Haiku Workshop Bill Pauly —Spring

Global Haiku Tradition--Haiku Workshop, April 20, 2004
Student response and edit variations in blue.
Bill Pauly's comments in red letter.

finally . . .
a nice day
playin’ outside

This is always a welcome feeling. It's also pretty familiar the way you give it to us. Can you picture this and "put us there" any more specifically so we can FEEL the "nice" day and play along??

finally . . .
a nice day
sidewalk drawings

nice day
playing outside

trusting dad
for our safe way home
red lights and sirens

Your final line carries the real IMPACT here--a kind of disillusionment or "broken trust" that's always hard to swallow. The last (or omega) line is also the most specific one--one that we can reach with our senses. Any way to make your first two lines more concrete, too?

summer solstice
polka dot swim suit
still dry

I like this haiku because the polka dot swimsuit is really a defining image of summer. It gives you the longing feeling for summer with the swimsuit still being dry. It does not give you a lot of exact information but it is a complete image I feel. Julia

rain d r o p s
rush into
a rusted drain

I liked the both the visual effect of the how the word “drops” is written and also the image you get of the rain actually dropping into a rusted drain. The use of sound, imagery, and smell are the senses that I see most. Also, the repetition of the “R” sounds is effective as well. This haiku reads very smoothly.

I like the word play/sound values here. Rime even.

late night rendezvous
we lose
. . . one hour

oo sounds. Would you consider moving the ellipses up to the end of line 1? That's where they most often occur in haiku (or after line 2). I like the sense here of being cheated out of an hour (daylight savings time?) with someone special (But did you "spring forward" anyhow?) Time is an invisible often made visible in a haiku. I think you do it well here.

late-night rendezvous . . .
we lose
one hour

I loved the haiku. I actually had a very similar event on the night that the day light savings kicked in this year. We had a party at my house that night and I met a girl. I usually know everyone who comes over to my house, but I didn’t know her. We got to talking that night and things progressed as they went on and it has turned into a budding of a pretty cool friendship. We stayed up and talked about everything that we could think of to talk about. Colby Hanik

I am a fan of the use of the word “rendezvous” because I feel it is an underused word. So when I saw that it immediately grabbed my attention. The overall tone of the haiku is mysterious and playful to me because we really do not know what the “rendezvous” is. And the last line is also open for interpretation. I am assuming the author was thinking of daylight savings when it was written, but it could also be thought of as losing one hour with someone. When you are in that moment with someone, the time seems to fly by so fast, especially if it is a new blossoming relationship. —Molly

stormy night
shadows of creatures
appear for only seconds

You create quite a strong atmospheric effect here, a somewhat chilling sensation of "Did I see that or didn't I?" Strong R sounds. Is the remote echo of the famous parody (Snoopy & others) "It was a dark and stormy night" at all a concern here? Maybe:

stormy night
shadows of creatures
gone in seconds

cool breeze
clouds moving in
the scent of rain

I wonder if "scent" is the JUST-right word??? Anything wrong with the even more familiar & "real" smell? Atmospheric. Do you feel as if this is all here yet, like it's finished? Another dimension of depth possible here beyond the meterological?

cool breeze
moving in clouds
the smell of rain

cool breeze
clouds move in
scent of rain

I liked using the word move instead of moving because it puts the reader in the present tense, making it real to them. Megan M

pencil tapping
50 days to graduation
who’s counting?

pencil tapping
50 days
to graduation

pillowed clouds
casting shadows
on our picnic blanket

Quite an inventive act of language here with "pillowed" (surely fresher than a blanket, eh?) It also suggests the desire for rest or sleep or a nap. But mostly you deal with the "Rain, rain, go away" picnic song in a less usual way. Quite good. Largely "real-ized"

through sunbeams
the foal’s first steps

                         Alida Duff

Vivid image--and very pleasant, too. Something in the last line bothers me just a bit--are the first steps stumbling, or is the foal? I know it's picky, but this is good enough to care about getting it JUST right, eh? Or maybe you have???

I love this haiku because I was obsessed with horses when I was younger. It captures the innocence of the foal in its first few moments of life. You picture a gorgeous spring day, sunbeams coming through the clouds and a mother and foal in a large green pasture. Foals can stand moments after they are born and their legs are very long and unsteady. I see him teetering around as he tries to gain steadiness and reach his mother for his first drink of milk. Katie S

I see a farming family who probably breeds horses, or at least owns quite a few. They have been long awaiting the birth of this foal, whose mother is a beautiful brown mare. As he clumsily plops to the ground and scurries to stand, his first steps are taken among the sunbeams and shadows cast by his mothers long legs. The pasture at dusk creates a perfect scene for this new life to begin. Leigh

The visual image I get with this haiku is peculiarly striking. There is something so fragile and awkward about baby animals because their bodies and heads usually don’’t quite match up proportionally. So when I read this haiku, I picture a young horse with huge, shaky kneecaps and he is completely unbalanced. The foal is also probably dodging the piercing sunbeams that seem to be aiming perfectly at his eyes. I like the simplicity of the haiku overall; it is not too wordy nor does it seem like the author tried to make it sound good. It is just a raw moment of animal nature that is being captured very appropriately by the author. Molly P

stumbling through sunbeams
the foal
first steps

lost in daydream
wishing you were here
. . . summer still so far

after a long weekend
I come home
to a neon cowboy

"after a" may not be necessary. I wonder if this is strongly enough implied? "Neon cowboy" sort of demonstrates the uses & limitations of allusion of references = clarity. I applaud a degree of mystery, but I just don't get it! I'm pretty confused here. Can't honestly say I know what you mean.

sometimes chilly,
we laugh
in the april wind

Is "sometimes" necessary? Useful? Here & now? "chilly" is a pretty strong tactile word. Goosebumps or gooseflesh are other details that might show the chill. I like that you laugh in the chill. (All weather is haiku weather, eh?)

we laugh
in April wind

last minute turn
a highway
of escapades

I'd probably like traveling on this highway, too, but until I get there it's pretty much a pleasant abstraction to me. Is there any way . . . ?

last minute grocery shopping
admiring the red roses
as she waits in line

This is simple, direct, & forceful in a auiet way. I get the significance of "last-minute." She's rushed, hurried, harried, but she still uses the time for something useful. She "stops to smell the roses." [Thank God you didn't use that cliché; your version carries off the impact without the baggage.]

last minute grocery shopping
rushing cart halts
to admire the roses

last minute grocery shopping
admiring red roses
waiting in line

spring showers
produce a lake
in a cornfield

Is "showers" your best choice?? Showers denote softer, easier rain. Is that the kind that produces so much water, I wonder?? Maybe cloudbursts or rain or downpour. Is "produce" necessary?

spring cloudburst
a lake
in a cornfield

Casey writes: I would like to change this haiku because it has words in it that I stumbled over such as “produce.” I also would take out the words “in” and “a.” The haiku is too wordy in my opinion and I would like to see it more like this:

Spring showers
A lake
Or a cornfield?

rainy morning
the only road to work
. . . covered by a lake?

I'm not sure what the purpose of the ellipses is here? To pause us, slow us down? Same with the question mark. I like the possibilities of the material you choose here. I wonder if you can keep working it even more skillfully into a solid haiku.

There is an element of frustration combined with a secret glee with the only way to work being blocked off. I see a young man, possibly his first year out of college. He is in a business suit and this particular day, he woke up with the worries of the world on his shoulders. The rain has filled the sky with clouds, making it dark, and leaving him wanting nothing more than to sleep an extra hour. Part of him is frustrated at the roadway being blocked off – he knows no other way to work because he is new to the area; and part of him is happy – could this mean that he should call in sick? He smiles. Maureen C

I thought this haiku became much stronger with the punctuation taken out:

rainy morning
the only road to work
covered by a lake

The question mark at the end really bothered me. It seemed like the person was questioning whether his (or her) own thought was valid, and making the last line into a statement was a much better statement of this haiku moment. Jenny S

chasing the dog
wet, slimy mud puddle
he gets away

Three elements in the second line? Any way to combine, compress & connect these into an even more effective short haiku "narrative?" Maybe something about how you got all muddy? I wonder if the words "wet, slimy" are implied--all there already in "mud puddle."

chasing the dog
through the mud puddle
he gets away

morning rain afternoon rain evening rain never-ending rain

Is "never-ending rain" necessary? Implied? If this were mine, I'd let the first three phrases show this for me & skip the commentary. Whadya say? I like the one-line choice--it seems just right.

morning rain afternoon rain evening rain

morning to evening      never-ending rain

I really liked this one-line haiku. It definitely gets the point across that the rain just keeps coming. As you read the haiku, the word “rain” is very repetitive which serves as a double function. I think this one line is very effective. When I think of spring, rain is the first thing that comes to mind. Though the haiku is very basic, it proves a point and is well written. Brianne

And here we have the downside of spring. While the weather may be absolutely beautiful most of the time, spring gets into these moods where it will just be downright sour for days and days. March showers bring April showers bring May showers and all of the flowers are waterlogged. It just rains and rains to the point where everyone gets cabin fever after being inside for so long, and the religious (and not-so-religious) types start wondering if perhaps they should build an ark. And THEN, as if nonstop rain wasn’t enough, you’ve got all the mud to deal with when it’s done. Forget grass. You just have a yard full of poopy, slimy mud. Then, just as the ground becomes dry again and you get a day or two to play outside, the sky opens up and the rain pours down all over again. Jenny Schultz

morning rain
       afternoon rain
                   evening rain

I like this haiku as a one liner, but I think by playing with the form, one could achieve a better progression of time passing in a visual way. Casey W

blazing summer heat
he dives in
after her

Is the first line pretty familiar? Need a fresher line? The last two lines are the heart of your piece, but I wonder if you keep your readers from "diving in" with your sorta trite opening line/phrase. I think you're 2/3 of the way there. Find a just-right, newer, fresher, livelier opener . . .

I love this haiku! What a beautiful picture… In my mind, I see a group of college kids on a camping trip. They are hanging out at the lake nearby their camp site. At the lake, there are cliffs to jump off of – what fun! It’s a hot day and sunscreen is a must. I love the image I get in this haiku – I see a young lady, challenging one of her guy friends to jump off one of the tallest cliffs into the lake. He accepts her challenge, only to the surprise that she runs for the cliff before he can get there first. As they both run toward the cliff so as to jump into the cool water, it becomes a lighthearted competition. Naturally, the fun girl gets to the cliff first, but her good friend jumps in after her. (This haiku reminds me of Josh and I – it’s something we would do!) Maureen C

sunny cliff
he dives in
after her

up to bat
with numb fingers . . .
strike three

Aha! We used to call it "bees in the bat handle" when I played ball a couple of eons ago--with wooden bats, no less. Finally, on my fourth reading, I think I see a sly choice by the batter to take a called 3rd strike rather than endure the sting of contact with the ball. Is that what you intend here?

batter up!
strike three

up to bat
numb fingers
strike three

up to bat
numb fingers

I really enjoy this haiku because I played softball for a good 17 years; I even played for Millikin my first year. I know from first hand exactly what this haiku is describing. The beginning of baseball/softball season can be rather chilly. It can be so cold that your feet feel like they are going numb because of water in the grass, and your hands feel like they are going to brake off if you even hold a bat. Sometimes it is really hard to get the bat around, and this haiku adds a fun surprise element by sharing the coldness and that “opps” he or she strike out. It’s clever and well written. Megan

working saddle soap
against leather
my hand your hand my hand

Katie Steimann

working saddle soap
into leather
my hand your hand my hand

into? ooh! yes! I think that's the right expression, AND it seems to FIT with even greater resonance. YES! into please! Ooh-whee! You have yourself a good one here, I think! Sensory & sensual & (probably even ?) sexual in impact & intent. The daring repetitions of physical & literal hand-to-hand "working" you show us here. Steamy. Fine! Bravo! Worth trying to publish or for a contest? Henderson?

Although I don';t have any personal experiences with horses or grooming them I grew really fond of this haiku. I haven’t read many haiku about horses and I like the first two lines of this one because they only insinuate the horses rather than just saying “grooming horses”. The words “saddle soap” and the image of working it into the leather create a lot of sensory images. I smell the soap and the leather and feel the dirty roughness of the entire stable. The last line creates a nice surprise element. It turns the entire haiku around from a simple rural scene to a romantic image. I see two people cleaning this horse saddle and enjoying each other’s company greatly, perhaps flirting a little for the first time. Sylvia

roadside rest stop
dusty postcards
soaked in sunbeams

Alida Duff

Sunbeams is a strong word; don't overdo it, O.K? You create a real sense of place here by your use of vivid details. This is a good one that you should be pleased with. It shows a real understanding of the haiku way and a perceptive, discerning eye for the "insides of words," as Donald Hall calls them. Bravo! Truly good work here. Good for you. Try this with an editor or contest??

roadside rest stop
faded postcards
seen only by the sun

This haiku is full of sensory images. I picture a small mom-and-pop type rest stop filled with homemade goodies. There is the ever-popular rack of cheesy postcards on the counter under the window. The ones closest to the window are slightly faded because no one has been in the place to look at them. I like the way this was written. It reminds me of past road trips! Jennifer R

first warm day
sandaled feet in grass
wedged in the unseen mud

Your first line is pleasant and appealing. In your effort to show us key details of the moment here, you got a bit heavy on adjectives--4 which slow & burden the haiku somewhat. Are they all necessary? Maybe something like this:

first warm day
sandals in the grass
wedged in unseen mud

first warm day
invites sandaled feet
to cool, fresh grass

first warm day
bare feet in grass
wedged in unseen mud

I’m an “anti-sock” person, so as soon as it’s even close to warm weather, my boots find their way to my closet and it’s sandals until October. This haiku makes me think of how sometimes the first time you can wear sandals, in early spring, it’s usually rainy, sometimes snow is still melting, so there is cold mud everywhere just waiting to be squished between my toes! I think this haiku creates a great picture of that.


sandaled feet
sink into cool mud

newspaper stained
over white deck table—
berry juice everywhere

Quite a vivid, colorful & messy scene. Add (a or the or my) otherwise it seems sorta truncated/ telegramatic to me. Unidiomatic & pidgin English-esque.

newspaper stained
over a white deck table—
berry juice everywhere

carefully stepping
cardboard box full
fresh picked berries . . .
erupt in the air!

I like the material (I love berries of all denominations!) But I think the challenge is to compress this to retain the dynamic, dramatic moment without bogging it down in verbiage that saps your IMPACT! Maybe something like:

stepping over
the box full of berries . . .

everywhere [scattered]

Well, maybe keep working on it, O.K.?

black Labrador
sprints along . . .
the homerun fence

refreshing pool
inviting me to jump in
test the chlorine please!

I really like this pool one, because well, at the house now, we have two pools. I’m sure you’ve seen the one in the front yard of the SAE house, and there is also one in the fenced off area on the side, which was filled with hot water, by our new members, so that there was a hot tub as well. These pools have just been the most excellent addition to the house in my mind, except for the chlorine factor. The reason I like this haiku so much is that after the first night the pools were used, the common response to the question of “How’s the water?” became “Don’t you mean the DNA?” because we have no chlorine, only a little filter hooked up to one, that I’m pretty sure is broken by now. What makes this even more humorous is that on Friday we have a fire inspection from the city, and I’m sure these pools will raise some eyebrows. We’ll probably need to put up a swim at your own risk sign or something. Either way, this haiku is just flat out funny, I don’t care how you look at it, it’s funny. Massive props to whoever wrote this one. Casey W

Is "refreshing" commentary? I like some of what you're doing here, including the wry verbal invitation to taste-test the chlorine. Somehow, though, you do things here that are sorta un-haikulike, such as personifying the pool and even having it talk!?? Any way try to reformat the material a bit to "haiku-ize" it, or try it as a longer, different poem.

slices of apples
filling Grandma’s oven
with freshly baked pie

Not just "apple slices" for the first line? What an appealing, aromatic scene you show & let us sniff here. It's absolutely, quitessentially Americana. But, . . . I wonder if that's also a bit of a drawback for the piece? We've all (well, most of us) had this wonderful experience. Can you do more here to make it unique, make it truly your moment & Grandma's?? I hope you WILL! (& how about seconds on that apple pie?)

scent of apples
filling Grandma’s oven
freshly baked pie

I really enjoyed this haiku because of the emotion and sense of smell that was so strong. I used to love to bake with my Grandma; I especially loved when she was baking and her house smelled so yummy. This haiku made me think about my Grandma and all the times spent together in the kitchen. I also enjoyed the sense of smell. From the first line, I had a strong sense of freshly cut apple slices; the next two lines further enhanced the sense of smell with the pie baking in the oven. Megan M

Casey writes: This haiku is AWESOME except I would like to change one minor thing…wording once again. I would like to also change the order somewhat. What I was thinking of would be something more like this:

sliced apples
filling a fresh pie
Hmmm…Grandma’s oven

fiery orange sun
dips below the horizon
ending a bad day

fiery sun
below the horizon
ending a bad day

I like the last one the most. I can see myself or my friends during the summer working at the waterpark. I can see use waiting for the sun to go down so it will finally cool down that little bit so we can fell that little much better. That or we are having a horrible day where eveything that has gone wrong that day, so we are sitting in my garage having a nice cold beer wathcing the sun go down and the fun begin. Mike M

fiery sun
below the horizon
cold beer in the garage

I really enjoyed this haiku. It reminds me of traveling for business or something like that where you have to drive a distance that’s far, but not far enough to fly. So, I see a businessman all by himself traveling in the company van to some convention 12 hours away. He has had an awful trip, getting lost and getting bad directions from people all day long. He has been traveling for about 12hours and still hasn’t gotten there yet, but he knew he had to be close. The sun goes down right in front of him burning his eyes even with the sun visors down. Once the sun is finally down, he is just thankful that the day is over and soon so will be this car ride. Ben

"ending a bad day" Hmmm . . . Don't mean to be harsh or mean, but this last line can use some freshening & re-thinking & vivid-ing. Please take the challenge of showing this to us uniquely, eh?

warm day
I want summer here

warm day
just a tease . . .
wanting summer now

lady bugs
awake from the dead
to take over my home

"awake from the dead" = non-literal, eh? But it does seem that way sometimes when, after a LONG hibernation the first warm days revise them and they're EVERYWHERE!!! Coincidentally, I wonder if these are the more populous and far less popular lady beetles?

lady bugs
awake from the dead
take over my house


smell of lilacs
walking through a garden
everything has life

Last line is just commentary. First two lines are wonderful image. Needs a new third line.

essence of rain
chillin on the porch
putting it all together

black sky
white poka-dots
some big, some small

a friend’s sorrow
reminds me of my own . . .
silver spring rain

a friend's sorrow
my own . . .
silver spring rain

car ride sing-a-long
crisp air
filling our lungs

walking the aisles
of my youth
fading smell of horse


unreel the hose
my bucket of suds

In the first line, do you intend this as direct address/command/imperative??? That's somewhat unusual but not unheard of in haiku. Rime is a bit unusual, too. Last line--HA! Funny! Light-hearted. GAY (in the old-fashioned meaning of the word).

hose unreeled
bucket of suds

This haiku is interesting because it never really talks about season, however I really get a lot of it. Unreeling a hose really puts you in the setting of summer, it’s a really nice day, so nice you even want to wash your car. So you get all of your soaps and what not, and put your junk clothes on and enjoy the day as you wash your car. What is fun about this haiku though, is that you can also sense the distraction in the person getting the bucket ready. Maybe the day is so nice that he or she is looking at everything but the bucket and so it then overflows. Megan

season’s first carwash
scraping away
my winter travels

I liked this haiku a lot because I can really relate to it. I drive a black Honda Civic, which is a pretty small car. In the winter as anyone from the mid-west knows, the dump tons and tons of salt down for not even that much snow. After the salt has melted all the snow on the streets, the salt still remains in piles and all over the road. So, it really shows up on my car because its white and the car is black. There is really no point in washing it all winter, because ass soon as you pull it out of the wash, you have salt on it again. So in the spring, I always do a full detailing of my car and wash it inside and out and it reminds me how much I hate the winter. Ben

"scraping" is a strong, vivid verb--But . . . is it the preceily RIGHT one? Do you scrape?? I like the thrust of this but question the your choice of "scraping".

sorting and folding
carefully packing away
another season

This is the sort of thing you always have to wait to do in Illinois, because you KNOW that as soon as you put away all your winter sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, the weather will pull a fast one on you and turn cold again. It’s kind of like how the surest way to get a rainstorm is to wash your car. I think it’s some subheading of Murphy’s Law. Finally, though, the time comes when you know it’s safe to put the past season’s clothing into storage for a few months, and that is what the narrator is doing. But it’s always a little bit sad, folding up your favorite sweaters and remembering the moments you had while wearing them. At the same time, though, putting away the winter clothing is one way of saying spring is here for good. Jenny Schultz

I like how you choose to say "packing away" but is "carefully" so strongly implied that you don't need to say it? I like this--it seems quite human & real & well said. I wonder if you'd consider avoiding the "INGness" of three participles by slightly re-arranging, maybe something like this:

sorting and folding
another season
packed away

An added advantage, I now see, is that you save the IMPACT (no pun intended on packed) of "away" for the last position.

Grandma’s rhubarb
I write my name
with a sparkler

Leigh Kitchell

Vivid / lovely / nostalgic / seasonal / just right / Bravo! WOW!, too. This is a winner for my money, the "pick of the litter" on the page, as I like to say it. It feels quintessentially haiku to me in its choice & management of neo-archetypal images—the rhubarb with its bittersweetness & suggestion of argument embedded in one sense of the word; writing your name in fire & smoke that are ephemeral, as we all are, as the celebration suggested is; the independence of thought & movement in the child's gesture. This is a beauty you should be PROUD of. Please find an editor or contest (Henderson) worthy of it, O.K.?

This haiku brings back memories for me of the 4th of July with my dad's side of the family. My Grandma Steimann makes incredible rhubarb pie and used to have two huge rhubarb plants outside of her garage. I always thought it was amazing that something that tasted so good could come from such weird looking plants. I've gone down to Faribault, MN several times for the 4th and celebrated with her and whoever else could make it. The fireworks in Faribault are the best that I've ever seen and last about a half an hour. For a long time sparklers were the only fireworks that were legal for the public in MN, so they were very popular and you could see them all around the lake. Katie S

I like this haiku because it gives you the essence of home and summer at the same time only in the first line. Then it gives the surprise element with writing my name with a sparkler. I think this haiku really brings summer all together. Julia S

Immediately I think of the 4th of July. Working backwards the 3rd line gives me the time and place while the 1st line adds a sense of family and togetherness. The word "sparkler" gives the impression of a warm night, children in the yard playing with sparklers just after desert. I don't think that the readers can really get a clear image until the completion of the 3rd line. Jennifer T

I could relate to this haiku and became very attached to it. My grandparents kept a lovely garden in their old home. They had a large back yard filled with all kinds of flowers, fruits and vegetables. My grandfather used to love making soup from his freshly grown rhubarb and I thought it was absolutely disgusting. I don’t even think I ever even tried it. I was just small and naïve. Also, the sparklers remind me of being in my grandfather’s garden during the Fourth of July with my sister and the neighborhood kids writing our names and making designs in the air. This haiku became very personal and I'm kind of amazed how closely accurate it is to my own childhood memories. Sylvia

a petrified sandwich
wrapped in plastic and napkins
another spring cleaning treasure

"a petrified sandwich" is good seeing/showing. The two words "another" and "treasure" seem like commentary to me; would you consider a revision something like this:

spring cleaning—
wrapped in plastic and napkins

a petrified sandwich

a petrified sandwich
wrapped in plastic
spring cleaning

I think this haiku moment is hilarious, but way, WAY too wordy.

spring cleaning . . .
old napkin reveals
a petrified sandwich

See? This version is MUCH better. Fifteen syllables totally lays the smackdown on twenty-one syllables.

there’s a couch on the porch-spring is here

I wonder if you'd consider a minimal one that seems to contain all the necessary ingrediants?? Something like this:

couch on the porch     spring

You get a bonus of possible punning on spring = a loose or missing or dangling one, as is often the case with those old couches, eh? Excelsior!

I really like this haiku because it work as a one liner. It reminds me of when the weather starts getting better because here in Decatur, everyone sits on his or her front porch during the afternoons and just enjoys the weather. I also like how the dash is put in this haiku in order to symbolize a longer break. Tony

hooves against
the autumn trail . . .
your spirit flying

I love this haiku because it is about horses! I have a love for horses like nothing else in this world. I love the way my beautiful horse Snazzy looks when she is in her pasture, stall, or just on the end of a lead rope. No matter what season it is I ride all the time, but autumn is probably the second best season because we go on trail rides where the colors are so vivid and bright. My imagination just runs away with me, not to mention Snazzy always gets excited at the cool air and she likes to run too! It does feel like your spirit is flying and the wings are your best friend is underneath you. Casey T

hooves against the autumn trail . . .
my spirit flying

hooves into
the autumn trail . . .
Mom's spirit

coming home
this year
two inches taller than her

Good off rime. Ah, yes--you show us one of those rites of passage here, and even though this isn't as richly or specifically imaged as other pieces, you speak to us of HOME & FAMILY here. And who is smaller, who larger? Sister? Mother?

I really like this haiku because it reminds me of a brother and a sister who have been keeping track of their height since they were small. They are now in college and even though they are older, they still come home every Christmas and measure their height. This Christmas, the younger brother is now 2 inches taller than his sister. Tony

it's time!
to ride . . .
my horse so pretty in the pasture

Why the exclaimation mark here?? Last line is rhythmic, cadenced, metered. I applaud the exuberance of this exclamation! As a haiku, goes, it's pretty much commentary, an unusual thing. What about turning your first phrase around a bit for a touch of ambiguity:

riding time
my horse so pretty
in the pasture

OR, of course your horse is pretty, but again, it's sorta rare to say that in a haiku. Any way of SHOWING it instead?

I think it's the use of punctuation that makes this confusing. I would just flip things around a bit. Sylvia

horse so pretty
in the pasture—
time to ride!

it’s time!
to ride—
my horse

By removing the “so pretty in the pasture” part I believe this haiku flows much better, and also the short lines keep the haiku exciting, much like the feeling of the writer must have been on his or her first ride of spring. Also, I just hate the word pretty Casey W!

laying in a row
we drink—
and tan to a golden brown

First line should be actually, probably be "lying". For some people, this is quintessential springtime on a college campus. Can you invest it with some more fresh detail, some uniqueness? (I'll bet you can!)

laying in the grass
we drink in the sun
looking for a golden tan

July sun warming
cheap beer
out fished by a mutt lab

How so? Outfished? HA! I sense a tongue-in-cheek approach here . . . even though I'm not sure what's happening. Does the mutt lab actually catch a fish or two? Does he spoil the fishing by jumping in the water? I think you're on to something here, but I'm not sure you have it Quite yet. Keep at it, O.K.?

holding so tight
best friends
never let go

best friends
holding so tight
never let go

I liked switching the first two lines around because I think the image of best friends needs to be at the beginning. The reader first gets the image of best friends together, and then with the next line, the image of an embrace occurs.

I also chose to write about this haiku as one of my favorites because I related this haiku to my sister. She's leaving for college next year, and I can imagine moving her all in and getting ready to leave. I can imagine hugging her and not wanting to let go to leave her. I really enjoyed the emotion in this haiku and the open-ended image. Anyone could relate to the haiku thinking about a close friendship. Megan M

This haiku is very simple but can put anyone in an assortment of situations. It makes the think of the fact that I won’t see some of my best friends for a long time when I move after graduation. I think of all the fun I had with all of my friends. I reflect on the good times I had in college and how they will never be again. Although this haiku brings about a lot of happy memories; I also become sad when I read it. It is a reminder poem. No matter how an audience hears this haiku it will always take them back in time; one way or another. M

This is a lovely, encouraging belief that is often true, but not always. Beyond the sentiment, though, this IS basically a statement of belief rather than an IMAGED MOMENT in which the larger concept might well be embedded (HAIKU). If this were mine, I'd try to create a scene, a picture, an episode in which this philosophy subtly lives, maybe something like this:

climbing the rockface
best friends
holding tight


after the wake
best friends
holding tight

It may be worth a try, eh?

A STRONG batch--you have the haiku spirit AND you know what you're doing. Bravo! PLEASE keep writing your life! You are very GOOD!

family car
knows the way
the moon leads

LOVE IT! I like how you work your material & line break so this can be read at least two ways. That's what GOOD haiku writers do all the time. Maybe add "our" to the first line. That line just seems a bit truncated & pidgin without a sort of "invisible" qualifier. I'd suggest "the", but then you'd have three too many.

our family car
knows the way
the moon leads

cool cement under my back
over the phone
we name the stars

Leigh Kitchell

Quite wonderful to be in touch this way--under the same stars even though separated by--presumably--some miles. Rich with association & the way our world has compressed space and time. And what better way to communicate than be naming the stars or even inventing names for them?

The feeling of new love is iminent in this haiku. I see to young people across town from one another on a cool spring or summer night talking about the stars, and basically anything so to just keep talking to each other. The reader can feel the cold hard rough surface of the concrete. This is a great spring haiku. Jennifer T

This haiku is cool! I can feel the tiny specks of the concrete on my back. I can feel the chill throughout my body. The sky is clear and there are tons of stars out. I can remember laying on my bed and staring at the stars all the time when I was in high-school. My bed was positioned just right and I could lay and see how many constellations I could find. I can definitely see someone outside talking with a best friend or significant other. I just like the feelings that this haiku throws at you. Jennifer R

in the sculpture yard
the metal is rusted
recent snow melt

snow melt . . .
      rusted metal
      in the sculpture yard

© 2004, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.