Haiku Kuksi 03 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2023

Heavenly Bodies


bright star 
dimming for 

Hannah Smith (7)


planet of people 
who don't know 

Hannah Smith (6)

I like this haiku because it reminds me of me as a kid. When I was younger, I very vividly remember sitting in a car looking at all the people and realizing just how big the world is. There are lots of people that don't know you and you don't know them. But thinking about it today, I see it as people that you do know, but how much do you really know them? People may know you, but how well do they know you? Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


the greeks loved your figure
why can't

Hannah Smith (8)

This haiku really highlights body standards throughout time. It goes to show that society is constantly changing so you don’t need to try and conform to it. I also shows that every body is beautiful in some culture or to some person, so to try and look like everyone else does is truly a waste of time. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


a super blue moon
in fourteen short years
a child no more

Sky Choe (6)


silence at the wake
a star's soft glow
fades to dust


beneath her lashes
a constellation
of tears

Sky Choe (14)

Not only do I love the way this haiku was written, but I love the beauty it brings to sadness. It makes me imagine all the time I not only cried because I was sad but also happy. Even when I would laugh so hard I would cry. Crying shouldn’t be seen as weakness it is so much more than that. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

I liked this haiku because the imagery and wording put an image right in front of me. It is such a specific picture, almost like a still shot. The word choice of “constellation” when describing the tears also makes me think of the tears in a positive light, because constellations are so beautiful and complex. It reminds me that tears only show a bit of the full story, which is backed my so many thoughts and emotions. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023

This one brought me to the sense of sadness as I could feel my tears dripping down my face. I could also feel the wetness on my cheeks as I cried, losing a loved one, and seeing them pass through to the other side. I could taste the saltiness of tears in my mouth. Mary Grace Gallagher, Fall 2023


boyhood thief
deemed himself worthy
a heavenly body

Tanner Essex (5)


room of infinite mirrors
forced to dissect
the nuance of myself

Tanner Essex (10)

I am a dancer which involves me using a mirror to correct and “perfect” the way my body moves and the shapes that it makes. It is a tool to change the way my body looks. However, with this tool comes the constant staring and comparing of what I am seeing in the mirror. This haiku reminds me of this experience because sometimes it can feel like the mirrors are infinite and that there is no escape. The wording is interesting in this haiku and I think the way the lines are separated provide just the right amount of detail at a time. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023

I really love this haiku! At first when I read this haiku individually, I thought more about self image. Once we read it out loud and talked about it, I was able to see some more meaning to it. I didn’t even think about the connection to taking dance classes, but this haiku is really perfect for capturing that. Being in a dance class and being asked to look at every little thing that you do in order to grow and learn. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


morning glistens
tracing sun beams
down your chest


anniversary of your death 
your heavenly body

Madelyn Letourneau

This haiku is an honest reaction to death that I think a lot of people do whenever thinking about or talking to past on loved ones. We look up and think they are somewhere in the sky, making up the heavens and that’s what I see. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

We often look to the stars for signs of our lost loved ones. I know I’ve done my fair share of conversing with the stars. But there’s something to tender about looking to the stars on the anniversary of someone’s death. We all love to think that our loved ones join the chorus of stars in the night sky after they’ve passed, as it gives us something to hold onto and look to when we need to feel them close with us. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


lost faith 
but the angels speak to me 
in numbers 

Madelyn Letourneau (13)

This is probably my favorite kukai. It makes me imagine all of my late loved ones and how I see things, not only numbers, that remind me of them so often. I think about all the happy times I had with them and how they have influenced my life so much. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

This has to be one of my favorite haiku so far this year. I am currently trying to strengthen my faith so seeing this in our kukai gave me a bit of a reminder. It is so simple but sends a really great message that Jesus walks with us even when we might not see it. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


laying in the grass 
cool breeze, bright moon
and heavenly bodies 


celestial being
star girl
her face    in the moon


cuts through
the space    between    us

Leah Flint (6)

I absolutely love the formatting of this haiku, with huge spaces between words in the last line, symbolizing the physical and metaphorical space between the people. This is probably a serious conversation late at night, maybe outside on a balcony. The spacing illustrates the increasing distance of the people involved. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023


and you said
you’d “always love”
my body

Leah Flint

The saddest thing about a definite is that they never are. “Always” is a pain because you are being set up to fail. Their is also a vulnerableness that comes with “my body” and not just me. It feels like the love was always superficial and that the one draw i had now fall flat to you. I also sense guilt but not for the other instead for myself. Like i wasnt enough and i feel guilty for that. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


heaven — constant sand
a paradise I would hate.
so that means . . .


celestial guardian
     I wonder 
which star you are

Kaia Garbacz (6)


lost in your 
planet of wonder

Hannah Smith

Getting lost in a significant other’s eyes is a phenomenal experience. I love when I look into my boyfriend's eyes and I can see the gears in his head turning. Getting lost in someone’s eyes is such an intimate experience. This haiku allows me to imagine a couple looking into each other's eyes, smiling, and getting to know each other. Anna Quick, Fall 2023


sun comes up 
                    sun goes down 
did they ever stop running?

Cami Jones

I have a house this semester aswell as im working part-time in champaign to pay for bills, gas, and food and along with tackling school its just recently felt like alot. I don’t get my usual rest, im always on the move and it just doesn’t feel like its going to stop. Just an endless cycle of the rise and fall. This haiku makes me think of the nordic myth of when the sun finally catches up to the moon it is a sign of ragnarok, i hope i dont meet the same fate. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


zero gravity
minds float beside
heavenly bodies

Anna Quick

I just recently went stargazing for the first time and it was transcendent. When looking up and falling into the sky above everything just clicks for a second. I remember vividly thinking why does it look like everything is connected by a line intricately placed throughout our cosmos. This haiku gives me the feeling of safety in the presence of endless possibility. An inability to truly fall. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


she smiles at her reflection
and for the first time 
it smiled back

Cami Jones

To me, this haiku feels like the first glimmer of sun after a rainstorm. It reminds me of someone who is struggling to love themselves and navigating that tricky relationship. This haiku is the first step to growing at loving yourself. The very first time you smile at your reflection is such a special thing. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023

Sometimes we look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person we see, this might be because we’re unhappy with out appearance, or maybe we just don’t know who we are that day. But every once in a while we look in the mirror and notice something we love about ourself, and we watch as the corners of our lips upturn, and we see our face smiling back at us. Maybe in this case, this person had to fake being happy, but one day, they smiled in the mirror and saw a genuine expression of happiness looking back at them. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


the moon is full 
I look up 
to where you transported 

Elly Hermanson (6)

This kukai, just like the first one, makes me immediately think of the loved ones I lost and all the amazing impacts they have had on me throughout my life. When I look up it just helps me imagine them and how they were once here. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023



hair woven from the night
and skin like starlight
just missing wings

Bella Birdsley (22)

I really like this haiku because I am a hopeless romantic. I can imagine loving someone so much, or having someone love you so much that you are viewed as such a being that is angelic. I think it is a truly beautiful feeling to have and have reciprocated. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


shooting stars 
a sign
or simply nature

Elly Hermanson (11)

Many times, humanity places importance on rituals that could easily be meaningless, like blowing a dandelion to make a wish — has it ever come true? Shooting stars are one of those things, and the person in the haiku, seeing the object in the sky and wondering if there is something cosmically significant about it.  It is clear that the person in some way hopes that a shooting star is a sign of something, but they likely take the cynical route and know that comets are just some rocks that happen to float by the Earth. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023

I really liked this one because I love to look at stars. Seeing shooting stars is one of my favorite things to do. I often go out with my friends or family just to look at the stars. It reminds me of time with my loved ones, but this haiku also creates a vivid picture in my brain. It is something I do often; make wishes on stars. I don’t know if I believe they do anything, but I always do it. It just hits close to home for me. Cami Jones, Fall 2023

I love the stars and have always been fascinated at how they are so constant yet so far away from us. Shooting stars are so fun to see and making a wish on them is such a fun little thing people do. The idea that shooting stars could mean nothing is something I have genuinely never thought about because it’s honestly more fun to have that little tradition of making a wish on the star. The person in this haiku must be going through something very emotional to be pondering the purpose of a shooting star and I feel as though I am laying down watching the stars at night with them. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because I am very much someone that likes to try and pick up on signs and signals. I am someone that is constantly looking for signs, but oftentimes I wonder if it is truly a sign, or if it is something that occurred and has no meaning at all. For example, when looking at the stars I like to imagine that one of the stars is one of my loved ones looking out for me, but at the end of the day, is that true, or is it just one star of billions shining in the sky? Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


loves lost
I look up
to their heavenly bodies


empty bed 
your whispers 
caress my shoulder

Madelyn Letourneau

I love that this haiku suggests the absence of someone who would usually lay next to you. The fact that their whispers still caress you means that you think about them as you try to sleep, and their absence keeps you awake. Maybe you’ve just broken up with this person and you are adjusting to sleeping alone while processing these feelings without your main support system there anymore. In my case, this could refer to a long distance relationship, as you lull yourself to sleep with thoughts of who used to lie next to you.Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


cover your belly button
no tiny straps
men in muscle tees


sun goes around
another day
living through pain

Cami Jones

As someone who has had experience with mental health struggles, I resonated with this haiku. I have had days where it feels like all I want to do is lay in bed and watch the sun rise and set. This haiku helped me remember that it is normal to not always feel one hundred percent. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


incandescent moon
from cloud to cloud
you dance

Tanner Essex

As with most haiku I write about, I am drawn to the imagery in this one. I like the word incandescent describing the moon. It means, emitting light as a result of being heated, which isn’t necessarily true of the moon, but it is lit by the sun which emits large amounts of heat. Maybe the author isn’t describing the actual moon, but a person, who emits light like that. When I was younger, I always wanted to know what it would be like to jump or sleep on a cloud, and was devastated when I found out that if you tried you would fall through, because clouds are just air vapors. I love the idea of someone, maybe someone who is no longer living, jumping/dancing in the clouds, hopping from one to another like kids who are splashing in puddles. Leah Flint, Fall 2023

This one just fills me with a sense of whimsy and a good touch of melancholy. I have romanticized the moon a lot, and find that the moon in all of her glory is such a great subject for writing or imagining or daydreaming- like a siren song that calls to me. The moon is truly the reason why I chose the topic "heavenly bodies" for our next writing prompt, and the serenity that washes over me when reading this haiku is a wonderful testament to that. I love the use of the word "incandescent," and how it immediately helps to set the tone for this haiku and its seriousness, while juxtaposing that with a dance of something more spritely that jumps and leaps and twirls within the clouds in the evening sky. This one really just makes me happy. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


alone with a patient
death rattle 
wisps through the air

Mary Grace Gallagher

I like this haiku because I work in a hospital on a medical/surgical floor. This means that oftentimes I interact with older adults that may be on hospice, or simply in bad condition. Losing a patient for the first time was extremely hard, and I like this haiku because when you are in a room with someone that is dying there is a sort of stillness, yet there is still something there that seems tangible, but it is not. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


Additional Haiku


the yoga mat
I lay my worries into
it is enough for now


monday morning
I whisper to myself I will . . . 
start tomorrow

Grace Brixa

As a young person who appears healthy, being told to exercise more on top of my other activities ended up being exactly like this. There’s a faint disappointment in the “I will…” that leads into the second line. While the haiku is funny, it’s also terribly sad. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


alarm clock ringing
I climb out of bed
why did I commit to this

Grace Brixa

I am someone who has always wanted to be a morning person, but I am also someone who can’t get myself to go to bed early due to procrastination and a busy schedule. I’m definitely more of an early riser than I used to be, but it’s taken several years of consistently getting up before 8 a.m. and not sleeping as late on the weekends. I’ve been going to the gym and on walks before class this semester, and once I’m walking, or doing my workout, I feel great and am glad that I made myself get out of bed. First thing when my alarm goes off though, there is a moment where my body is fighting my brain, and I have to will myself out of bed because I know I could just sleep more if I really wanted to. I do feel very accomplished every morning when I get out of bed though, because I know it’s a big choice that propels the rest of my day! Leah Flint, Fall 2023


first gray hair
of many

Kailyn Coates

Sometimes, I look at my mother and wonder why she would dye her hair to cover up her gray, but I realize a lot of women are told that to be beautiful, you need to be young. Yet, in my eyes, no matter her hair, she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. The haiku captures that well.Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023

In this haiku, I imagined the first time I found gray hair and was thinking about how there was no way this could be true. I thought you could only get grays when you’re older, and was not pleasantly surprised when I found one. I highlight my hair now. Mary Grace Gallagher, Fall 2023


leaves crumble
under my feet
depression returns

Kailyn Coates

I can relate to the commentary this author is making about seasonal depression and love the way the concept is written into the haiku. I always know that the weather is about to keep getting cooler and stay that way when the leaves turn. Autumn is beautiful, and I love autumn as much as the next person, but it fills me with a bit of dread because I know it won’t be warm again for another 5 to 6 months. I am a person who thrives in the warmer weather seasons. I love natural light, I love going outside, taking walks, and feeling the warm sun on my skin. I don’t understand how it is possible to love the cold weather more! It does tend to dampen my mood a little bit more in the winter months, and I can always feel weight lifted off of me in those early days of spring when it’s finally warm enough to strip off your heaviest layers of clothing. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


word vomit
I see red
it hurts all over

Kailyn Coates (5)


sip the green juice
drink the electrolytes
and go.


Skylyr Aquarius

Sky Choe (2)


beads of sweat
        dripping down my body
                  DIY shower


the last slice
threatening my appetite

Anna Quick (4)


in the gym
machines crash
and men stare


my eyes catch
a woman runner
pushing harder

Anna Quick

I feel as if I can envision myself from the outer perspective as I am running because I do this consistently and am always running to improve. I do this to improve my mental and physical health. Running makes me push and work harder for volleyball. Mary Grace Gallagher, Fall 2023


my younger self was quiet
my older self observes
my own yin-yang

Ny Scott

I really love how each perspective is a reflection of who the author feels themself to be now, and how that comparison between the younger and older self isn't really all that different. Maybe, due to their youthful silence, they were able to learn to observe and pick up on things they wouldn't have otherwise seen had they not been so quiet. I myself was a pretty quiet kid- I kept to myself and wouldn't really engage with people if I didn't know them. I am still similar to that kid, but I have the confidence and understanding that comes with experience of watching how others act and interact and from being able to engage with information as an outsider. There is a delicate balance to being too quiet and observant that borders on the lines of being kind of a creep (or at least feeling like one), and I like to think that this person has found and finally learned how to be able to maintain that balance as they move forward. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


tree or warrior
maybe downward dog
will still my mind

Bella Birdsley (3)


salty tears ricochet
on the page
the story ends

Kailyn Coates (7)


doctor's signature
shot in the thigh
first day to becoming myself

Sky Choe (9)


thumbing through my
color-coded calendar
why did I agree to that


brand new water bottle 
the old one 


study date 
in the library 
homework forgotten

Madelyn Letourneau

This haiku gives the clear imagery of being at Millikin's library with a potential partner, and you've convinced yourselves that you'll talk while getting work done; yet you only focus on talking, leaving the homework behind. This captures the almost whimsical feeling that comes between the chemistry of two people who are falling increasingly in love. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023

I like the way this haiku captures a really charming moment. I don’t know how many times I have hung out with my friends with the intention to get a lot of work done, and absolutely nothing got done. We just started talking and never looked back. It's not necessarily a bad thing, because I love to spend time talking to my friends. Its just something that you kinda shrug and laugh at after the fact. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


short drive to the store
heard our song
I should call mom

Tanner Essex (9)

Living away from your parents often feels like this. It’s driving to stores that you would normally go to with your parents and creating a checklist of things you should do but not actually end up doing. The first line sets the scene, the second line sets the tone, and the last line wraps it all up. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


my new shoes
against the heel scab
thought we were past this


roommate shares
her dream journal
what the fuck

Kaia Garbacz (12)


nails grown out
hair in a ponytail
sensory overload

Maddie Alger (3)

I can physically feel this haiku. This haiku makes me feel overwhelmed, I can imagine my nails grown out and my hair in a terrible ponytail, and it makes me feel terribly overwhelmed. This haiku conveys an anxiety-ridden emotion, and I think that goes hand-in-hand with the last “sensory overload” line. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

This haiku makes me imagine a balance of trying to be very put together like a slick back ponytail that means business, its efficient but chic, and the chaos of not being able to upkeep that because of a busy schedule like not being able to attend a nail appointment to renew the grown-out nails. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


the world 
keeps spinning
what about me?

Eden Niebrugge (7)

This haiku is interesting to me because it reminds me of someone who is stuck or has a moment in time that they are stuck in. There are two things I immediately thought of. One of them being the loss of a loved one. When I have lost people I love, I felt aggressive and angry and like the world stopped spinning. My world stopped, but the rest of the world kept going on. The other thing that I thought of was someone getting married or falling in love. It is a happy world stopping moment. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


butterfly effect 
to snooze 
or not to snooze


wrong body
right mind
why won’t they talk

Hannah Smith (6)


put me in a box
and ship me back;
i’m ill with rage


packing up
always      the last one
out of class

Leah Flint (4)


too loose clothing
hangs on
            to what’s left

Leah Flint

This one is really sad to me. Immediately, the image conjured within my mind is that of someone suffering with anorexia, or some form of extreme weight loss that may not necessarily be healthy for them. Be that due to mental illness, or some form of physical limitation and health issue, the image left behind is that of someone who can no longer recognize themself or who they are. They are a ghost of their former self, and it is so heart breaking to think and unfortunately know that that is a place people can and often do reach when they are left with no other choice. I also just adore the way that this was spaced and how the final line seems to just hang off of the middle one. Very clever use of the space. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


pulling out my eyelashes
to make more

Bella Birdsley (22)

Making a wish on an eyelash has been something I have done since I was very young. This haiku gives me a terrible feeling of sadness and desperation. This haiku gives me an image of a person who is going through something and they need more wishes. This person so desperately wants something to come true, so they need to pull more eyelashes out so they can make a wish. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

This haiku creates a picture that is also very easy to visualize. It makes me think of someone who is trying to create some form of physicalization that can possibly give them hope. By using parts of you to hold on to the idea that we can wish away our circumstances is an interesting idea. We as humans long to always have things turn out in the form of best case scenario and when we lose control of that sometimes we makes decisions that may make no sense later on. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023

I really enjoy this haiku. Sometimes I have an itch or something on my lash line and pulling out an eyelash makes it go away, and then of course I have to make a wish because that’s something that everyone does and has always done, but the idea of pulling them out constantly so you can keep wishing makes me feel something in my heart. I feel sorrow for the person in this haiku and I hope they got whatever they were wishing so desperately for. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


twin-tailed mermaid
the smell of coffee
the siren song


gold medal shines bright
the years of struggle
have passed her by

Kailyn Coates (4)


a leap of faith
inches away
becomes a mile


long walks to class 
time moves slower
in the rain

Cami Jones (7)

I love the rain so whenever it starts to pour or sprinkle, I don’t run for cover. I love the smell, how the air feels, and how the grey sky looks. This kind of makes me feel like that, I’m in no rush and I’m appreciating being outside and the weather the seasons bring. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

I enjoy this haiku because it does a great job of explaining a cold and sad day. Rainy days always make me feel a bit down and can make them drift on slowly. I just think this is a very descriptive and well-written haiku. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


fourth floor Shilling
I catch
my breath

Anna Quick (14)


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