Saturday, September 28, 2013


Stephanie Mesler at  A Poet's Progress  issued an invitation weeks ago for people to participate in her first ever WORD ASSOCIATION HAIKU THROWDOWN Challenge (see her site for the details).  I signed up!  Lots of writing to do these days and haikus help me flex my muscles.

Right off the bat, I received the first challenge round.  Of course I am knee deep in a chicken soup malaise, so getting started was a challenge in and of itself.  But respond I have ... passing the baton forward to the next contestant.  The word challenged with was "Dig"

As some know, I am no longer capable of writing a single piece to a prompt.  Here's the first haikus I wrote, reflecting how I am feeling today ...
A dig in progress, North Pit, Alcoota fossil site, NT ~ by Mark Harmon

Too much to resist
the snide turning of the knife
not satisfying

I know it is there
spoon digs deep into the cup
noodle triumphant!

Here was my official response - "Dig"

Find what lies beneath
mineral, vegetable
or of the spirit

Next Challenge: "Beneath"

And on we gooooooo . . .
The word challenged with was "Mistake"

Here's one:

Really a failure 
or adventures in “what if” 
I meant to do that 

Here was my official response - "Mistake"

Two thousand mistakes 
brought Edison to the light 
incandescent fails

Next Challenge: “Light”

Swing yer partner, change up order . . .
The word challenged with was "Hope"

Bird song announces
new light, new day, a fresh start
warm plate full of hope

Next Challenge: "Plate"

Ah!  Now the attempts to stump begin …
The word challenged with was "Due"

That which is my due
is what I owe to others
kind, open, respect

Do what is due too?
do you believe it is so?
give to give alone

Here was my official response –

Man wanders and walks
guaranteed only a chance
due no time, no thing

Next Challenge: "Chance"

This was a toughy as I couldn't quite decide where to go …
had to quiet my brain and relax - watched Kung Fu Panda, and it worked!
The word challenged with was "Mind"

One upon one more
thoughts multiply, complicate
requires mind stillness

Open up ones arms
embrace all that can be
this no one can mind

Here was my official response –

Deep, swirling green thoughts
imagination run loose
pranks of a dark mind

Next Challenge: "Loose"

The word challenged with was "Win"

The game all around
ambition, intrigue, ego
play is not to win

Luck, chance, or a whim
takes the skill out of the win
so what did you learn?

Here was my official response –
Change of heart and thought
to win as an exclusion
is a state of mind

Next Challenge: "State"

The word challenged with was "World & State

Look around my world
what do I really control
an elusive state

The word challenged with was seven verses total, one each for "Red" "Orange""Yellow""Green""Blue""Indigo""Violet"


A swell of brightness
is passionate one moment
and angry the next

Always looking up
a hue of optimism
or just the surface

Color to cheer you
sunny aspect quickly turns
running away fast

Growing hue of leaf
abundant, verdant but then
jealously guarded

Color me loyal
color me true and steadfast
changing to coldness

Exotic mind hue
intuit and contemplate
it is addictive

Expansive color
imagine all that might be
yet impractical

The challenge word for this round is “breath” or “breathe,” the verb OR the noun (used in any tense, conjugation or declension).  We are challenged to create a single verse haiku using the word, breath or breathe, in all three lines of the poem.

Breathe steady and sure
sound of my breathing with yours
breath stolen by you

Fire flames breathing out
imagine the breath in mind
just embers breathe in

Here was my official response –

Quick and sharp the breath 

breathing in cool, ripe, crisp air
breathe the rich autumn

Challenge word – “ripe”

The challenge word for me this round is “die”

Thousand little ways

can chip away, crack apart

live instead of die

Here was my official response –

Choose how you will die

in pieces, drawn over time

or only the once

A ten verse cycle, with one repeating line each verse.  Theme: halloween or samhain.

Blossom of summer
ripened to rich harvest gold
as the wheel comes ‘round

Damp, cold, and fall mists
creep in with bounty’s decay
as the wheel comes ‘round

Mortality knocks
beckoning our acceptance
as the wheel comes ‘round

Spirits known and not
rise to remind of the time
as the wheel comes ‘round

The veil is thinnest
invoke fire, gourd, spice and spook!
as the wheel comes ‘round

But none may you mock
these souls grimly remind us
as the wheel comes ‘round

Our time too shall come
life season curve to a close
as the wheel comes ‘round

Light the blaze to bright
see past veil, mold, clinging fog
as the wheel comes ‘round

For the wheel yet turns
there is no end, no stopping
as the wheel comes ‘round

Just a moment’s pause
living and dead face to face
as the wheel comes ‘round


Three Verses …Then, Now, Still To Come

The world wide open

endless opportunities

infinite time, then

The relentless clock
marking the death of moments
life has limits, now

Of the years yet passed
felicity or abyss
that is still to come

Write a Haiku for Halloween of any length on the theme "The Horror Lies"

Into The Unknown - Version One

Marching time, to come
so swiftly present then past
what is it we know?

Ours is the control
or so we slyly believe
audacity brims

There is joy and fear
they are always a constant,
possible, lurking

Each moment has both
dark and light, joy and fear
ever in balance

And our mastery
Is an utter illusion
ourselves only fooled

The journey could be
dark or light, we know not,
there the horror lies

 Here was my official response –
"Nebel Alle Fog" by Greg Berdet from Wikimedia Commons
 The Unknown

What we see, we know
what we believe we affirm
confident and sure

If we disagree
we reject, ascribe to fools
again we see, know

In between is gray
it is neither dark, nor light
none are its master

It waits in shadow
unseating our certainly
there the horror lies


The challenge word was "Mystery"

We look at the road
viewed through the lens of desire
seeking certainty

We want in our hearts
the confidence of the known
mastery of change

The journey observes
laughing at all our conceits
the need for control

Fate allies with glee
coiling and uncoiling threads
feeding our desire

They know the secret
that thing which we struggle with
in our need to know

The richest texture
is in the discovering
joyous mystery


The prompt word was “Life” and the haiku had to rhyme. I hate rhyming.  I have a single rhyming gene.  It becomes active for about 48 hours every decade, usually at the most socially annoying moment, and I become “rhyme possessed” for that period of time. As you can see from my submission, this is not one of those times.

Language is not rife
even armed with hunting knife
of good rhymes for “life”


Fours stanzas for Veteran’s Day in an ABA rhyme scheme on the prompt “Experience.”   

The Experience         
from the Department of the Navy via Wikimedia Commons

A reality
one’s self is changed forever
skilled maturity

Trained for all action
committed at high level

Can we understand
their sweat, their blood given us
in a foreign land

Our best acquaintance
ever honor, and duty
their experience


The challenge for Round 17 is to write double haiku using the challenge words above.  Double haiku are two verses of 10,14,10 syllable lines - my prompt “Yearning”


Thoughts that come unbidden to my commute
night time imaginings of the scent and the feel of you
your voice rumbling up my spine, held close, tight

Ghostly hands massaging my aching neck
grasping my arm, entreating me to come away from toil
a thousand sly glances and shared laughter
NOTE:  No more posting and scrolling - as of November 17th the haikus will be posted on their own page - CLICK HERE

 All Haikus (c) Judith Cullen

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