Haibun Attempts 1 Favorites
Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2016
The text read, “I'm here.” I was confused because he wasn't coming down to see me; he had to work today. “What?” I texted back. “Come out front” he replies. I throw on my shoes and walk out of my dorm, and there he is, standing there with roses and a big goofy smile on his face. I run into his arms, giggling the whole way. He picks me up and spins me around. He sets me gently on the ground and opens the door to the backseat of his car and pulls out a duffle bag. He's staying the night! I couldn't believe it, everything we talked about finally coming true. I walk him up to my room, talking the entire way. He walks into my room and just smiles. He tells me it's so me and that he loves the pictures of us. I just smile and say that I do too. He sets his bag down then we head out on an adventure. We don't know what we're going to do yet, but who cares, because we're together and that's more than enough.
Corrin Littlefield (4)
So many years, now together again. I look at him and I can tell his feelings haven't changed. I know we shouldn't be here together at this cabin. Just an afternoon of conversation. Catching up with an old friend. That's all it is. I keep telling myself. We stroll out to the peir as the clouds vanish for good and the warm late afternoon sun glares down. Sitting on the dock we talk. Past and present. Time has changed him and I slowly notice how. It gets silent for a moment. I can tell we are both thinking of the last summer we spent here together. Breath-taking blue eyes look up at me. I can already tell what he is going to say. Then, there it is. The challenge. The thing that old me would have done. The fun, crazy, no worries me. I dare you, he says. I'm older now and know better, but why not? I came to this cabin looking for something and maybe this is it, maybe I was trying to find the old me. I stand and without saying a word I shimmy out of my summer dress and dive into the warm lake water, feeling it surround me. I realize I should have let go much sooner. He cannonballs in after me and I know this is why I came here, to be young again.
shattering the silence
I love this haibun because there are so many dimensions to it. It gives the reader enough puzzle pieces to get an idea of what the picture looks like, but leaves just enough open to interpretation and many unanswered questions. Like many of these haibun, this one follows the train of thought of the narrator during a specific period of time, but this one is unique because it keeps the reader in the present moment while still exploring the main character’s past as well as their personal growth. There is so much detail packed into this little paragraph and it is done in a way that sounds like a natural thinking process. Natalie
I just want to feel the grass and dirt between my toes. I long to feel the rushing river slipping through my fingers. This tower has held me and my tangles between its walls for too long. If only mother would come to her senses that I can be independent and I deserve freedom. I want to experience the world and not just what is outside my window. I want friendship with another person and to hear the laughter of children I read so often about. My life should not be like this. I have so much more to offer the world than my magic hair. But . . . I'll stay here for the rest of my life. If only I could see the floating lanterns just once. I feel like they were meant for me.
Fountain of Youth
Life on the beach is wonderful. You can wake up to the sound of the waves and smell the fresh air. Nothing quite like the sound of the seagulls flying by in search for something to eat. But the icy cold water is unescapable and the wind is harsh as well. Fish in the water swimming around, coming up occasionally gasping for air. Nothing but open beach and the vast body of water motionless. Walking down the feeling of the water hits me, I shiver but slowly I adjust to the temperature and dive in. No better feeling than soaking your body in the ocean, healing you of your pains.
icy cold sand
Rain sprinkles my skin, a chef salting her soup. My eyes are met with an explosion of pink. When the magnolia trees bloom, so does my heart. Invisible magnets among the spray of luminous petals drag my eyes up and around, helplessly engrossed. My feet sacredly kiss the ground spread with a petal mandala. My fingers long to climb her, to grab a branch and shake the water down in a wild baptism. I smile wider than I have in a long time. My toes new roots keep me grounded under Mama Magnolia's umbrella as the storm rages on outside.
Dollars and Sense
Nobody deserves this treatment. Nobody. They may say our generation is soft, weak, ill-minded, yet it is not that leads. We always put the blame on ourselves. It is because the ones before us, and the ones that guide us cannot handle their responsibility, which results in their suffering being brought about us. The problem with our generation is that money controls us, it puts us down. A simple piece of paper ruins lives.
Joseph Pegura (4)
Hiding the hairy goat legs is hard when you cannot find shoes that look normal. Not being able to shop at average stores is time consuming and tough on me. Most people exclude the goat boy from their social groups and events because of the way his hooves click-clack on the school's tile floors. He just wants to fit in with his peers but the peers are not willing to let him in. If anyone befriends the goat boy, their social life will go down the toilet, and they cannot have that. So the goat boy stamps home every day to find shelter in a nice book and imagine the adventures that his real friends cannot have with him.
Jacob Hamilton (12) - Tied for 2nd
She didn’t often wear tight shirts unless it was a tank top. The other kids would laugh and tug at the hood of her staple: baggy sweatshirts. They didn’t understand why she liked to go barefoot, or felt a desperate need to dance under the storm clouds when it rained. When she got home at the end of the day, she would always go straight to her room and change into the lightest of shirts she could find. The burgeoning wings she was hiding would expand, stretching to fill the room. The fairy girl would sigh with relief, sip some elderberry tea and go take a bath in the stream behind her house. No one ever came over for a play date, but she didn’t really mind. The deer were becoming more expressive, and she knew the squirrels by name. One day, she told herself, I’ll show the kids at school what I can do.
A Deep Breath
I'm perched on the edge of the Northern Star, my overall cuffs hiding shoes about to fall into the abyss below. Breathing is strange up here. My eyes catch a glimpse of Orion's Belt that has gone missing in Andromeda's sock drawer. The stars whirl around me in perfectly synchronized chaos. My chilled hand reaches into a worn denim pocket lined with corduroy bliss. Catching my oxygen supply kit on a fingertip, I drag it out and lift it to my lips for a breath. Wonder eclipses my pupils as the Milky Way swirls into and out of spirals of specks and eternities.
blinded by starlight
I've never been a water person. The unknown scares me so not being able to see your feet is one of the most terrifying things I can think of. When asking to spend the day on a lake, at first I was apprehensive, but I knew I couldn't turn down a free lake house on a beautiful summer day. Stepping into the cool lake water was one of the most calming things I had ever experienced. Never being to a lake before, I entered with caution into each new activity I was faced with. Kayaking, fishing, going out on the boat, and finally jumping into the water. In the middle of the lake, the boat finally came to a stop and all of my friends jumped into the water. I was left, alone, on the boat to contemplate my fear. After being pulled into the water I knew I had to conquer my fear. Even though I am still afraid to go into dark bodies of water, I know that I can do anything if I set my mind to it, or am forced to.
I wish you could talk to me. You look at me with those big brown eyes and I can't help but wonder what is going on inside of your head. There are so many things I want to express to you, I just do not have the right words to express them. I smile at you and say hi in that way that I know makes you happy, and you respond as you always do. If I could live my entire life ensuring you got whatever you wanted, I would, but I know that's not possible, since I can barely even tell what you want now. You don't really move unless it's for your own benefit, but I love you anyway. I know one day you will leave me, and I will never see you again, and that saddens me more than anything else. But when that day comes, I will be able to say I loved you as much as I possibly could, and made sure your short life was filled with love and joy.
Lauren Montesano (12) - tied for 2nd
When I was first reading this haibun, I could not help but to think of myself in this situation. I have been there with girls in my life, and these types of scenarios are just the worst to be in. We the ones we love cannot express their love or we are loving them more than they ever can love us in return. Literally every time that I have gotten into a relationship these words always roam my mind late at night when I finally have some time alone to think and reflect on the things that I have done with people that are in my past. The entire haibun made it sound like there was someone that was having to face the fact that their lover may be dying or the fact that their love is not strong anymore. However, this haiku makes this whole feeling a bit brighter because it is about dogs. See, I love dogs with a passion so any haiku that involves dogs just gets me really excited. And also, I did not even notice the subtle details about the dog in the haibun, such as “ saying hello in the way that makes you happy”. That is such a human and dog interaction. I think the tie in with the dog was just completely brilliant. Joe
I will never forget the feeling. The feeling I had when the world stopped turning and my heart stopped beating. Sitting in silence writing another damn paper and then came the text. Imagine it. One faint little ring of a battery-operated device, and your world changes. First there is a sharp breath sucking in the air around me. Next, there is an immediate grasp of the mouth. Next, the salty tears swell my eyeballs. Next, they stream down my face and take the black mascara with them. Next, I see my hand shaking. Next, I blow my nose and then ... then ... it is silent. The swelling ceased, the hands unclenched, and the realization hit. Hard.
Katherine Viviano (2)
I loved this hanibun because of the emotion it showed through actions instead of feelings. Never once does she talk about how she felt or why she was crying. The story is so open for interpretation that it allows the reader to think of their own life experiences. We feel for the person in the story even though we do not know what is running through their brain. But that might be why it is not talked about. When traumatic experiences occur, there is nothing going through a person's mind. Everything is frozen in time and there is nothing but silence.
I really liked The Swell because of the vagueness of the haibun. It never says what the text was about so that the reader can make their own decision, whether it be about a relationship, death, or whatever makes the reader emotional. Another reason I liked this haibun is because nearly everyone has had a moment in time where they have become emotional because of a text they received. Finally, the haibun was very enjoyable to read because it felt like it kept getting faster and faster and more panicked, just as the character in the haibun would. The haiku really made the haibun better because it encompassed both the typing of the paper and the heart beating, and the word choice of “pounds” makes the haiku almost be felt for the reader. Michael
A cold Sunday morning in his house left him thinking alone. It was a bitter divorce. The middle-aged husband misses her every day. She brought him everything good in his life from his kids to his house. She gave him purpose in his life. Now he has nothing. She took the kids from him, took the house, his money, and his purpose in life. He struggles to sleep at night because he cannot get her out of his mind. It was just one drunken mistake at a bar that he cannot seem to forgive himself for. He loves her more than anyone else in this world. As a way to try and get over her and live life, he packed all of her pictures away. He just wanted to sleep, but still saw nothing but her every time he closed his eyes. The reality of the situation left him broken.
pictures of her
I really enjoyed the Haibun entitled Morning Light. The majority of the prose was describing how desolate the ex-husband’s life is, but they are not just descriptors. The way the sentences are structured and run together almost seems as if it is an internal monologue of the father. The writing begins as if being narrated by a third party, but eventually, you step into the mind of the man. Each sentence packs a punch, each more bruising that the other, because it is a slow, painful lament to himself. Referring to himself as he almost dehumanizes the father, as if he feels that even that shred of humanity has been taken from him in the divorce. These techniques helped the writing to feel very personal and relatable, though I am neither a divorcee nor a middle-aged man. Cori
The desert is a place for journeys. On the hottest days, the nights turn to freezing temperatures. Of all of the dangers, there are those that still pass on foot. The man trails the thief with nothing more than a revolver and water skin slapping his thighs. The redundancy of dune after dune should not dull the senses. With a week's lead, signs of the thief are minimal and far between. Piles of ash and smoke in the distance. These faint, nearly imperceptible beacons, are deceptively far, but invigorate a sense of hurry. The man rests, then continues. Becoming the law of a land that has passed on.
last of water
by Noah Klumpe
It runs and leaps, dodging obstacles and nearly missing fatal crashes. Running between two rocks, jumping over logs and pebbles, it effortlessly glides around everything in its path. Stuck for a moment, then it leaps into the air as if on wings, landing as a gymnast. Spinning and climbing, then falling, falling, falling . . . it stops, pausing to catch its breath . . . At the end, it's cradled in a bed of warm sand; the soft ground offers a resting place.
Taryn Pepping (4)
A Fish Tale
My grandpa brought a bucket to sit on, and my dad wandered to the other side of the farmer's pond. We each had our own rods, but shared the tackle and bait. I typically ran to the opposite side of the pond, but that also meant I tragically walked back to the worm bucket empty handed. This day, it was hot and windy, so I stayed about ten feet closer to the bucket than I would have normally. I was young and much smaller (if you can believe that), and at one point I thought my hook, like it normally happened, was caught on a log or rock at the bottom of the pond. I pulled and tugged and did as much as I could without breaking the line, and my dad saw me struggling. He sighed, put away his rod, and came to the rescue. But, he noticed that my line was moving, so it wasn't stuck on a rock . . . unless the rock had legs. I continued to reel it in, and to my surprise a snapping turtle appeared in the shallow end—it was stuck on my hook. My grandpa and dad started freaking out, trying to help me reel in the beast that was stuck on my line. And then the line snapped.
a single ripple
Vacations have always been a big part of what my family did for fun. Camping and exploring the wilderness was something I have been into ever since I was a very young runt. One place I had always wanted to visit was Yellowstone National Park. The summer after fifth grade our destination was in fact Yellowstone. There was so much to see at the park. From the wildlife to the natural hot springs, there was always something amazing to look at. When we first got there one plan we had was to see Old Faithful. We had planned to do it the last day we were there. After waiting the whole week and being so excited my family and my grandparents made the trek to Old Faithful. The geyser wasn't scheduled to go off anytime soon so we went inside the building to get some lunch. After looking around we had to settle on the sub par cafeteria food that cost an arm and a leg. After this we went outside to wait for Old Faithful. During the wait my younger brother was being very agitating and everyone was getting grumpy. After a long 2 hours of waiting Old Faithfully finally burst and it was the most unsatisfying experience of my life.
My personal favorite haibun is “That’s It?” This is my personal favorite, because it describes every single vacation my parents pitch as “really cool.” For most of them, the only parts that were fun was making fun of the trip. My favorite example of this was going to see Moab State Park. This literally was the most bland trip I can think of. We drove for hours and we looked at few big rocks in the ground. Granted, this wasn’t the only thing we did on the trip, but we sacrificed a whole day to walk out in the desert to look at a bunch of rocks. My family has had many of those silly trips. While they are supposed to be huge landmarks and a place where every family goes, my family isn’t every family. My family is sarcastic and cynical. My family prefers more action packed and adventurous trips. The best trip that incorporated a state park for my family was a trip to Yosemite state park, where we climbed the six mile trail up to the peak of the mountain. While we made our sarcastic comments and complained about our feet, nothing could describe that feeling at the top. For the first time in the trip, we could see the large scenic view of the system of mountains connecting to Yosemite. At the top, there were three pools of water and the third was the largest. Connecting immediately to the pool is where the waterfall started. In the third pool, you could float there and stare to where the water started flowing and disappear. That was probably the most exhilarating view I have seen in my life. Even though, right then and there, I could have been sarcastic, the shear amazingness of that view was enough to make me enjoy the sight. So I like to think that even though the haibun implies it was disappointing, I’m sure that the person hasn’t forgotten what the water shooting out of the ground looked like. Noah
Watching the cloud of breath in the crisp morning air, my boots clomp along in dad's footsteps, trying my best to be quiet. My body confused, I sweat from my heavy parka while the winter air bites at my fingertips. Finally, we come upon the deer stand, a ghostly sight among the dark forest. Dad straps me into my harness, and it hugs me tightly as I climb high up into the sky. Fingers burning on the steel, I grasp one rung after another until I can finally swing myself into the seat. We sit above the world for what seems like hours. The sun slowly creeping into the sky, and bringing the world back to life. Numb from the cold and anticipation, dad taps my knee, and gestures to the north pasture. The doe steps out into the sunlight, and I lift my gun.
Whitney Gray (2)
I liked this hiabun because I used to go hunting with my dad in the woods. I liked that the details that the author used were accurate in which it depicted what would be going on if you were going out for a hunt with your dad. I liked that you could identify different emotions that were going on and that you could tell that the kid may have felt a little timid but ready for the challenge up ahead. It is basically a father and son moment where the father is teaching the son how to shot a dove. Not only is the haibun constructed very well but also the haiku itself. The ways the haiku is writing allows the reader to easily imagine what is going on. More specifically you can easily imagine the setting and the scenery that is taking place in the hiabun. For me that is really what grabbed my attention is the ability for me to immediately imagine what's going on in the haiku and the haibun itself. The title itself is very unique in that it suggests that what I am reading doesn't need to be described in words, but feelings and emotion etc. that is important because sometimes the best haiku are not written down but in the head of the author. Also for me I always liked watching the sun rise in the morning. Emilio
Gravity of Water
Standing above the water as it glistens in the light of the moon. Seeing the bottom and the reflection the street light brings. Ready to dive head first into the world below, anxious to breach the rim of the water. Diving head first into crystal clear radiance flashing beneath. The lights flash and flicker and the fish dance around. Bubbles fly and emerge to the ceiling. Waves, music to my ears.
Words blur together as the professor's drone slowly fades into white noise. The minute hand crawls in circles and the dull ticking melts into static monotone. The professor smears chalk equations into light grey blobs while students pack books and wander out of the hall. She gathers loose papers and trudges across campus. Grey clouds cover the sky and dull the colors of the new spring blossoms. She drops her bag in a corner and tosses the papers into a growing pile under her bed. Shoved into a desk drawer are six white pills in a plastic bag. She takes two and stares at the beige imprints in the ceiling.
Light dances across the neon bedspread. She sits up and sees the purples and turquoises of her painting swim across the walls. Colors explode into golden sunlight droplets that land in her hair. A smile spreads across her face as sky blue fairies spring up from the carpet and twirl through the air. One motions towards her guitar before they disappear. The room catches her when she stands, and time stops for a moment. She dusts the butterflies off the case and throws open her bedroom door. She takes careful steps through the hallway. The ocean beneath her feet moves with her until she finds herself outside.
Stars float in the deep indigo sky, suspended in the air by tiny beams of light. She sits down underneath a tree with silver leaves and begins to play the melodies she sees in the stars. She can feel the earth gently turning underneath her as she plays. She lays down in the grass and watches a whale swim through the northern lights. Inhaling slowly, she gazes into the starry night and wishes for the world to stay this beautiful.
early morning stroll . . .
Natalie Smith (4)
I really liked Whale’s Eye. I really liked the imagery in this haibun. Everything is so colorful and fun. It makes it easier to see in your head. You kind of feel like you’re there with her. I like the unknown of the white pills. You don’t know if it’s something she needs to make it through her day or if it’s for recreational use. If it’s something she needs, maybe she has depression and the pills help bring the color back into her life. She able to imagine things and see the world in a happier way. If it’s for recreational use, everything she is seeing is because she’s on drugs. It’s sad to think that without the drugs, the world is grey and boring to her. Life has no meaning and everything is dull and lifeless. It’s cool to think that everyone has an outlet and that is it possible to see the world in this way. It’s possible to see fairies and a whale in the sky. It seems so scary but so beautiful at the same time. I like how in the haiku she is the Weird Girl. That is simply what she is. No one asks questions or tries to get to know her because she is too out of the ordinary. But she’s weird because the world is full of sadness for her. She needs more to be able to be happy with the world and her life. I like how broad the haiku is because it gives you a chance to look down on her, instead of feeling like you’re with her. Corrin
Has it really been 5 years already? Only 60 months since I too roamed these halls? Only 260 weeks since I last ran the mile? Only 1825 days since I was so naive? Though I barely recognize the place, I am overwhelmed with memories at each corner as I head to the old gym. In that corner, I lost the 8th period tennis championships. I doubt Sarah Jenkins even forgave me. Now, she disregards the fault lines and occupies her toddlers. With two in the stroller and one at her heels, it all feels surreal. Wendy the homecoming queen leaves for another smoke break. My old friends are on their honeymoon. Even the nameless stoners have moved on. I too have moved on, but it isn't the same. I still feel juvenile not having started my life yet. My real life doesn't exist outside my unwanted resumes; the only settling down I've done is moving back in with my parents. I was supposed to be the most likely to succeed, but I've got thousands of dollars in student debt and struggle to find an entry level job in my field. As the only college graduate in the room, I feel left behind my peers, as though I still am a naive high schooler. My life revolves around minimum wage jobs, grade point averages, and borrowing mom's car. Looking around— my life has yet to begin.
snow melts in my shoe
Cori Grzenia (16) - 1st Place
I like this haibun because it makes me think about my life. It makes me think of how I will end up after college. I have friends all around me that are getting married and ready to start lives. Even my brother will be out of college next year, and I feel like our relationship as brothers will change drastically once he is self-dependent and living in the real world. Right now I feel like I am struggling and the work is hard, but I believe that in the future all of my hard work will be worth it and I will be able to look back on all of the times that I doubted my choices to go to college and know that it was all worth it. Jacob
The haibun I enjoyed the most was Reunion. I found the story to be a great representation of what seeing people from high school is like. Every time I go home I happen to run into a person I used to talk to before I came to college. While I haven't attended a reunion yet I could imagine that the experience would be similar to how the haibun describes it. I enjoy the word choice of the story and how the narrator looks down on himself/herself. It seems like no matter what when people see people they used to associate with they always compare their two lives critically. The narrator may be happy on a day to day basis but seeing someone with a "better" life causes the narrator to look at his life in a negative manner. The haiku that goes along with the story is an exceptionally well one. It adds to the story's plot but doesn't directly relate. Tyler
I really liked this haiku because it made me think of my own future. In a couple years when I head off to medical school, I will probably return home for a reunion of some kind and see everyone that has already begun their lives while I am still in school. I thought that the references to the classmates were very clever and interesting. For example, the girl that lost the tennis championship probably does not even remember it. It shows how those things we once thought were such a huge deal really don’t matter after all. And the part about the Homecoming queen was really funny. It made me think of those people who thought they ran the school that are now in places they never would have thought they were, like taking frequent smoke breaks. Whitney
© 2016, Randy Brooks Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.