Global Haiku • Spring 2021
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Linnea Nordstrom



After the Storm

Linnea Nordstrom

This haiku collection, titled “After the Storm” is a collection of my favorite haiku that remind me of one of the most beautiful things about the art of haiku— capturing the beauty in the smallest things. The haiku in “After the Storm” have an overarching theme that some of the smallest things in life can bring joy and comfort after a “storm,” whatever that may be. Although we all face challenges, we have the choice to accept that sometimes our storms are what help us grow, and we can be resilient, we can be joyful, and we focus on each little thing that makes life beautiful.


It is so hard to describe how much my life has been enriched by learning more about the art of reading and writing haiku. I first have to start out by sharing that I had never even heard of haiku before coming to Millikin and hearing about it from my friends who were taking the honors seminar. My first introduction to reading haiku was from reading the haiku of a former honors haiku student, Madeline Wilson. Her haiku are so well-written, and they allowed me to see how such strong feelings and special moments can be beautifully captured in just three short lines, allowing people to connect to them in their own unique ways.

Through taking this class and having the chance to learn more about the art of reading and writing haiku firsthand, I have learned to be more creative and more confident in some of my writing. I have not done a lot of creative writing prior to this class, and I have always thought that writing any kind of poetry takes a lot of vulnerability and bravery. However, I was able to easily connect to the simplicity of haiku as well as the ambiguity that allowed others to find meaning and value in my haiku based on their own interpretations and backgrounds.

I have also felt enriched by learning the art of reading and writing haiku because it did create an outlet for me to process many different feelings and turn them into a form of art. I was also able to slow down and appreciate the small things around me more, as I often took the time to observe the things, experiences, and memories that I encountered throughout the semester that were special or important to me, and I used those things to inspire a lot of my favorite haiku.
Something that the art of haiku has taught me that I believe will be of value in my professional life as a future high school English teacher, is that haiku is such a fun type of poetry that I could see students really engaging with. I think that they would really develop a greater appreciation for poetry if they had a unit where they learned about and wrote their own haiku. Taking this class has given me the knowledge and resources that I think could definitely prepare me to teach a short haiku unit to some of my future students to get them interested in creative writing. Hopefully, this art will be something that students will connect to that may help them learn to appreciate their education more and feel excited to come into the classroom everyday.

I have also realized that writing haiku does not have strict rules, and so I can also have a lot of fun with it, which has been and will continue to be of value in my social and personal life. Some of my favorite haiku that I wrote this semester that I felt most excited to share with people were some of the funny, sarcastic haiku that I wrote. Just recently, when I asked a couple of my friends to read through my haiku journal and select their favorites, they kept laughing and reading their favorite funny, lighthearted haiku aloud to the room. I always love a good laugh and good smile, and I always love to share that with others, so I hope to continue writing haiku as a way to bring me joy and laughter when I need it. Linnea Nordstrom, Spring 2021

One of my favorite haiku I wrote this semester, which I chose for my signature haiga is:

monarch butterfly
lands on her shoulder

Throughout my life, especially in the last few years, I have become so strong and endured so much personal growth and truly learned to be resilient in times of weakness. As I have mentioned many times this semester, I have a love for nature-related haiku, and they bring me a sense of peace and joy. Including the imagery of the monarch butterfly paired with the word resilience was a way for me to express how the butterfly (which traditionally symbolizes the soul of a loved one, hope, endurance, and/or life) landing on my shoulder is like a reminder that my strength and my resilience is noticed, even in moments when I might not feel like it. Linnea Nordstrom, Spring 2021

tears brushed away
He will turn her grave
into a garden

This is another one of my absolute favorite haiku that I have written. This semester, I dealt with the unfortunate passing of my grandma, who I loved so dearly. I found it really interesting how writing haiku was a way for me to process the emotions of losing her and the feelings leading up to her passing. My faith is very important to me, and there is a contemporary Christian song that I love that I started listening to constantly leading up to my grandma’s passing, and it is called “Graves into Gardens.” I find the lyrics so beautiful and so comforting, and when my grandma passed, although I was so sad, I was also at peace because I had so much faith that God had healed her pain, and I just kept thinking, “He will turn her grave into a garden,” just like it is said in the song. I knew that people would bring her flowers and that her memory would live on for many generations. Linnea Nordstrom, Spring 2021

cracked sidewalks
my mother
deserves better

This was one of my first haiku, written for the childhood memory haiku prompt, and it was one of my favorites from the semester. As you can probably tell, this haiku was inspired by the phrase that was always thrown around when I was a kid, “Don’t step on a crack, or you’ll break your momma’s back.” Even now that I am an adult, sometimes when I am walking and step on a crack, I will randomly remember the phrase and then start watching my steps because I think to myself “I can’t break my mom’s back, she deserves so much better than that.” So in a way, this haiku was supposed to be lighthearted and funny because it captures the idea that I still sometimes think of the childhood phrase, and take it seriously, when I notice a lot of cracks in a sidewalk. It also was meant to have some sweetness and sincerity to it because I have a close relationship with my mother and care about her a lot, which I tried to capture in this haiku. Linnea Nordstrom, Spring 2021

cobblestone road
walking along
through a dream

This was also one of my top favorite haiku. This one was inspired by my trip to Scandinavia for the Norse Mythology course that I took last spring. I have always dreamed of traveling all over the world, and I was so grateful that my first trip abroad was so special, and I was able to visit Sweden, which is where my family is from. Our Swedish heritage is something we honor and celebrate, especially during the holiday season, so it was truly a dream to be able to visit the country where my ancestors once lived. While I was there, a small detail that stood out to me was the cobblestone roads. We did a LOT of walking during the trip, but even something as simple as the act walking from place to place was still something unique and special. Linnea Nordstrom, Spring 2021

broken umbrella
raindrops and teardrops
on my cheeks

This is one of my favorite haiku that I forgot all about, and it actually never made a kukai list and was not included in my haiku collection, but it is very special to me, and I wanted to write about it. A lot of the haiku that I wrote this semester were inspired by just looking at something nearby like a photo or an object, and sometimes just a core memory of my life, and taking that thing and seeing how it can inspire a haiku. For one set of open topic haiku, I sat at my desk while writing them, scanning the photos on my bulletin board in front of me, and seeing what three line stories I could pull from my favorite photos.

There was a photo of me and my best friend standing in front of The Bean with our umbrellas during a spontaneous trip we took to Chicago, which ended up being one of the most special days from my college experience. I fixated on the umbrellas and I was reminded of another trip I took with some friends in high school and a moment when I tried to open my umbrella in the pouring rain, and it broke and started to fly away in the rain. Everyone just ended up laughing hysterically at the unfortunate circumstances until we were brought to tears. So the teardrops mentioned in the haiku were actually referencing tears of laughter that were joining the raindrops on my cheeks that day. I also just wanted to write a haiku that captured the feeling that many rainy days that I have encountered have actually led to some of the most fun and special memories. Linnea Nordstrom, Spring 2021




trees made of glass
I wish
it was June

star-speckled sky
dancing in the moonlight

after the storm
an apology
made out of sunshine

one look at the wildflowers
she forgets
her own beauty

looking up from
the winding country road
a constellation I’ve never seen

raindrop on the window
a race
I cannot win

mug of coffee
to do list
half done

a person
     is a person
          is a person

the willow tree
we count our blessings

gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
please do not give her

child’s eyes
gazing out the window
. . . cloud factory

© 2021, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.