Haiku Kukai 02 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2023


the field 
a giggle
ripples through

Leah Flint

This poem reminds me of my frequent trips to Rock Springs during the summer and after school. The fields out there consisted of tall grasses, and you couldn’t see anyone who went in. I can imagine myself in the grass, hiding from my mom, and laughing about it. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


long way to go
walks to class 
easier with you

Hannah Smith (7)

I had to read this one a couple of times to grasp my own meaning of this haiku. I have a boyfriend, friends, and family cheering me on from the sidelines while I’m at college. I couldn’t be here without them and this haiku forces me to remember that. This haiku makes me envision myself walking to class, with friends I made here at Millikin. But on the walk, I get a text from a friend, a family member, or my boyfriend, and I realize that I don’t just have the people at Millikin. Having friends here at Millikin and a support system at home makes this journey easier with them supporting me. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

This haiku made me incredibly happy because it made me think of having a bad day, or a boring class, but then in the hallways or on the side walks seeing your best friends and immediately your mood brightens. It makes my day feel lighter and it always brings a smile to my face. Cami Jones, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because it reminds me of my best friend. I will dread walking anywhere, regardless of how far, but you tell me that I can bring my best friend with me, and I could walk for miles. I can imagine this as walking to the MAC labs late at night to finish all the homework that we put off at the last minute. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


cookies or brownies 
I guess we could 
just have both

Grace Brixa (7)

This is my FAVORITE type of haiku! It’s just a silly little moment that we’ve decided is worthy of becoming poetry. These are the moments that make our lives worth living! Why just have a cookie when you could have a brownie too? This is such a simple decision, yet it can make all the difference when you decide to treat yourself. I love desserts and I’ll always go back for seconds, so its nice to see this as a serendipitous moment in life rather than a gluttonous action. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


walk in the park 
up one hill 
down the other

Hannah Smith (4)


a full moon 
it was supposed to be bigger

Grace Brixa (4)

This is clearly in reference to the blue supermoon that happened recently, where it was hyped up by people and the media but in reality the moon was just slightly bigger and brighter, leading to disappointment for many. More metaphorically, this speaks to the expectations many people have about various experiences and emotions and how often things don't live up to the hype. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023


alone; chatter.
the water on rocks
drowns it out

Kaia Garbacz

When I look at this haiku it really makes me think! The first sentence opposes itself because there is chatter, but this person is apparently alone. This person may be contemplating something and talking to themself. Perhaps it’s something deeply personal, and they need a moment alone, so they go out to their favorite spot by their house - a nice, quiet, river. The sound of the water over the rocks, maybe a waterfall, is so loud that if there were other people around, this individual's voice couldn’t be heard by others. Maybe the deeper meaning in this is that no one hears this person’s problems, or maybe this person doesn’t want to think about their problems, and they go to the river to drown out the sound of their own thoughts. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


teardrops and rain


where are you going?
I want to ask
a dragonfly flits past me


paint my face
hide the half-moons
under my eyes

Bella Birdsley (8)

I am brought back to nights in high school when I used to be in the drama club and would be getting ready for a show. I can see myself sitting in front of a vanity and mirror set in our green room, beating my face with foundation and concealer two shades too dark and light respectively so that my face wouldn't appear washed out under the bright stage lights. Those days and nights were so exhausting, and tech week was always the worst because I would just be so tired at the end of it all, but it would be so worth it for the moment when opening night came and we were able to perform for a live audience. I'd still be tired, and wiping away my makeup would reveal these horrible purple bags indicative of how little sleep I would be getting, but it was only a matter of using some yellow colour corrector before putting on my base, and then doing it all over again. It was electric, and this haiku simply brought back the light in those memories. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023

As I stated in class, this was a very familiar haiku for me in all aspects of my life. In the mornings,I typically have to wake up and put concealer on to cover up my eye bags from the [previous day. As I am a student athlete, I am constantly on the move and have a very hectic schedule. There are many days when I’m getting little to no sleep as we balance practice and games,  with homework and exams. Studying is typically put on the backburner which can make for very late nights. Thus, I related this haiku to a part of my daily routine. Mary Grace Gallagher, Fall 2023


drink my weight
in water
sweat it off later


undress the day
talk shit
with my friends

Bella Birdsley (10)

The intimacy of “undress” envelopes the emotions behind “talk shit with my friends.” The reader can feel the giggling, seriousness, and whispering of that gesture all from the phrase “undress the day.” It feels comforting, yet exciting all at once. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023

This is a common occurrence in my daily life. I think almost every night I am home (at Millikin), my roommate and I debrief on what happened that day. Usually, the debrief of the day turns into a debrief of a time in our lives. I appreciate the talks I have with my friends. So this haiku, although it can seem malicious (i.e. the “talking shit”), makes my heart swell remembering the memories. I also love the word choice of “undress,” it makes the act of talking shit sound a lot more intimate than it is. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

I always need to unwind after a long week at work and at school, and just talking shit is a great way for me to unwind. Sean House, Fall 202

This haiku was mine so I knew exactly where I was when I wrote it but it's so universal it could be anywhere. I get taken to tri-delta’s living room where my freshman year roommates splay out on the couches and talk about things, we’ve heard that we think are significant, things we’ve been feeling, things we want and wish for, upcoming extracurriculars, and more. It’s an environment of laughter and anger and any other vulnerability that arises. It is a place where we are completely unrestricted in what we're saying and its judgement free and we can take off the social mask of the day we put on. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

I really love how this haiku ties together the idea of undressing after a long day and unpacking the day with your friends. I know for me, one of the first things I do when I get home from a long day is put on my pajamas and talk with my friends about everything that happened. This haiku beautifully brings this to life for me. I feel like both actions are so synonymous to winding down for the evening and I love the connection between them through this haiku. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023

I really enjoy this haiku because it is just so relatable. The idea of undressing the day is such good imagery. It embodies the feeling you get just chatting with your friends at the end of the day. I love talking shit. Especially with Bella. It’s probably not the best thing I do, but making that experience into a haiku was funny and describes such a vivid experience that I had to put it as one of my favorites. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


 a girl collects cards
of superheroes


little me would be so
      we cut it off

Sky Choe (11)

It's always deep to reconnect to how your younger self would see you, because its from a less affected view. I know my younger self wouldn’t be disappointed in me but he would feel sad. He would hold my hand and squeeze it but not know why he should, just that it felt right. I miss him sometimes, he knew how to unapologetically smile. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because it reminds me of how often I will look back at situations I have been in and have a very strong opinion on the choices I have made. For me, it is much easier to make a levelheaded decision when I am not experiencing the situation in the moment. Looking back or forward on the decisions I may make rarely lines up with what happens. The use of the words “little me” makes the haiku less serious as well and almost childlike. It is lighthearted but also can have a deeper meaning the more I think about it. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023

This haiku has a double meaning for so many people. Sky was referring to cutting their hair off, but I know many people in class, including me, thought it was about cutting someone out of your life. I love how this haiku shows how poetry can appeal to so many different ideas for people. This haiku also uses the word “little” instead of “young” and I love the specific word choice. It implies they are talking to their past self who was literally smaller, not just younger. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023

Like many in class, I imagined this haiku as the older version of myself looking back upon a past event,and concluding that this was the right decision. In my life, I tend to struggle letting go of past relationships as I am a die-hard hopeless romantic. It physically hurts my heart when a relationship is broken off as I feel very deeply and care a lot about people in general. This makes it ten times worse when a partner relationship ends. But, this haiku has without doubt happened any time a relationship  is broken off. As I’ve shared, I was raised Catholic and believe that God has a plan. Because of this, I firmly believe he takes and brings people into your life when needed whether it may be a lesson, or your forever end. With my past relationship, He allowed me to see what true love is and what it isn’t. This particular boy gave me a fabulous grasp of what it isn’t and I will forever thank myself for trusting my gut to leave in that moment as I have never once regretted it nor looked back. This allowed me to feel for the author and connect my emotions to their piece. The last part I imagine is when she states “little me.” In every instance, you always think about what others think and feel about your choice during a break up. For me, this was especially important as both my family and friends were recognizing that this was not the correct relationship for me, and further led me to the correct decision. However, I believe the little me line came into play when I finally felt at peace after the breakup. I felt as if the broken part of myself had finally let go of the baggage, and for the first time, not only did I see God’s plan, but I saw how grateful I was for choosing me. Mary Grace Gallagher, Fall 2023


darkness falls
they await
the inevitable

Anna Quick (6)

This haiku reminds me of the feeling of waiting to fall asleep, and wanting to fall asleep, after a long day and how hard it sometimes feels to try and sleep, but of course as soon as you want to go to sleep, it becomes impossible and you just lay in bed staring up at the ceiling as the clock ticks and the darkness keeps shifting and you know you've been laying there for a long time but you just can't fall asleep. There is a hopeless energy that consumes you, because you know sleeplessness is now inevitable, and it frustrates you further as your eyes grow heavier and the sting of exhaustion bites at the very fabric of your being but you just. Can't. Fall. Asleep. There is a certain kind of madness that lingers within you when you realise you can't just go to bed, and maybe you think you have insomnia but this isn't regular enough to be called that, and the stress of how early you have to be up is eating at you but you can't do anything productive in the meantime because you're tired. It's, all around, a very nerve-wracking experience. And then when you do finally fall asleep, it feels only like blinking before your alarm blares and you wake up to start all over again. The dread is heavy, and I love this haiku for it. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023



fire crackles
smoke rises
hide-and-seek with stars

Anna Quick

This haiku takes me on a camping trip, where there's a huge bonfire and no light pollution so the stars can be seen clearly. The "hide-and-seek" with the stars could refer to looking for constellations. I struggle with this so my eyes get lost easily and finding the specific important stars becomes near impossible. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023


the cicadas sing
a never-ending buzzing
beneath my skin


leaf on the ground
alone again


little ducks in a row
they follow their mother
back into the car

Sky Choe (5)


whispers in the leaves
whiskers in the trees
what is he doing up there

Sean House (9)

This haiku feels very playful and allows the imagination to take over for me. Animals live a life we barely see. So, this poem makes me think of when you see a squirrel or two up in the trees play around. They are so unpredictable and just do what they want to do. It also makes me think of at night when you hear something in the trees and you aren’t sure what the noise is, it will sacre me sometimes, but then to come to find that it is from something harmless makes the situation sweet. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


leaves crunch
walking in beat
it's too hot out


clouds fluffy like cotton candy
     just as smooth as ice cream . . .
          hearing carnival music.


how to love yourself?
listen to your body
and she will listen back

Eden Niebrugge

I like this haiku because of the imagery and metaphor it creates, personifying the body to be able to be fully communicated with. I too have been on a journey to heal and strengthen my body and it has made my self-image so much better. In this world, it is hard to listen to your body, but doing so is so incredibly healing. I also like that this haiku is posed as the response to the question "how do I love myself?" Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023

This haiku stood out to me because it tells such a simple yet nuanced story in just three lines. It opens with a question which isn’t really something I’ve seen yet, and then the next two lines simply answer the question. I feel like in a lot of haikus the first line has a certain disconnect from the following two lines or at least, there seems to be a natural pause between the first and second lines. But, this haiku can be read as one full sentence. I relate to this because I’ve been trying to really listen to my body this year and allow myself to put my needs first. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


looking into a vacation
     summer vibes ended . . .
          seeing textbooks.


loud crash in the kitchen
paw prints
on the counter

Tanner Essex (8)


on a roof
just for two
but it's only me

Elijah Jamison (4)

It's so melancholy to think about this shared space no longer being occupied by two people. You can really feel the loneliness, almost like a shameful confession, in the last line as the writer declares that it is only them in that secret spot. There is a lot of memory or thought associated with this rooftop, I feel, and that history is bringing forth some pain as the writer reflects on what was, be that with an old friend, a past lover, or even a long-gone family member. It's very wistful, the tone of this haiku, and it stirs within me a sense of fresh longing for something you can no longer have. It's very bittersweet, which provides a lot of conflicting feelings I enjoy letting myself experience with this haiku. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023



leaves still resting
on bountiful trees
august shade


raindrops ricochet off the window
we are bulletproof
under the sheets

Tanner Essex (10)

This haiku makes me envision someone who doesn’t like storms and uses their bed and blankets as a shield against the “bullets” of rain and the fear they cause. It also feels somewhat serene and cut off from the rest of the world, like the sheets are a kind of sanctuary that makes everything else disappear. There is also a “we” whether it’s a parent, friend, or partner but I personally envisioned a romantic relationship. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

I love the way the author uses the word ricochet and compares the raindrops to bullets. The word choice is very strong and definitely makes you feel a certain way comparing the rain and storm to such a traumatic thing. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

The word choice of this haiku was extremely smart. The use of the words bulletproof and ricochet correspond with each other whether the author intended for it to or not. The structure of this makes it flow very well, especially the last line. The term under the sheets makes me think of being cozy and protected against the world. I sometimes think that if I am in bed nothing can hurt me. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


      rain coming down
socks still dry
       river that wasn’t there before

Maddie Alger (4)

This haiku takes me to the front door of my house where I will sit and watch storms under the safety of a roof, keeping the sweatshirt and cozy socks I’m in dry but still getting the sensory feel of the rain. The warm wind stirring my hair and humid feel of the air, the smell of rain, the rhythmic patter of drops hitting the ground until enough water starts to collect a river that runs downhill to the gutters. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

The unexpected cry is always the best. A pour of emotions that surpasses the brains ability to comprehend so it just drains it all. The best part for me is always when you reach the state of acceptance that you need this and allowing it to take hold. I have a hard time displaying “negative emotions” so i would actually plan out my cries because i know I needed to feel that even when i’m happy just to maintain balance and oddly control. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


take a pill
take a pill

Elijah Jamison (6)

This one made me think of how I used to always take liquid medicine as a kid because I couldn’t force myself to take pills, but eventually when I had to take ADD meds I had to get over that. Sean House, Fall 2023

I love haiku that have a cyclical nature to them. This one can either be comedic or somewhat somber. Obviously this person has multiple pills to take and this has become a routine, but does this person see this routine as a simple little task, or more as a chore? Personally, I’m really bad at taking pills, so I get the “choke” part, and taking pills in the morning can turn into a rather laborious event. But, I feel like after breakfast, you don’t remember the moment in which you took the pills, but putting that moment into a haiku, suddenly solidifies it and makes it a noticeable part of your day. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023



love on the brain
day dreaming
I snap out of it.

Mary Grace Gallagher (5)

The most dangerous thing is to fall in love, and even more so is to fall in love with love. Expectations rise and hopes crumble all for them flip flop in a constant equilibrium. I love love, but i know love is hard and love is work, therefore love scares me. Since if i devote myself to love what if the other person doesn’t. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023

I spoke about this poem in class, but I was immediately drawn to it. I’m a hopeless romantic, and also quite imaginative. I dreamt up stories all the time when I was a kid, and that hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older! Although I’m someone who loves love, I’ve been hurt in the past by partners, so the end really spoke to me. The beginning is so whimsical and happy, like the beginning of a new relationship, but the end has a twist with a twinge of hurt. It reminds me of that feeling when you’re getting excited about someone new, or you have a new crush, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking that if you pursue it, it’s going to turn sour. Snap out of it. You know it’s going to end badly in the end, so why try? This is a very familiar feeling for me, so this poem hits close to home with these two different feelings existing in the same moment. Leah Flint, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because it is 100% something that I can relate to. I am such a hopeless romantic and I often find myself daydreaming about love and relationships. I can imagine that I am reading a book or listening to music, and I fall into my own thoughts and have to snap myself out of it. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


dark room 
loud music 
to drown out the thoughts

Madelyn Letourneau (5)

This haiku made me feel calm because I do this often. It is the idea of sitting in bed right before you sleep and you have so much to think about. You also know yourself and have the specific things that calm you down like music or white noise. Cami Jones, Fall 2023

I enjoy this for similar reason as the last one. I love when I read a haiku and it makes me feel something. I love when they are relatable and I can think about how similar I do things. Losing your thoughts in music is such and easy way to relax and shit your brain off for just a moment that sometimes I really need. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

I relate to this haiku as well because I want a quiet place with a dark room with my favorite music in the background. Where there is nothing else to do but drown out my thoughts and just chill. Ny Scott, Fall 2023

Most of the kukai that I chose to reflect on have big impacts on my life. Like many people my age, I could not live without my music. I often find myself listening to music to block out any of my thoughts or feelings. Whether I am doing homework or trying to relax music keeps me zen. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


the rhythm of footsteps
as the seasons alter
crunch crunch crunch

Maddie Alger

I really love the way this haiku puts sound to the change of seasons. I feel like a lot of changing of the seasons poetry refers to the visual aspect, and this one is a very different take on it. I feel like I can hear the footsteps that are crunching leaves underneath them. It's very clear to me and I really appreciate that. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because it brings me to fall, and I LOVE fall. Last semester when I would walk around campus with my friends, and we would all step on leaves trying to figure out which one was the crunchiest. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


lights off 
a phone call in the dark 

Cami Jones

I think this haiku is really charming. I know for me, sometimes I try to fall asleep early and I tell myself I am going to turn off my phone at X time. Inevitably, I never fall asleep as quickly as I’d like, so I reach for my phone to call my boyfriend. We chat for a while, always in the dark because I am too tired to get up and turn on the lights, until I fall asleep. This haiku reminds me of that. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because at 8:30pm is the phone I have with my younger siblings and it’s really fun especially when there is nothing else to do at night and you can just chill. Ny Scott, Fall 2023


the sound of the drumsticks 
maracas rattling
we’re the outsiders now


late night walk 
mother and daughter 

Madelyn Letourneau (11)

As my mother's daughter, we’d unwind and rewind our days by discussing what had happened to us, most of which was gossip about other people or things. Instead of de-stressing ourselves, we destressed each other, which was the best part of my day as a commuter last year. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023

I went home over the Labor Day weekend, and this happened more than once. Although my mother and I weren’t walking around, we were definitely gossiping about the stuff going on in our lives almost every day of the break. We weren’t physically walking, but as I think about it, I was taking my mother on a walk around my head/memories. I was basically word vomiting and making her connect the dots. So I guess I wasn’t even taking her on a walk around my mind, it was more of a run around my mind. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

This is one of my favorite haikus because it is so relatable to me. My mom is like my best friend, and I tend to gossip to her because I know she’s not fake like a lot of people my age and she’s not going to tell anyone. She’s a safe place I feel I can go to at all times whenever I need someone to lean on. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

I like the simplicity of this haiku. I can relate to staying up late and talking with my mom, and I am very grateful for the close relationship I have with her. Since “gossip” is the last line, I almost didn’t expect it to say that, but it creates a very specific vibe. The formatting makes it interesting because the change of that singular word/line could change the way the reader takes the entire poem. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023

This haiku was so simple yet very comforting and well-versed. I can relate to this because in the summer when I am home my mom and I go on walks around the neighborhood in the evening. We have a give a book leave a book box that we will frequently visit on these walks. The author's choice of the word gossip is very fitting for most moms and their daughters. This haiku was very relatable and is one of my new favorites of the class so far. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


thoughts run wild
heartbeat flutters
anxiety wins

Kailyn Coates (6)

I enjoy this Haiku because it’s my favorite so far. I can relate to it because my thoughts always run wild, my heartbeat is always uneven and my anxiety always takes over. So there is always something about this haiku I can physically relate to. Ny Scott, Fall 2023

After getting in from New York last night, I laid down and closed my eyes as my mind was racing from the day and chaos that is the city. I was having a difficult time turning my thoughts off, and they started to spin. And whenever my thoughts start, so does my heart. My thoughts led to overthinking about every homework assignment and exam coming up for the week. I was experiencing a ton of anxiety as I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Thus, this haiku was my night last night. Mary Grace Gallagher, Fall 2023



a fresh breath in 
thoughts leave with exhale

Elly Hermanson

Looking back at the sheet, I feel like this is the first time I’ve noticed this poem and I really like it! It’s very childlike to me. I always got so much joy out of finding fluffy white-headed dandelions when I was younger, and the idea of making a wish on one is still so lovely to me. I still make wishes on my eyelashes when they fall out! This poem makes me imagine being out in a grassy field and picking a dandelion, taking a deep breath in as you think of what you’re going to wish for, and blowing out. With the exhale, you let your wish out into the world - let it leave your brain as you blow the fluffy white pieces away from the stem so your wish will come true. Leah Flint, Fall 202


fluffy plush blanket 
tucked away 
daylight disappears


sweating profusely
tech support
phone lives no more


if only 
i could tell you 
you should shower 

Hannah Smith (12)

This one reminds me of a few friends I used to have who always smelled like they hadn’t showered in days but I was too afraid of confrontation to tell them. Sean House, Fall 2023


tick she does a flip 
tock in the dark 
tick, tock


in the bathroom
I find it
blue sticky note

Leah Flint (4)

© 2023, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.