Tagged: haiku

seventeen syllables: a reflection

glowing jellyfish - baltimore aquarium special exhibitThe Haiku Project has come to an end. As abruptly as it began, my time spent recording each day in seventeen syllable spurts has reached its finale.

With any creative project, especially one that relies on repetition to reach some unknown goal, the most important step is to look back afterward and see what has come of all those little pieces of effort. This has been a more valuable project than I ever would have guessed when I came up with it… lots of aspects turned out differently than I had projected. Overall, the year’s worth of mini-poems shocks me with its depth and significance.

What the Haiku Have Taught Me.

  • Brevity.
    The compactness of a haiku is what lends it all of its depth. Condensing words, feelings, images into such a small space often grants it greater meaning than the same image would have had in another type of poem or expression. The skills developed here can be applied in all forms of writing.
  • Universality.
    With seventeen syllables, it’s impossible to get too personal. Small references to memories I hold will spark entirely different thoughts in anyone else, leaving everyone with a unique and meaningful experience. The haiku lack the specifics that would make them resonate less with their readers; they serve as a jumping off point where everyone can leave with his or her own interpretation and thoughts.
  • Post Value.
    Blogs are instantly more valued when there are posts occurring on a daily or at least regular basis. I had become infamous (at least with myself) for my brief, infrequent postings, and posting every day kept me on track. They were little: seventeen syllables + picture, but they had meaning and were usually something that most people could connect with on some level. My blog traffic increased 58% between December 2008 and December 2009!
  • Journaling.
    Although many of the haiku were much more poetic than a simple summary of my day, they almost always had a direct connection to something that had happened to me. Looking back, I can remember very small experiences that I certainly would have forgotten without these reminders. From the beginning to the end of 2009, I can witness in myself a measurable growth: a year’s worth of maturity. And it’s really nice to be able to reflect on all the little things that would have been lost otherwise.
  • Perception.
    The daily poems forced me to have a greater perception of my daily life. There were many days when I would be sitting at my computer at near midnight, struggling to remember anything significant from my day. Some of these sleepy haiku were of poor quality, but they have all taught me something: there is value and importance in every single day, and if we don’t look for it we’ve wasted that day.

orange jellyfish - baltimore aquarium special exhibit
As a final wrap-up, I want to say that I found this to be a very worthwhile project. It was challenging, because some days just don’t feel like creative days. This was a good daily practice because of its simplicity… even on lazy days I could get myself to spit out my three lines of poem. That’s the key: if you want to challenge yourself by doing something creative daily, by all means, go for it, but don’t make it something too complex or too limited. It has to be something that can grow on itself, not something that will shrink in possibility as time passes. But at the end, it’s amazing to see what can come out of those small time investments once they’ve been added up.


“when you go backwards,
you get more time.. forwards makes
time go double-fast”

(a quote, formatted to fit this haiku, from my wise father, at futsal practice)

wavy tree and bark

It’s a good thing I’m almost done with haikus… if I continued for another year at the rate I’m going, I’d skip every day! I don’t think I skipped a day until at least June… but October and November got bad. I was determined to add in my missing haiku (only three or so now, plus those long-awaited vacation posts!) before the end of the year, but that’s tomorrow. And tomorrow I’m taking a day trip to the Baltimore Aquarium! So we’ll see how it all works out…