Rengay Favorites Spring 2008

Global Haiku Tradition • Rengay Attempts 1, Spring 2008

Untitled Rengay

the lantern door
in the wind

a moth
lands on top

the bird’s eye
this beacon

the moth
does its dance
around the flame

the hinges screech
and hide the swooping

the lantern
the moth is gone


the cement walls
shadows fill the halls
in my “home”

I walk out the door
Shilling in plain view

passing the quad
I duck
as a frisbee whizzes by

art students draw trees
around KFAC

as I walk to class
a five foot picture
stares me down

in the cafeteria
I daydream about Quiznos


logging in
immediately I update
my status

application after application
I deny them all

pissed off
I begin to poke
my newest enemy

embarrassing photo
I un-tag myself

a status update
Jessica loves her hair
what a weirdo

an awkward comment
from my facebook stalker


on the cusp of summer
computer’s glare
burns my eyes

lab empties out

pencil lead breaks—
waking me from my stupor
dawn approaches

intoxicated by lack of sleep
I stumble to the printer

birds squawking
my bed calls louder
8am comes too soon

the day looms before me
as classes begin


Lindsay Scully, Alyssa Thompson, and Pat Thacker (6)

Even though the structure may be wrong in this one, it’s the one that I enjoyed the most. The two main reasons are because I like the word choice in it and I can FULLY relate. I also like the “aswordsbegintoblur…” Nice visual way of bringing the reader into the speaker’s state of mind. Most of the linking within this rengay is content linking that just continues the plot of this day being a horrible one for the haiku’s writer. Other than that there’s not too much for me to analyze in the way of linking I don’t think, and if there is I’m ignorant to it. Gordon

I liked this rengay, because it is so true for every student on campus. The end of the year is coming and the professors are assigning the big papers. I know that I am one of the students that go to bed at 3am and wake up at 7:15 to go to class. Content links and word links come up well in this rengay. They show how demanding papers can be on students as they try to finish the school year, while summer is staring them in the face. I think aswordsbegintoblur is a great word link. The links all work together to show the harsh life of a college student. Elise

31 Flavors

bells jingle—
I enter
the ice cream parlor

I go directly to
the delicious rocky road

one scoop
two scoops
my mouth waters

I begin to daydream
about butterscotch topping

golden butterscotch
marries with the chocolate syrup

with a cherry on top it equals

A Passage

on the desk
clean paper

fresh, crisp, and ready
but a blank, vast void

new beginning
interesting start
never judging what you write

so secretly I judge, gossiping
both fact and fiction to you

your letters
stationary leaves covering
my floor

right… write a rite;
a passage, an idea for you


Andy Jones, Russ Boulton, Erika Davidson, & Katie Myers-Wieses

I really like this rengay because my idea of what it was changed throughout the haiku. At first I thought it was someone who was writing a paper and just couldn’t think of what to write. They sat staring at the clean paper on their desk. Then, around the third section when it says, “never judging what your write,” I thought of someone reading someone else’s paper and editing it. Finally, around the fifth section, I thought it was about someone reading someone else’s love letters and trying to decide what to write back to them. Erin

I really like this rengay because of the open ended beginning. Nothing is given away too soon, and while a story continues with this rengay as the reader I am not forced to think in one direction, instead, I am gently guided, and not robbed of my imagination. Furthermore, I like that I can feel and smell the cleanliness of the new paper—which almost stands for something else, giving the blank paper a bit of a “word link” appeal—the blank paper also serves as a blank slate for a person a new beginning. Again a play on words is made in the line “stationary leave covering my floor.” The line gives the paper more life, making a picture of falling leaves, yet they are not leaves, they are paper! Lastly, I like the use of the three “right…write a rite” that is a fun play on words and it leads into an ending for the rengay that keeps the energy flowing and doesn’t force the reader to an abrupt stop. Fun. Kersten

I really like this rengay because my idea of what it was changed throughout the haiku.  At first I thought it was someone who was writing a paper and just couldn’t think of what to write. They sat staring at the clean paper on their desk. Then, around the third section when it says, “never judging what your write,” I thought of someone reading someone else’s paper and editing it. Finally, around the fifth section, I thought it was about someone reading someone else’s love letters and trying to decide what to write back to them. Erin


falling leaves cover
etched in cold marble

birthday wishes
that won’t come true

Mom’s teardrops cascade
dampening freshly turned soil
puddles of pain

children’s laughter
echoes from the water
one voice silenced

sunny day…
other mothers at the park with their children

another year
our grief as permanent
as etchings in marble


Alyssa Thompson & Lindsay Scully

I really like the rengay called graveside. I think that connections of a mother being reminded of her lost child by the birthday and by other happy mothers is excellent. Also, the visuals and tone of the poem work really well together. The part about puddles of pain and freshly turned soil is very descriptive. It gives the creepy feeling of death and grief that most people have experienced and puts a pit in my stomach. The word choices and arrangement for this rengay were excellent! Nicole

eHarmony Evils

blind date
the “happenin’ stud”
older than my father

bewildered expression as he
flashes a dentured smile

hopping into his Cadillac
we are cruising-
35 miles per hour

senior discount
at the Old Country Buffet

Vietnam vet
We discuss Iraq-
not so different

front porch farewell
his Old Spice lingers

Untitled Rengay

an error sign
I grab a hammer
and threaten my computer

it bleeps and bleeps
to save its life

I try again
and again…
but to avail

Error 10222565952415
Log book

enough is enough
I take a swing

the keys spell
“I wuved you”
as they land.

Hungry College Students

doing homework
two students are
attacked by hunger

they think about
what to eat

traditional meal
for college students—

call in for take-out
one large pepperoni pizza

walking to
conversation carries on

the speed of light equals
frequency times wavelength

Untitled Rengay

homework to do—
Lord Of the Rings

It’s getting late

but it was just

should have slept
last night

slept at 1
awake at 8

lord of the rings marathon
homework tomorrow


Brett Coffman & friends

I really liked this rengay because it reminds me so much of myself. I am terribly good at procrastinating when I have a lot of things that I need to do, especially homework. My favorite part of the rengay was:

but it was just

There have been way too many times when I will stop to take a two minute break and it turns into being closer to two hours before I realize what has happened. Sometimes I swear time speeds up. Time is a major content linking theme in this rengay. The fact that time is moving too quickly and is being wasted is built up as the rengay progresses. Jessica

Untitled Rengay

the jeep is bumping
jock rocking to jock jams
T1 connection

grinding when i'm rhyming
assignment over due

white socks, shorts, and a tie
I forgot

double bacon cheese
Whitecastle beckons

forty eight hours over due
procrastination runs wild
I am my father's child

teacher might be pissed
fuck spring

Return to Manzanita

ocean mist
swirls through my skirt…
seagull calling

waves crashing surround my feet
swirling sand slips inbetween my toes

tiny seashell
peeks out
to say hello

I dip and curtsey to a gracious God
embrace this moment forever

humming voices
touch the wind
sisterhood reunites

in holy hymns
of laughter


Kersten & Kathleen Haile (6)

This rengay is my favorite because it awakens all my senses. The imagery and emotion it evokes inside me is incredible! I feel that this rengay does an excellent job of creating an entire story that builds with each stanza, and it changes and progresses, rather than staying on one image or topic the entire time. The title really intrigued me, because “Manzanita” rolls off the tongue and sounds like an exotic and mysterious place. The authors used a nice balance of the several sensory devices, the visual (ocean mist), the sense of touch and feeling (swirls through my skirt), and the audible (seagull calling). The authors use lots of alliteration, such as “swirling sand slips” or “holy hymns,” that make the rengay pleasing to the ear. I love how it goes from talking about a tiny seashell to something huge and infinite, such as God. This transition from speaking about a single person’s experience on a beach to a special experience between two sisters is a pleasant surprise. This transition sets an entirely new mood and twist to the “story.” The juxtaposition between Earth and Heaven, sea and sky, flows together perfectly! Alyssa

David Hume’s Rebuttal

unpractical and
just a hobby—
abstruse philosophy

in my mind

no job
just the metaphysics
of causation

struggling student
in the corner

his mouth
foreign thoughts

the pre-pharmacist
plots his death


Aubrie Cox & Kersten Haile



August night—
I anxiously await
for happy birthday phone call

midnight brings
the end of us

your photograph brings
memories and tears

first date
we smile nervously
over dinner

the first rose
as shriveled as our love

day breaks
sunshine rays bring
new hope


sulfur and
perspiring pop cans—
smoky colored sky

hazy sunset distant
heralds the march of ants

checkered battlefield
of the charred hot dogs
sparks fly

survival of the fittest
silently observed

lying upon dry grass
scent of memories

roman candles
barrel into the sky


Aubrie Cox & Wayne (5)

I like this rengay because it is primarily content-linked. The progress of the night on the fourth of july is very apparent. I also enjoy the emotion link present in the phrase “lying upon dry grass..fragrant..scent of memories”. I think it is extremely evocative and reminds me of a blissful state in the summertime. The word link of the charred hot dogs shifts the focus from the sunset toward to hot dogs. The reader can smell and taste the dogs right off the grill. Overall I like this rengay because it is something that can be related to. Every person has experienced the Fourth of July-the fireworks, the hot dogs, the familiar smells. Some of the words that the author selected are absolutely perfect for the rengay. I love “sulfur and perspirating pop cans”-it is the absolute perfect phrase for the rengay.  Lindsay

Moving On

shooting star
she wishes
with her eyes closed

eyes open
she sees reality

the perfect past
wishes can’t come true

unknown future
fears of what may be

unable to let go
of someone in the past
an impossible obstacle

heart broken
with lost pieces


Nicole & Jill (4)

I like this rengay so much because of the mixture of dreams and reality. The first haiku speaks about optimism and wishes. When reading it I especially think about the girl being younger and about to enter a relationship. When paired with the second stanza, the level of optimism is goes down and sad reality steps in. This mood stays with the rest of the haiku as a whole, but the mood switches from optimism to pessimism with almost every stanza. Jason

Night Love

evening candlelight
eyes meet
in lusty shadows

warm room
clothes fade away

skin to skin
temptation stirs
this is love

temperatures rise
intensity increases

beads of sweat
legs intertwine

drifting to sleep
dreams of forever


Nicole, Jill, Becca, and Scott (5)

Sad Day

the only one
eating sweet tarts

gray clouds
darken spring blossoms

children assemble
bowing their heads
a good friend lost

the adventure has taken
its first victim

safe at last
cotton stuffing
reflects the emerging sun

walking away
Teddy’s last goodbye

Untitled Rengay

glowing eyes
wicked grin

burning candle
ugly orange

black cat
wanders past

witch flying
straw broom
past yellow moon

black cat's
home tonight

evil cackle
boiling cauldron
closing door


Gordon Gilmore & Amber Steidinger

Since it is untitled, I'll try to give it a name. I think a good one would be 'Singing Frogs.' I really liked this one because I immediately saw images of Halloween night in Cerro Gordo. I also saw various Halloween and fantasy movies. I guess what I liked most about this rengay was that it wasn't as much of an extended sentence - I liked the broken-ness of the phrases. Michelle

Nature Ignites

warm sunshine
attacks the winter—
bird chorus

tree branches
lift to the heavens

muddy ground
new footsteps
between us

twitching nose
and tulips

dinner bell
from the porch
mom calls

bouncing pigtails
and flying muck


Aubrie, Kersten, Michelle, Elise

The reason why I liked this rengay the most was because for me it told the best story. This was one of the better ones that each link adds it’s own twist to the previous story; however, each link still connects to the previous link and the following link. Not only are the links individual yet converging to tell one story they combine all the components of a good haiku. There is the imagery, different sounds that you can imagine, different scents that run through your head when you read it, and different aspects of nature. Amanda

The Epic of Homework

Sunday afternoon
the warm sun
dancing through my window

stuck in the room
with homework

working for hours
I decide to break
and play

only for an hour
but the hour became three

frustrated with myself
I come back
to my roommate making out

my homework is delayed
a few more hours

Untitled Rengay

broken wings
fallen olive branch
peace no more

a light falls on
this broken grave

memories rise
like spirits
from the cold earth

droplets dance-
a frozen waltz
in the dove’s eye

a funeral for a friend
this weekend

in the casket
frozen too

Field of Dreams

summer wind
dandelion parachutes
dance away

tranquil seeds
helicopter to the ground

open meadow
the sun blesses
a perfect picnic

juicy watermelon
leaves sticky hands

time to leave
the child searches
for the perfect blossom

making a wish
she spreads her dreams in the field


Jason Chmiel, Matt Chmiel, & Nicole Zabrinas (10)

"Field of Dreams" was my favorite from the rengay (although closely followed by the untitled one that begins "an error sign"). This one had a mood that carried throughout the entire poem that worked well, for at the end there is a sense of release, much like the dandelion seeds floating away. There are lots of sensory triggers within all the links, particularly visuals, then the sensation of sticky hands--I love that. There's something . . . well, magical about this, which I realize I say about a lot of haiku I like, but it reminds me of the haiku about the tiny town--kingdom of the tulip haiku that someone wrote (the name alludes me at the moment). A child's innocence makes anything (even allergens), beautiful. I imagine a big open sky in the middle of nowhere. The field is endless in one direction, perhaps boardered by pines in another. The family drove out there in the family truck to have a picnic where no one could disturb them. Aubrie

I liked this rengay because it seemed to flow really well. Each haiku kind of builds from the one before it, in particular each haiku about dandelions and their seeds like 1-2 and 5-6. I also liked all the senses that were employed: sight, touch, and taste. Andy

© 2008, Randy Brooks • Millikin University • last updated: April 16, 2008
All rights returned to authors upon publication.