100 Days of Haiku


This all started in China. We'll sort of. It actually started in Japan but this story starts in China. 

Brad, my friend Cheryl's brother, lives and works in China teaching English. As part of his curriculum he has his students write haiku. You know, the familiar 5-7-5 that all of us at some point in our public-school-english-class-career have experienced. Anyway, Brad has gathered many of these haiku together and Cheryl sent them to me to check out.

While haiku works as an excellent exercise to teach about syllables, vocab, and poetry, Brad's students' haiku reminded me that these simple poems can be much more than an english class assignment. In his own words Brad says his students haiku are "clever, funny, depressing, confusing, inspiring, and eye-opening." As I read through them I came to agree with Brad and I was surprised by how much these 17 syllable poems conveyed about these students' lives, desires, and experiences. 

I found myself giving emotions and memories to the faceless mass that is often China in my american brain. I hate to say this, but it reminded me that China is full of humans just like me. And I guess that is one of the main purposes of art; to put faces and feeling on statistics and strangers and these haiku definitely served me up a big scope of humanity that has kept me full for the last little bit. 

Here are a few:

Ancient dragon
a group of polite person
her name is China
- Harry, 3B

He shared endless jokes
And I always want some more
But he passed away
- Eva, 4A

You use your strong body
Hold the family on your shoulders
And always be my hero
- Frank, 1B

I’m Sick
Why am I sick now?
The sky is full of thick hate
That’s why i breathe hard
- Sophie, 2B

Love is anywhere
It is not just what you get
But what you offer
-Cindy, 2A

There are so many more that I wanted to share. You should just go here and check them all out.

As I went about my life after reading these haiku I just kept thinking about them and wanted to write some of my own. I started messing around with words and found myself having a lot of fun. Then the idea came to me. Time for another 100 Days Project. Write haiku, at least one 5-7-5, everyday for 100 straight days and see what happens. For those of you who have been following along you know that I have done this once before when I climbed 100 trees in 100 days and I loved that experience. So I’m excited for this one. In fact, I’m just over two weeks into it. If you want to read what I have written so far and catch haiku for the next 80 days or so, you can follow the Instagram account I set up for this project @kennethdalebills

I hope with at least some of the haiku I write I can help people feel the way Brad’s student's words helped me feel. 

Again, you can find the student's haiku here. Take some time and read through them. 

Also, you should check out my friend Cheryl’s art here.

And last, here are some examples of what I have written so far.