they love it. In the United States, our national pastime has been tarnished by steroids, excessive training on the youth, and outrageous ticket prices, but in Latin America, you can't put a value on ho much those kids love to play.

Adam Peters

the cat walks
up piano keys

Lyles,THTR, 66

When I first read this haiku, the first part that stuck out to me was thinking about the time of midnight. I thought of how quiet it would be and how dark it is. You could hear the sound of a mouse squeak like they say in all of the Christmas stories. I also think about how when I get up in the middle of the night and have to walk around to get somewhere to get a drink of water. Then, moving on to the next part, I have three cats in my house and they all seem to play right when my family is about to go to bed. It is crazy how they can sleep all day and then when you are ready to go to sleep, they seem to become wide awake and never want to leave you alone. I also imagine from reading this haiku, that my cats would be walking across a piano and waking all of my family up during the middle of the night. My family would think someone was in the house when all it would be was one of our cats happening to get curious and walk alone the piano keys. This is why this haiku stood out to me the most. It is because I have animals at my house that do the exact same things that the author is trying to relate to the reader in this haiku. I am sure I am not the only one who has experienced their cats waking them up in the middle of the night. This haiku gives me a mysterious feel right from the first word of midnight. It gives me this feeling because weird things happen at night. It also gives off a scary tone because you do not know what to expect from the rest of the haiku.

I chose this haiku because it brought back the memory of me when I was younger and it happened during the middle of the night. I was around five years old and we had just picked up our first kitten named Bows. She was a white, fluffy kitten who loved to rub on everything she could touch. She had a weird meow that was unusual sound for a cat to make. She was a cute kitten and I loved holding her in my arms. The first time I remember smelling her, she smelled like oatmeal because we had just given her a bath that we used oatmeal shampoo on her. She was a tiny little cat from my grandfather's farm that I could not resist and had to convince my mom to take her home with us and it eventually worked. So, back to the middle of the night, I was up and needed to use the restroom. I had just gotten out of bed when I heard this strange noise coming from somewhere I could not distinguish at first because I still had not completely gained consciousness from waking up. So, after I used the restroom I heard this same strange noise again. I was scared out of my mine because I thought a person could have been in the house and was robbing us. I ran into my mom and dad's room and woke both of them up, which is never a good thing to do on a work night. After they woke up, we followed the strange noise out into the living room where we found Bows underneath a blanket and she could not get out of it by herself so we helped her get out and went back to bed. I felt completely embarrassed and ashamed for thinking that a robber was in our home when it was just our new kitten playing in the living room under the blanket and was stuck. The haiku above immediately made me think back to that memory with how it was dark and there was a cat walking around that eventually woke my entire family up.

dark room
not knowing what’s going on
in my head

crazy cat
scared out of its mind
happy ending

quiet house
waking the parents
every child’s detective

Alex Cardascio

Eve's Haiku from Alex's memory:

night time waking
yet unaware

still at the edge
of its shadow—
the frog

Lyles, THTR, 100

This haiku reminds me of being a child. When I was younger, I had quite the fascination with frogs and toads. It brings me back to the feelings I would get when I saw a frog from across the pond I would spent hours at every day after school and during the summer. It also reminds me of coming home with very dirty hands and my mother yelling at me to wash them.

There was one time specifically I think of with this haiku. We lived in a very large neighborhood in the subarbs of Chicago, and everyday after school I would go search under the gutter for the frogs that would stay under it to keep cool. My friend and I would catch as many as we possibly could and take care of them, often opening up a "Froggy day care" for all the stray ones we could get our hands on.

I remember the smell of the dirt, digging my hands into the wet mud and not caring about anything else in the world besides getting a bigger frog than my friends. If I think about that now, I get sick to my stomach. I have not touched a frog in years and I doubt I ever will unless I am forced to by some strange situation. However, this makes me think of the carelessness and lighthearted fun I had when I was younger compared to now.

spring day
dirty hands
full hearts

skipping rocks
        across the pond

across the pond
a tadpole swims
         through the algae

Austyn Krueger

Francesca's response haiku:

dirt stained skin
a croak escapes from
the heartbeat in my hands

Randy Brooks' haiku:

after school girls
catching muddy frogs
for froggy day care

muddy hands
the little girl lets
her prince go

before he grinds the stump
he counts the rings

Lyles, THTR, 92

My neighbors across the street used to have a fairly big tree in their front yard. My sister and I would climb the tree along with the kids from the house across the street. Being up in the tree was one of our spots to hang out after school. One night during a bad storm, the tornado sirens started going off, so my family went in the basement to sleep. We woke up when we heard a noise that sounded like an explosion. Sirens were no longer going off, so my dad went up to see what happened while everyone else stayed in the basement. He called down and told us to come upstairs and look outside. When I got upstairs, my dad ushered me to the window and pointed to the tree from across the street. Most of the tree was sitting in the middle of the street. There were branches all over the street and the yard and the tree looked like it split in half. My dad then told me that it was time for bed and that I could look at the tree more in the morning.

The next day, I watched as the tree was being removed from the street. They put the tree through a chipper and cut the remaining portion of the tree down to the stump, but they left the stump in the ground. I went across the street to look at the stump and I remember taking time with my neighbor to just count the number of rings on the tree. I don't remember how many rings the tree had, but we were counting for quite some time, so the tree was pretty old. Eventually, the stump was removed and sent through the chipper. There still is not a tree where the old one used to be.

3 new haikus from memory:

sirens howling
through the night
family asleep downstairs

out the window
branches flying
in the storm

neighbor's treehouse—
I go outside
and count the rings

Brandon Januska

nip of fall...
a rabbit's tooth marks
in magnolia leaves

Lyles 90

This haiku reminds me of a hunt that I had on my birthday, December 30th, of 2013.

In the spring of 2013, my grandpa passed away from leukemia. He was my favorite grandparent, and one that I spent a lot of my summers with. His passing was a very difficult time for my family and especially myself. One of the things I inherited from him was a Savage .22/410 over under. It's a perfect gun for hunting rabbits and squirrels right here in central Illinois.

It's always been a tradition for me to go hunting on my birthday, but 2013 was a unique year. It was a freezing cold day. I think the high was 5 degrees. It was the kind of cold that makes you feel paralyzed. I walked into the woods with my grandpas gun. The feeling of the cold air on my face had never felt better. My nose was numb, but I felt great. The sun was just coming up, shining bright reflecting off the freshly fallen snow. I felt great, because although my grandpa was gone, this part of him and our relationship could live forever. I could immediately imagine doing this same hunt for years to come.

This first line of the haiku puts me in the woods, but nip is a tad bit of an understatement. The rabbits were my primary game animal. They have amazing cuts of meat that are highly sought after by hunters such as myself. There's something satisfying about the process of hunting and eating meat. The crack of the rifle, the heat of the animal's body, and the connection shared between the hunter and the hunted.

My grandpa wasn't there, but I could feel his presence. His rifle shot true as could be. I had never before shot my limit of 4 rabbits or 5 squirrels before, and I shot my limit of both that day. The sounds of the woods consume me. Humans don't hunt with our ears anymore, but we should. The subtle sounds of Mother Nature tells a hunter where to find our quarry. I had never heard Mother Nature so clearly. I knew exactly what she was telling me. I saw and read animal sign better than I ever had before. I felt connected. It was the most memorable day of hunting I've ever had, and I can contribute that to my late grandfather. This haiku hits that memory home.

numbing cold
crack of the rifle
grandpa’s gun

pondering life
facing death

into the woods
with grandpa’s gun
glistening snow

tracks in the snow
mine and his
I’m not alone

rabbits in the vest
gun over the shoulder
he’d be proud

Eli Cook

Haiku written by Kyler about my passage:

squirrels scamper
on fallen snow
crimson sunset

level ground
over leaves
Grandmother's quilt

Peggy Lyles, THTR, 117

I like how this poem paints a sweet picture in the readers head. I picture children having a picnic on a nice fall day. Saying "over leaves" makes me believe it is the fall. As I read the haiku I can practically feel the nice fall breeze, it must have been a nice fall day to be outside having lunch, but since it is still fall there is probably a bit of nip in the air. "Grandmother's" being capitalized to me shows respect. Even though they are using the quilt as a picnic blanket and putting it on the ground, they still respect their grandma. It could be that the quilt used to belong to their grandma and they now use it as a picnic blanket or it could be that their grandma made it for them specifically to be a picnic blanket. The blanket wasn't just any old blanket, they specifically remembered it was grandma's and thought of her when using it.

For me, this haiku bring up memories because we did a lot of picnics in the yard growing up. Spring, summer, or fall, we had a lot of front yard picnics. In my yard we have a huge hill in the front yard, but we would carefully carry our lunch down the hill to the level ground on the bottom and try to find the perfect picnic place. It was always hard to find a level spot, with lots of divots and holes in the yard. I remember sitting on the ground trying to find a comfortable, level spot, and always struggling to find somewhere to sit a drink without it falling over.
I distinctly remember one of our picnics when we had my mom's classic potato soup she likes to make and peanut butter sandwiches. I can practically taste the warm creamy taste of potato soup just thinking about it. I remember that my sister had these serving trays, she liked to practice being a waitress, and we used those serving trays to carry our food down the hill.

Our mom always made us use old comforters as our picnic blankets. One we used was my mom's old comforter. It was sewn together like a quilt with pictures of cats and birdhouses and a picket fence; it was a scene like a front yard. I remember it had a green boarder and I believe the fence was purple. It was very colorful. Other times we used a red, white, and blue comforter with flags and stars and stripes. I remember that one had holes in it were the seams were falling apart. I really loved our front yard picnics and can't wait until its nice out so I can take my nieces and nephews to share the memory and tradition.

hot potato soup
from the inside out

first nice day
to be caged in

big family tradition
crying out
to be passed on

Eve Greenwell

Haiku by Alex from Eve's memory:

happy memories
of mom’s potato soup
in my tummy

in the storm's eye
Peggy Lyles

To Hear the Rain, 92

I used to live in North Carolina when I was younger. Growing up, my siblings and I loved hurricane season. Living on the beach was never more fun than when the house was getting pelted with sand and you could see the winds knocking over trees. The eye was always our favorite part. I remember one year, we were expected to get a really bad one. Hurricane felix maybe? I don't remember the name but anyways, my dad and brother got out of there as fast as they could. They went and stayed with my Abuela in Orlando; my sister, my mom and myself all stayed, all long with our white German Shepard. My sister and I sat on the back porch laughing and watching as the wind/rain/sand would slip through the screen porch and hit us. My mom would sit with the old battery radio, all electricity was already out, and we would listen to the storm. It was one of my favorite things to do. This storm I remember specifically. It was projected to be one of the worst we've had in 25 years, except it wasn't even close. This year I think I was around 10 or 11, and my sister was around 15.

We had been waiting all night for the eye. The sky would suddenly go calm, almost an eerie calm as you waited for the other side to hit. The sky would also turn this pretty dark pink color, with dark blue radiating through it. It looked like a painter just took pink, blue, purple, and red and just swirled it around on his canvas. I saw stars when I looked up, which was extremely odd to me. I imagined it would be the exact opposite. I kind of thought the storm would displace the stars, but in the calm they shined brighter than I think they ever had before. Looking back I guess that makes sense, it's not like everyone in the city was using electricity the way they usually did. The craziest part is you don't really see clouds either, you see just sky, I don't remember seeing the moon either, just the light shining through in the pink areas.

Our mom always made us stay inside throughout the entire thing but this year we got lucky. Our dog was terrified of thunderstorms, so you can only imagine how he felt during a hurricane. Our dad would always take him out to go to the bathroom during the eye, well our dad wasn't there. We begged our mom to let us go, you see it was all we ever really wanted to do. She caved and for the first time ever we were allowed to go into our backyard during the eye. The calmness described is like no other. Usually when you go outside you see some kind of movement, a leaf, an animal, a cloud, but here the stillness is surreal. It's as if everything in existence is gone. You feel as if you're the only one there.

Tundra had finally calmed down enough to go outside, and with him it was like the world had come alive again. We took our dog out that day, we let him go to the bathroom, and we played fetch in the eye of what was supposed to be one of the maddest hurricanes in North Carolina's history. It's a hard feeling to describe but it is one of my happiest memories from my childhood, to be able to catch that feeling in a haiku might be impossible, but this one reminded me of it in just six words.

life emerges
a brief moment
of complete stillness

in the midst of chaos
unseen beauty

abandoned city
pink light illuminates
a dark sky

Francesca Rios

Austyn's about Francesca’s Memoir

dark stormy skies
change to beautiful

autumn sea
a little girl's love
of small brown shells

Lyles, THTR, 112

When I read this one, I immediately thought back to the days when I lived in Washington by Seattle. In the late summer and early fall, I used to go to the beach with my dog and family, walk along the shore, and collect sea shells. It was one of my most fond memories of not only my time in Washington, but of my dog, who I recently lost over this past weekend.

This haiku really reminds me of all the great times I had when my dad was in the military, and it really reminded me of all the places I have been to and all the different adventures I had in each location. For example, this haiku especially triggered my memories of Seattle. I remember it being rainy almost every single day, and the days that weren't rainy were the ones I definitely spent outside.

I also remember living in Seattle being the place I found my dog. We found him abandoned in a pet cemetery over 15 years ago. We had to beg my parents to let him stay and for us to be allowed to keep him. From that day on, he was my dog for 16 years, and he was my best friend and the most loyal, well-behaved dog that anyone could ever ask for. He was a corgi terrier mix, and he was full of energy and spunk. My little sister doesn't really remember that day, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was especially hard to lose him because some of my earliest and fondest memories included him in it.

Reading this haiku really brought me out of sitting around feeling sorry for myself for losing my best friend and really helped me to remember and contemplate all the good memories I had with my dog. It also helped me remember all of the fun times I had there. In school when I was in Washington, I was the first person in my kindergarten class to learn how to read, and they even invited my dad into story time to hear his 5 year old daughter read to the entire class. As well, it also reminded me of the woods and nature, because Seattle and the outlying parts of the city included some of the most beautiful forests and woods that I have ever seen. They were so cool and damp, and they made me happy to play in and around. It also reminded me of how often we hiked, since those woods and forests were the most fun to hike through.

rustling in the bushes
alone and afraid
found a new home

crashing on the beach
the salty air
kisses my forehead

first day of class
five years old—
full of knowledge

Katelyn Rumph

wind and rain
the hand I reach for
in the dark

Lyles, THTR, 96

This haiku particularly struck me from the very first line. Thoughts of wind and rain take me back to a scary week a few years back.

When I was in 6th grade, my town had a terrible storm. The day was August 28, and it was only my third day of being in school. Change was all around us, as we were just getting used to adjusting to a new school, walking to different classrooms, and taking the bus. This day seemed like a normal school day, but it traumatized me as well as my classmates for a long time. We got on the school bus to ride home, but it was raining heavy and the winds were violent. Tree branches were falling everywhere in the road. Finally, our bus driver pulled over and got on the radio, where she was instructed to take us to the nearest tornado shelter.

We were bused to a school where we had to wait out the storm. I remember being so scared and so nervous, because I had never experienced anything like this before. This haiku expresses in fewest words possible how I felt during those moments, crouched down next to my friend in the hallway of a grade school, grasping her hand. We could hear the wind whirl and whip against the building, which was a scary sound and too loud for our liking. I remember reaching out to whoever was on the other side of me, lending them my other hand to squeeze too. We all were just terrified.

When the storm eventually had calmed, we got up and got to call our parents to come get us. My neighbor's dad came and got the both of us, so I was relieved to be home so quickly. When I got home, we saw even more damage than we could have guessed. The power was out, telephone poles were down, and there was even a hole through our neighbor's garage. I went inside to wait for my parents to be home from work and to tell me what was going on. When all of my family members were home safe and sound, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. In that moment, I was happy just to be safe, alive, and together. We sat around inside that night, eating takeout dinner around candlelight at the table and playing card games in the dim light.

This haiku also takes me to this exact moment, where we were sitting in the silence of the dark and I grabbed for my sister's hand. She was scared, but she is older and was supposed to be tough. I was trying to be strong for her, so I let her hug me and squeeze me until she felt better. This haiku floods back so many of memories of that day and the days that followed without power, without electricity, and with much cleanup on the streets to do. Although this haiku could have many different interpretations, when I read it I immediately thought of this horrific event. I liked this haiku because although it gives off a tone of urgency and worry, at the same time it gives off a calm, soothing vibe. The two moods balance each other out, which is how I felt exactly that night. I was nervous, but I was happy to have my sister by my side, holding my hand through the night to calm my fears.

It is a sort of beautiful thing, if you think about it. I'm content that this haiku was able to take me back to that place and take many other readers back to their memories of similar situations, because it gave me a sort of remembrance and appreciation for the strength I gained and the knowledge I acquired through that traumatizing incident. It gave me good closure for this point in my life.

dim candlelight
giggles fill the sound of silence

mosquitos nipping
branches lay fallen

fingers clenched
the boy grabs
a flashlight

Kendall Kott

Katelyn's haiku on Kendall's story:

the violent air
dances around the street
seek shelter now

graveside rain…
the old hymn fading
into earth scent

Lyle, THTR, 58

This haiku triggers a very emotional memory for me.

In May of 2010 my grandfather, who I was very close to passed away. His diabetes finally overwhelmed his kidneys and they began to shutdown rather quickly. It was very unexpected and took me quite off guard. My grandfather was Superman to me and to think that he was gone so suddenly really tore me down. That being said, I was in eighth grade and was mature enough to understand that this is the way life is sometimes. My grandfather was buried in the small cemetery that lines the road as you drive into town on the highway.

On the day of his funeral it was very sunny and warm out. This was a pleasant change from the normal rainy, gloomy days that come with early May. It wasn't until we arrived at the gravesite for the burial when it became rainy. Out of nowhere the sky turned gray and suddenly heavy drops began to fall. We were not prepared because of how nice it had been earlier that morning; therefore we were all soaked within minutes.

One of the most prominent moments that stand out from that day is the reading of my grandfather's favorite Psalm. Although it isn't a hymn, when I read the second line of this haiku I can hear the final line of Psalm 23 slowly fade out as the funeral begins to come to a close. I remember feeling the rain on my skin and the smell of the nearby pine tree accompanied by the smell of freshly dug earth. This haiku was extremely personal for me to read and triggered perhaps the most memories and emotions that one has yet brought forth to me since beginning this class.

rain soaked flowers
of many colors
sun drops

walking through the valley
the verses
fall silent

the pines sway
in the warm wind
tragic peace

Kyler Fear

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

Peggy Lyles, THTR, 45

This is a beautiful poem that I already wrote about last time. This caught my eye last time because it spiked a memory. This reminded me of this summer when we had a good amount of rainy nights. The sound of rain calms me and helps me fall asleep, I use a rain noise generator on my phone to help me fall asleep sometime. This summer I didn't need to use my generator. Since it was during the summertime, I wasn't spending every day with my boyfriend. We missed each other, so often we would text each other at night. This poem brings me back to a night where I turned off my lights, got into bed, texted my boyfriend, listen to the rain, and slowly feel asleep. It was raining where he lives too so we chatted about the rain and exchanged loving words. I can feel my sheets on my skin, my cheeks warming, and the warmth of my heating blanket. I can hear the rain and the rustling of the sheets. I can see my dark room and my bright phone screen. I can imagine the love I felt at that moment.

New Haiku Based on my Memory

texts under blankets
the rain
lulls me to sleep

soft rain
even alone
I can feel you

heating blanket
instead of you

Lexy Bieber

Nic haiku based off of Lexy's

summer rain
we turn out the lights
to exchange loving words

Wednesday night texts
the warmth
from my heating blanket

into the night
we talk of human cloning

Peggy Lyles, To Hear; 67

I like this haiku because it captures the feeling of what I would consider the ideal social night. I have had many of these talks with friends and they are always the most memorable and enjoyable. By what I mean by this night, I think of a group of friends sitting around a table, talking about nerdy controversies that spark much deliberation. I especially like how this haiku mentions cloning, because I can remember staying up well past midnight with two of my friends from my high school lunch group discussing the moral issues with cloning along with the actual process of cloning. We talked about how cloning is nothing like the movie and how the person would be their own person but just looks like the person they were cloned from. We also talked about how clones aren't born as the age of the person, but rather have to be born form a actual person's womb. Of course we didn't talk all night about clones, but we would go on to talk about teleportation. We talked about how teleportation isn't teleportation, but rather a murderous devious that kills you then rapidly makes a clone that would think it's you. But would he have a soul?

Although this haiku makes me think about my high school lunch group, it mostly makes me think of Sanders Family Christmas. I have a large family with 20 cousins with myself being only 3 months away from being the youngest. Therefore, I can remember the awe of listening to the long, wine filled discussions between the older cousins. I remember the talk about school, politics, and even about how songwriters make money on the radio. They would talk and I would listen as the snowflakes fell.

too young
to understand
Christmas dinner

fall break
discussing Gershwin
we talk the night away

spending week nights
laughing about nothing

Nic Sanders

Lexy's based on Nic Sander's memory:

adults talk
just out of reach

talk on cloning
and politics
PB&J packed by mom

cold wind lifts one corner
of the pall

Lyles, THTR, 94

This haiku triggered a memory of my Nonie's funeral. She passed away when I was in 7th grade. I found out she had passed when my father came into my room and told me after school. I remember I was doing my math homework on the floor because my desk was always a wreck. My father said, "Nicole, your Nonie passed away this morning." I immediately started balling my eyes out. That was the first death that I had ever truly experienced in my family. I was fairly close with my grandmother because she lived only about 45 minutes away from us, so I was devastated. My brother and I sang at her funeral. I still remember the psalm we sang: "Shepherd me, O God." The refrain read, "Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my needs, from death into life." I was tearing up as I sang it because I knew my Nonie was watching, and she was there with my brother and me. My uncle gave a great eulogy, and my other cousins read some scripture. At the end of the funeral, each grandchild put an item that represented Nonie in the casket. I saw her face for the last time, and she looked beautiful. My dad was one of the pallbearers, and they carried her outside to the funeral car. Then, everyone went in their cars, and we drove to the cemetery, which wasn't that far away since the town consisted of 400 people. It was a colder, gray day. We all sang some songs and then watched her go down into the ground. Then, we said our goodbyes and left. I will forever remember that day.
This haiku also reminds me of my great-grandmother's funeral, even though it wasn't on a cold day. It was very sunny, and I was clueless because I was five years old. However, I do remember when we were walking to the place where Old Nonie was going to be buried. All of a sudden, hundreds of red ladybugs flew above our heads. From then on, we knew that every time we saw red ladybugs, we would know that Old Nonie was with us.

revise one of my memory haiku

innocence walks
to the grave
red ladybugs

3 new haiku from my memory:

Nonie’s gone
with her mom now
red ladybugs

grey cold
I can’t see past
my ignorance

drowning in sorrow
I strain to sing
Shepherd me, O God

Nicole Koch

Brandon's haiku from Nicole's memory:

sunny day
red lady bugs
fly over grandmother's grave


© 2015, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.