Slice of Life: Playing with Haiku

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“Attentiveness is your main tool in life.”
~ Jim Harrison ~

There is a kaleidoscope sitting on my desk this afternoon. When I saw it in the store, it reminded   me of one my grandmother had at her house when I was little. So I bought it. I also thought my nephews would have fun with it when they visit.

When I got it home, I held it up to the light to watch the colorful patterns unfold. The plastic beads reminded me of snowflakes, but because they’re colorful, they also reminded me of flowers. This seemed like the spark of a poem to me.

I wrote several drafts, but wasn’t happy with them. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I read a few poems or flip through books about writing to clarify my thoughts. In her book Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way (Heinemann, 1995), Georgia Heard writes “the beauty of haiku is its brevity; it teaches you to use words more clearly and truthfully.

Here is my attempt to “spin [my] observations…as quickly and accurately as possible.”

Colorful snowflakes
blossom like flowers inside
my kaleidoscope.

This does capture my impression pretty accurately. Haiku isn’t my favorite form, but once I start thinking about them, they pop into my head. Here are a few more:

White birds swoop and swerve
over the river at dawn,
eyes peeled for a meal.

Warmed by bright sunshine
lilac buds grow fat and green,
chasing gray away.

By photo taken by H. Pellikka (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By photo taken by H. Pellikka (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I originally wrote this final haiku two years ago, but I wanted to share it again:

Slices of life:
Pieces of hearts on the page.
Stories connect us.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday throughout the year and every day during the month of March. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

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6 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Playing with Haiku

  1. I’m always amazed by how moving and rich well-crafted haiku can be. “Using words clearly and truthfully”–that is indeed an admirable goal. Thanks for sharing your lovely haiku, Catherine. As we approach the end of this challenge, I’m so glad you reshared the slicing one. Connecting through stories…ahhhhh…

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  2. I, too, really like the final haiku and am glad you decided to give it another run. I enjoy looking back at my random writing over the years and finding a “gem” worthy of sharing. Haiku is a good way to focus when you’re not at the top of your game.

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