A Dozen Haiku

Detail of a delicate watercolor painting of pale iris flowers and bright green leaves. Text: Something for Sunday; December 15, 2019; A Dozen HaikuNow that we’re into December, I’m taking time to look back at 2019 in various ways. This week I’m taking a look at the haiku I’ve posted on Twitter. There have been hundreds of them, so winnowing it down to just 12 proved quite a challenge. I’m going to cheat by first listing some of the categories I won’t include in the final dozen.

The newest haiku challenge I’ve joined is #ReelKu. It invites people to post haiku based on a particular film, chosen each week by @deft_notes (Jonathan Roman). It only began on 11/17, and I’m proud to say I gave it its name! The current film we’re examining is It’s a Wonderful Life. Here is one of my contributions:

a tiny bell rings
skin tears, muscle and bone shift
white feathers unfurl

I’ve been participating in #SciFaiKuSaturday pretty much since it launched. It’s sponsored alternately by @­_Irene_Dreams_ and @HawkandYoung. They post a prompt, and we write haiku in a science fiction vein based on the prompt. Here’s one I did this year:

robot uprising
not born out of secret lairs
but algorithms

By far my largest set of haiku, though, was written for the #HaikuChallenge, hosted by @baffled. It’s daily, so I’ve written 349 of them so far this year! Looking over them, I see there are some themes that come up again and again. One is words, unsurprising since I’m a writer. Here’s one:

humanity’s first
virtual reality
tales by the fire

Many of them relate to the realities of modern life, good and bad. This one, for instance, is especially relevant now that the holiday online shopping season is in full swing:

we’ve come to expect
our dreams delivered on time
in cardboard boxes

For some reason, lots of the haiku I wrote had to do with birds, including this one:

a seagull sails past
how sad that it’s not aware
how I envy it

The dozen haiku I’ve chosen for this post, though, reflect the changing seasons as I followed them through the year. Here they are. Enjoy!

the cold winter sky
a blue so hard it makes clouds
shatter into snow

as the snowflakes fall
they perform a wild ballet
pas de millions

we turn toward the sun
green leaves, flowers, bees appear
earth’s great magic trick

on the summer blooms
bees bumble, tumble, fumble
prospecting for gold

honey on my toast
every golden drop distilled
from sun and flowers

I sit on the porch
in a sweater, sipping tea
and watch autumn fall

the year grows older
dry leaves are caught in the fence
I am not ready

The big tree out front
dancing in the autumn wind
paints the lawn yellow

on a chilly night
a lone tree takes a bite from
a Halloween moon

leaves blaze and fall
earth draws up her white blanket
and lets her scars heal

in the frozen night
trees filter moonlight through nets
of tangled branches

ice on the sidewalk
hear it crack under my feet
I step carefully

One final note, about the headline image for this post. It is a detail from a painting we purchased in Tokyo in 1984. I’m sad to say that I don’t know the name of the artist, but to me it fits well with the elegance, simplicity, and focus on nature embodied in haiku.

Please note that all starting in a few weeks, I will be posting only on my official website: www.celiareaves.com. I hope to see you on my new site!

Thank You Haiku: Big Love for Tiny Poems

A tiny poem
Illuminating a thought
In only three lines

One year ago today I discovered a daily hashtag game on Twitter called the #HaikuChallenge, hosted by @baffled. First, a word about hashtag games for those who are unfamiliar. Someone posts a prompt or subject and invites others to post related tweets with a common hashtag (a string of words or letters that begins with #). Anyone who is interested can search for that hashtag to find all the related entries. Every day, @baffled posts a single word and invites people to create and post haiku using that word. For the last year, I’ve been a daily contributor.

Haiku is an ancient Japanese poetry form. A traditional haiku creates a sensual impression of a fleeting moment in nature in just 17 mora, the equivalent of syllables in the Japanese language. The English version is most commonly rendered in three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, though there are other variants.

I confess to not being a big poetry person. Haiku, though, are small enough that I can get grasp them, but challenging to do well and offering endless chances to improve. Some days my poems come out clumsy and dull, landing with a thud. Occasionally they strike a spark and take off, soaring. Once in a while they make me laugh. Mostly they plod along, serviceable but not memorable. The main thing they are, though, is constant. At least one haiku every day (and three on Saturdays last April).

I’ve been involved in haiku in three ways.

  • I discovered the A to Z Blog Challenge back in 2016. It involves posting 26 times in April each year, with each post linked to a letter of the alphabet. I’ve posted a haiku puzzle for each day of the challenge every year since (this year’s puzzle series starts here).
  • As I mentioned above, I stumbled on a daily haiku challenge on Twitter on twitter just a year ago and jumped right in. I’m proud to say I haven’t missed a single day since: a solid year of one haiku a day, without fail, no matter what else is going on. Some people meditate; I write haiku. If you look in the widgets on this blog, either on the right side of your monitor or down on the bottom of your phone screen, you’ll find my twitter feed, and somewhere in the last day you’ll see a haiku from me.
  • Then last November, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a new challenge appeared on Twitter. #ScifaikuSaturday is hosted in alternate months by either @HawkandYoung or @_IreneDreams_. This challenge combines two of my loves: science fiction and haiku. It’s only once a week, which means there have been 29 of them as of yesterday, and I haven’t missed a single one.

This week I’m celebrating my love affair with haiku: four years of the A-Z challenge, a full year of the daily #HaikuChallenge, and six months of the weekly #scifaikuSaturday challenge. It keeps me grounded, and keeps me writing even when everything else dries up. Thank you, haiku.

So, how about you?
What’s the creative outlet
That keeps you going?

A-Z Reflection #atozchallenge

Another year, another set of haiku puzzles for the A-Z Blog Challenge! I had a lot of fun, as usual, and was delighted to be able to participate in the challenge’s 10th year anniversary. First, some stats from my posts for the challenge. (If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.)

  • The haiku with the most likes was for the letter F, at 18. I guess the idea of family really resonates with people, which is no surprise at all.
  • The haiku that generated the most comments was for the letter B, at 19. Who doesn’t love birds!

In honor of the 10th anniversary, this year’s reflections can include answers to 10 questions, so here goes:

  1. What did you love about the challenge this year? The same thing I love every year. I love writing the poems and creating the puzzles, and I really love the interaction with those who visit and comment.
  2. What would you change about it? I can’t think of anything to change. It worked really well for me, as a blogger and a reader.
  3. What was the best moment for you during this year’s challenge? My best moment happened every day, when I went to my blog and found likes and comments from my readers. My other best moment was visiting another blog and finding something that made my day. Shout out to Dena Pauling, who also based her challenge on puzzles, and included some of my geek favorites and taught me I’m really bad with plants.
  4. What is the best comment your blog got during the challenge, and who left the comment? So many to choose from! I loved it when people responded to my puzzles with creative sideways answers. Here’s an example. The answer to my haiku for the letter G was Guest, and Sue of Sue’s Trifles responded, “I guessed that one quickly!”
  5. Will you do the challenge again? Absolutely!
  6. Was it well organized and were the hosts helpful? (Did you fill out the after survey?) Yes, the whole operation is organized very well. I enjoyed the posts the hosts created on the A-Z blog, and loved that they played along with the challenge. Yes, I filled out the survey.
  7. How did you and your blog grow, change, or improve as a result of this challenge? Did you find new blogs out there to enjoy? I can’t say I broke any new ground, since this was my fourth time through the challenge. I grew my readership, though, gaining 34 new followers (Hi, everyone!). This year was crazier than usual due to some personal things in my life, I didn’t get to visit as many other blogs as I would have liked. That’s definitely a goal I’ll work harder on next time.
  8. Were you on the Master List? (If you did the challenge last year, was it better this time without the daily lists?) Yes, I was on the Master List, and used it to find new blogs to check out. I can’t say I ever really used the daily lists before, so I didn’t miss them. The Master List worked out well for me.
  9. Any suggestions for our future? Just keep it up. I would miss this challenge if it weren’t there
  10. Any notes to the co-host team? A word of thanks to Jeremy for all his hard work on the graphics? Here’s what I have to say: Whoo hooo! Great job. *loud clapping*. Thanks so much for doing this. The graphics look great and the hosts do a wonderful job. Thanks.

We’ve come to the end
Of the A to Z Challenge
For another year

Thanks to everyone
Who worked to make it happen
And those who stopped by

It’s been fun for me
I hope you’ve had fun as well
See you all next year!

Z Haiku #atozchallenge

Start going one way
Then take a new direction
Just go back and forth

Here we are at the end of the A to Z Blog Challenge, with the haiku puzzle for the letter Z. One last time, try to guess the word that starts with Z that is suggested by the poem. Figure it out? Let us know by posting your answer in the comments.

After today, the challenge is over for another year. If you want to see all of this year’s puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1. Hungry for even more? You can also look back at my first set of haiku puzzles from 2016, my scifi/fantasy haiku puzzles from 2017, and the haiku puzzles from last year.

Thanks for taking this journey through the alphabet with me. We now return to our regularly-scheduled programming of photography, writing, reviews, and general commentary on life. I hope to see you around again soon!

Y Haiku #atozchallenge

Let’s be positive
Stop saying NO all the time
We’ll say this instead

We’re back for the letter Y on the A to Z Blog Challenge, and here’s my haiku puzzle of the day. Can you figure out the word that starts with Y that this haiku suggests? Once you get the answer, tell us in the comments.

If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.

X Haiku #atozchallenge

It’s an instrument
In the percussion section
Play it with mallets

Today on the A to Z Blog Challenge the letter is X, and here is my haiku puzzle for the day. The little poem up above should suggest a word that starts with X. Can you figure out that word? Great! Tell us your answer in the comments.

Since the challenge takes Sundays off, there won’t be a new puzzle tomorrow. Come back on Monday for the haiku for the letter Y. See you then!

If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.

W Haiku #atozchallenge

Just look at the time!
This is a word for looking
And for the timepiece

Welcome to another day in the A to Z Blog Challenge! Today is devoted to the letter W, so I have a little haiku poem up above that suggests a word that starts with a W. Can you guess what that word is? Once you have an idea, let us know about it in the comments, and thanks for visiting.

If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.

V Haiku #atozchallenge

Every now and then
We need some new scenery
A chance to get away

The letter for today’s A to Z Blog Challenge is V, and I’ve got another haiku puzzle for you. Your task is to figure out what word, starting with V, is suggested by the haiku up above. Once you get the word, post your solution to the puzzle in the comments!

If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.

U Haiku #atozchallenge

Sadly, it’s not real
That imaginary place
Where all is perfect

It’s another day in the A to Z Blog Challenge, and the letter for the day is U. Can you figure out the word that begins with U that is suggested by today’s haiku poem? Once you’ve got it, tell with world by posting your answer in the comments!

If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.

T Haiku #atozchallenge

Made from earth and rain
A tower of wood and leaves
Reaching for the sun

Hello, again, and here’s the entry for the letter T in the A to Z Blog Challenge. My entries are haiku puzzles that suggest but don’t include a word that begins with the letter of the day, and your job is to figure out what the word is. Can you guess the word starting with T that the poem above implies? Tell us your guess in the comments!

If you want to see all my puzzle poems from the beginning of the challenge, click here to go back to the Letter A on April 1.