haiku from gili air

My brother has spent the last month or so travelling in Indonesia with his daughter.  And while they have not kept a travel-blog per se, they have sent back amazing email updates of their experience: the good, the very good, the odd, and the ugly (title of one email missive).

Haiku is one my favourite writing forms, with its spare economy of words.  I’ve used it to open my writing workshops for teens: they like how quickly they can come up with poems and how the form asks us to give attention to our senses.

David’s latest email told me of a t-shirt he saw that made him laugh and think of me.

haikus are easy
but sometimes they don’t make sense

I laughed out loud.  Then I took my dog for a walk, came up with this – more conventional, nature-inspired haiku – and sent it to him:

cold head: hat needed
trees bow down in the hard rain
Autumn is here now

But that seemed a little pedestrian.  Maybe the last line should have been “hippopotamus” or “electricity”.

cold head: hat needed
trees bow down in the hard rain

Yeah, that’s the ticket.


Later in the day, Kristina and Boyfriend came home from school: she went straight to the… uh, refrigerator, and he went to play Pirates on her computer.  They each pride themselves on being smarter than the average bear.  So I walked in and asked Boyfriend to come up with a five-syllable word.  Just off the top of his head.


He was stuck.  He was frustrated.  He didn’t like being stumped.

I walked down the hall to the kitchen to ask the same question of Kristina.  Before I could form the words she said, “appendectomy”.



listening to: Holly Cupala’s playlist for her upcoming YA novel, Tell Me a Secret, out in 2010  (love the South-Asian inspired cover of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire)

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