by Randy Brooks
Favorite Haiku Selected by Students
Kara Bohannan's Favorites
I really enjoyed your haiku in School's
Out (Foster City, CA: Press Here, 2000)! What a treat
at the end of the semester. I would like to take this opportunity
to briefly elaborate on why I have chosen the five favorites
that I have, starting with "she couldnt forgive"
she couldnt forgive
what she couldnt forgive
grave sunkin in
This haiku was especially powerful to me, and is one which
I found myself thinking about long after I first read it.
That to me, is the sign of a great poem, one that touches
the reader. Initially, I wondered if the person passed away
because they couldnt forgive herself of something that
had happened, and she killed herself. Next, I began thinking
about it from the aspect that this was a person who cared
for the person that died, and now it was too late for her
to tell the person how she felt, and the things that filled
her with regret. Now she was left with that. I do believe
that we are harder on ourselves than anyone else, and it is
sometimes harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive another.
Here, she will never know.
the brides mouth
stuffed with cake . . . the groom
answers for her
I loved the wedding haiku on page 39 because, number one,
I am the romantic who adores weddings, but I also just really
enjoyed the moment here. You have a beautiful bride. You know
that she is beautiful, because all brides are beautiful, and
then her groom stuffs her mouth with cake.
Its just a fun moment. And I also loved that the groom
spoke for her. Obviously, if her mouth is filled with cake,
but also have you noticed that when two people are in love
with each other and are really close that they tend to finish
each others sentences
show me yous.
barn roof creaks
Next we have "show me yours" on page 23. This was
adorable because it is just typical of childhood innocence.
That lingering curiosity filled with timid apprehension. The
haiku painted the picture just as it would be if you were
watching from a crack in the barn.
rain at the window
the newborns fingers
catch on my beard
Following this, is "rain at the window" on page
44 . This haiku is a dream of mine. I cant wait until
the day when I have my own family and I can peek into a room
and see the man I love with our child. So small in his large
hands. But the room is filled with silence and contentment
and peace. Reading this haiku, I could hear the rain spattering
against the window. And I could see this babies tiny hand
reaching with curiosity to touch your face. It was a beautiful
moment for the reader, as I am certain it was for you.
new grave . . .
a graduation tassel
hangs from the stone
Lastly, we have "new grave" on page 77. This one
is particularly special to me, in a sad way. Unfortunately
in the last four years, I have had eight friends pass away,
ones who have been very special parts of my life. And
though I am certain that they have gone on to dance in heaven,
it is still a painful reminder to go to their graves. When
I read this haiku, I immediately thought back to my Joe, who
died before our high school graduation. He was too young,
and that haiku is just a reminder of that. The fact is that
life ends for too many, too short.
I have truly enjoyed your haiku. And it has been a pleasure
to be a part of your course! Thank you.
comes in from the garage
I love this one because it is such a vivid,
whimsical image. I grew up with cats, and know well how funny
they look when they have things stuck in their whiskers. Also,
it is a concrete symbol of the cats carefree curiousity
as it was poking about in the dust and cobwebs of the garage
a few moments before. The image is endearing and well-presented
in my opinion. It brings up many fond memories for me of my
cats, and also of times I too played in the dust as a child,
just like the cat in the haiku.
high as my arms
can lift him . . .
the moon still out of reach
This haiku makes me just want to coo, "awww."
The image of the father lifting his child to help him/her
reach the moon is so tender and intimate. It may also been
seen as more deeply metaphoric. In this case, it is just as,
or even more beautiful. While it is unusual to use metaphore
in haiku, I feel it works well here. The childs connection
to nature in the form orf his/her reaching for the moon is
also apparent and worthy of contemplation.
deep in the woods. . .
sunbeams filter down
I find this image simply enchanting! The innocence,
purity and excitement of a first kiss set against the backdrop
of the serene woodland shade is a wonderful fit. Having grown
up as a city girl, I never would have thought to place this
action in such a setting, but am delighted to discover it
so, and how well it seem to fit. The filtered sunbeams seem
representative of peeking emotions beginningto stir with that
act, or some such wonderful idea. The utter peacefulness and
beauty of the language suit the piece well.
Best of Brooks:
he opens his cupped palm . . .
a small tadpole with
a little wiggle left
This haiku very perfectly reflects the innocence,
joy, curiosity and playfulness of youth. A small tadpole isnt
the easiest thing to catch, it probably took the boy a little
while to do. Then, the image of the tadpole only having a
little wiggle left makes me think that the boy was going around
showing it to a lot of people or maybe carried it a long way
to show it to someone. He was probably proud of catching the
tadpole, and thought that it was amazing. He wanted to share
the experience with others, most likely unaware that the tadpole
needed water to survive.
two lines in the water:
not a word between
father and son
This haiku, along with dirt farmer's wife,
show Brooks proficiency with using silence in his haiku.
This haiku is a very quiet poem, but also very intimate. It
brings to mind a very vivid picture, one I have experienced
myself. And while nothing is being said, there is an impression
that a far deeper conversation and expression is taking place
than can be conveyed in words.
more summer rain . . .
an origami stork appears
on her fingertips
This is a haiku about something that most of
us can relate to: summer rain. The second image is very well
expressed. Someone is making origami to pass the time inside.
She is so good at it, and the origami work is so intricate
that it is almost as if the stork has been formed by some
shimmer over the riverbank
I like this haiku because it is so peaceful. The image reminds
me of being on vacation in Colorado. This haiku represents
being able to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings that
are either unfamiliar, or just being able to take time to
notice and appreciate the things we miss when life is so busy.
I can picture the aspen leaves, with their silvery undersides,
fluttering in the wind. The word shimmer works very well in
the poem and adds to the visual element of the haiku. I picture
the hummingbird over the river, near the aspen trees, itís
wings mirroring the flapping of the leaves. The clear river
below is moving fast, but the hummingbird, because of its
quick wings, is paradoxically suspended in the air.