Haiku Kukai 4 - home places & noticing absence

Roundtable Haiku • Millikin University, Fall 2010

girl hunched over
reading by the light
of the setting sun

The last line of this haiku is a nice, subtle twist at the end. In the first two lines, I think of a girl hiding under the covers of her bed, and reading by flashlight, only to find in the last line it's about the sunlight. It reminds me of times of reading in the car. I lost my book light years ago, so when the sun starts to go down, I'm leaning over, trying to get as much reading in as I can before it gets too dark to see. Aubrie

no radio
me and mom finally

Susie Wirthlin (3)

history exam essay
blinking cursor
on the screen

the porch swing
still rocks
with out you.

Hollie Logsdon (8)

I read this almost as having “so there” attitude. It’s like the speaker’s saying “My life goes on without you. So there.” Conversely, I also see someone saddened by how life goes on after losing a loved one. I like that it can be read two extraordinarily different ways. The rhythm suits this, and the wording is perfect. Ky

welcome committee
squealing black lab
brings me his favorite toy

Nora Kocher (4)

to hear your voice:
busy signal.

to be a kid again
pleading mom to buy
the pumpkin sippy cup

Jade Anderson (4)

four-year old
fills in my zen painting
with every color

getting back to school
only to list
the things I forgot

Becky Smith (5)

she hands him
the pills

Jordan Pennington (7)

temper tantrum
staining the car seat
my mascara

This haiku actually makes me think of prom. I get the situation of someone who is at prom and is in a fight with her date. She is crying so that is why her mascara is running and staining the car seat. Garrett

drunken proposal
gas station attendant
rings up the rose

Jade Anderson (15)

pink blankie
covers my stomach
where her arm should be

she drags along
the old warty pumpkin
whining to her mother

Jordan Pennington (3)

father daughter date
we both hum along
in different keys

early Saturday morning
no feet patter
on our wood floors

a tear forms,
she knows
I'm leaving again

Tara Goheen (13)

This haiku perfectly encompassed the feelings of guilt that I always struggle with when leaving home. My little sister always acts nonchalant and sometimes even refuses to say goodbye on the days that I leave. I feel so bad and terrible for coming home and leaving again, almost as if I’m teasing her. She has this understanding that is so incredible for a child, the mornings I leave she can tell that I won’t be there for tomorrow. There are no tantrums, just a resigned acceptance. Susie

quiet drive
I fiddle
with the radio

Hollie Logsdon (6)

family lunch
grandmother calmly announces
I’m not marriage material

Susie Wirthlin (9)

I really loved this haiku because it showcases the not so “warm and fuzzy” quirks of family life. This reminds me of some of the women in my family. They are frank and catty sometimes, but rarely ever “straight up” mean. It’s annoying and sometimes hurtful, but I get the feeling it won’t ever change. I think its an inherent part of family life to have to just accept people like this for they way that they are and try not to take too much offense to blatantly offensive statements. I think everyone has a person like this in their family and can relate to this haiku.

grandma fusses
over my messy locks,
her brand of love

playground swing
getting ready to push but
she’s doing it!

Susie Wirthlin (3)

an old friend
asks about my mother

Ky Cochran (6)

blank mind
full of thoughts,

only one side
of the king-sized bed is unmade:
dad’s side

black mirror
my mother's face
ripples away

Garrett Derman (6)

This was my favorite haiku in the kukai! The word “black” hints of darkness, which leads me to believe that the mother’s reflection is a haunting image. I can relate to this to a certain degree. Everyone tells me how much I resemble my mother both physically and emotionally. My mom is my best friend, but I have inherited some of her negative characteristics. I’m totally vicious when I fight with my boyfriend—verbally, I mean—I am very stubborn, jealous, and sensitive. I absolutely hate that about myself, and when I see that side of me, I usually am ashamed and wish it didn’t come so naturally to me. This haiku reminds me of that feeling. Jade

gently-placed corpse
anxious cat eyes
await my approval

Jade Anderson (5)

I think my bed
looks smaller

overhearing at night
the private conversations
of trains

Nora Kocher (9)

once loved,
twice bitten,
a scarf for the neck

Tara Goheen (5)

the starlit lake
drowning out
my worries

Tyler Lamensky (3)

he holds her back...
the only love
she counted on

Tara Goheen (5)

This stirred up a feeling of pure disappointment, among other similar feelings. The mystery of the situation is left completely open. Is he a jerk for not letting her do what she wants in the situation, or are does she just need to do some life learning and realize that many people provide love to count on? That’s what I think when I see it as a boyfriend girlfriend situation, but if it was her father or something, then it’s more of a shocking moment to be taken aback. I think the use of the word “counted” being past tense surely goes towards betrayal and heartbreak. The use of the dots in the first line is also clever and effective, holding back my attention just as she is being held back. Colton

family dinner
my nephew turns to ask
who are you?

Susie Wirthlin (8)

my family dinner table
one plate short
this Fall

smoking with the family
at the kitchen table
where I grew up

wet hair
the smell of baked apples
from the kitchen

Aubrie Cox (4)


crimson leaves fall,
he packs away
the unused crib

Garrett & Tyler & Sam (11)

This haiku is so incredibly emotional! I love the fact that they included nature beautifully. It adds so much more to the emotional factor. Since the crib is unused, we can assume that the baby died and I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a father to have to put away everything they had prepared for the new baby. Also, since “he” is putting away the crib, we can assume that the mother would be too upset to even go near the room. However, we cannot assume that the father would be just as upset. Becky

This haiku was very interesting. It evoked so much emotion within me, I loved that it could make me feel something so deeply in just a fewwords. I could see the red leaves on the ground (the color of blood0 and Ipictured a woman who had a miscarriage and was still grieving. I pictured alittle bit of time going by, and he husband finally decided they needed to takedown the crib in order to get over their grief. I liked that it said “he” tookdown the crib, because I pictured the woman still being grieving too much to doit. Hollie

This is just a really solid fall/change/free-to-interpret haiku. The reader gets to choose if "he" is packing the crib because there was a miscarriage, or a divorce, or his wife died, or if someone else, such as an overbearing grandparent bought them a crib they didn't need because they already had one. The point is, something is changing. Jordan

every sunday
she sees her son
through glass

Nora Kocher (7)

after the doctor visit
she gives her favorite ring
to me

Ky Cochran (10)

this is my favorite haikubecause it has sentimental meaning to me. My grandmother gave me her weddingring when I left to give to my future wife. She told me that, since she can’tget a hold of my plder sister, I should have it. I usually wear it on a chainaround my neck, but I keep it tucked into my shirt (because the ring wasn’tcheap). One of the reasons she had given it to me was because she had had aheart attack a few months before, and the doctor said another one was prettymuch impossible for her to avoid. Joseph

I really like this because it holds a lot of emotion for me. About four days before my grandma passed away a few years ago, my whole family was at her house and she had a hospital bed set up in her living room. Everyone knew she was about to die... the doctors told her she only had a few days left. My two aunts and my sister and I were standing around her bed talking to her... and reminiscing on old times. I remember her telling us what me and my sister could have, then she took off both her rings and gave one to each aunt. When I'm with my aunts to this day, they are always fiddling with the rings on their finger my grandma gave them. Tara

the same moon
above our heads

Jade Anderson (6)

on the road—
where I'll be
when I'm thirty

I really enjoyed this haiku because I made an immediate connection to *On the Road*, by Jack Kerouac. It seems to present being on the road as a facet of freedom, and I can relate to that in a big way. When I got my license it was the greatest gain of freedom I have ever experienced; being on the road
is just a sideshow to actually being able to go wherever you want. There’s also a certain calming aspect to driving; I go on drives just to relieve stress, which I’m sure a lot of people do. The wind blowing in and out, the uniformity of the road seems in sharp contrast to the problems that exist off of the road. It also seems kind of a sad haiku, because it seems that this person will not truly reach that freedom or resolution of infinite peace until they are thirty years old. It really is a great haiku that can be interpreted in many different ways at the same time. Alex

rowdy dinner conversation
the head of our family
is silent

© 2010, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.