Haiku 366-356 to -366b… What?


Somewhere along the line, I miscounted the number of haiku, and I’m ending the year with Haiku 366-366b. I’m certain the actual total is 366 because even leap year doesn’t add three days to the usual 365. I’m resisting my OC tendency to go back and find where the miscount began, so consider this a sort of bonus.


Frankly, I didn’t think I’d see this through. I’m not a poet–even though I had a poem come in second in a contest. I’m certainly no expert in haiku, even if they are one of my favorite forms of poetry. I know I twisted the American form of haiku–three lines, ten to seventeen syllables, about the seasons or time of year–and most of my 366 (or 368) haiku came out as indications of my mood, good, bad or indifferent, for the day I wrote them.

And even though I didn’t post them daily–that became tedious–I did write them daily. On slips of paper, napkins, my Moleskine, on cast-aside envelopes, backs of grocery receipts. I think you can see how I might have miscounted.

Lessons Learned

What did I think of the exercise? First, it reinforced my love of the haiku, which began when I was in high school, even if I’m not good at it.

Second, it made me look at each day differently as I sought to find some aspect of the day to highlight. There were deeply insightful and highly contented moments. One stands out: driving north on I-81 on a crisp, cold morning early in the year, almost alone on the road, and seeing a hot air balloon against the cloudless sky and with the Appalachians as a backdrop. I pulled to the side of the road to enjoy it because I knew it would be fleeting.

Third, the exercise of conforming my writing to a tightly specific structure was educational. About a third of the way through the year, I realized I no longer had to go back and cut syllables to get the haiku at seventeen or fewer; I’d become accustomed to the form without consciousness of it.

There were other lessons: some of my haiku are funny, some sarcastic, mournful or sappy, but they all reflected how I perceived the world around me in the past year.

What Will I Do with Them?

I’m not sure, other than I know I’ll do something with them. I’ve spoken with a friend who has a small publishing venture using hand-operated presses and hand-laid type. Her journals, cards, and small books are beautiful beyond description. Maybe she and I will pick the best of the 366 and publish them.

Whether or not I do that, I’m glad I did this. I’m glad I finished it as I promised. I’ll continue to write haiku, though not under the pressure of one a day. I suspect that will render a vast improvement.

What’s the Next Challenge?

For 2017, I’m thinking of a fifty-two week challenge: one topic/prompt a week, fiction or nonfiction, 500 to 1,000 words, with an invitation for others to do the same in the comments.

I hope you’ll join in. It’ll be fun. I promise. 😉

Finished at Last!

And here are the last of Haiku 366:

Haiku 366-356 (12/19/16)

holiday approaches
mood plummets
what’s all the fuss anyway

Haiku 366-357 (12/20/16)

evening conversation
slow healing

Haiku 366-358 (12/21/16)

last minute shopping
who did I miss

Haiku 366-359 (12/22/16)

escaped domestic violence
what to do
pay it forward

Haiku 366-360 (12/23/16)

preadolescent moodiness
arrives early
mamo fail

Haiku 366-361 (12/24/16)

people ignore
what he taught
on the eve of his myth

Haiku 366-362 (12/25/16)

happy faces
children’s joy
adults exhausted

Haiku 366-363 (12/26/16)

day after blues
a continuance
glad it’s over

Haiku 366-364 (12/27/16)

more friends
more political talk
denial in perpetuity

Haiku 366-365 (12/28/16)

meal for a shut-in
reminder to serve
a view of my future

Haiku 366-366 (12/29/16)

And here’s where it became obvious I’d miscounted somewhere along the line. Oh, well.

a day for pajamas
television rules
relaxed at last

Haiku 366-366a (12/30/16)

a day with writers
too much food
pearls without price

Haiku 366-366b (12/31/16)

death and destruction year
democracy’s fall
we go out whimpering

I live for your constructive comments.

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