Word Association Haiku Challenge

I entered authour Stephanie Mesler's Word Association Haiku Challenge in September, and had NO IDEA we'd be still doing it as we headed into the holidays!  I have to confess that there have been several times when I considered bailing, because of the pressures of other things that needed doing.  But I am glad I have stayed with it.  It is a great mind break and I am really pleased with some of the pieces I have written.

I am reposting everything in reverse order, and giving it its own page since even I have trouble finding it now!  Be sure and visit  WORD ASSOCIATION HAIKU THROWDOWN Challenge to see all the haikus that have come from this and explore Stephanie's site A Poet's Progress

The challenge for Round 20 is to write haiku of any type on the topic of gratitude.  

Inner Life of Gratitude

More than mere “thank you”
honest nature runs deeper
to the grateful heart

Freely accepting
the release of any pride
no shame in the need

Demands are not made
open, felicity shifts
finding the pathway

Then liberated
the soul can sing with relief
for the answer found

The true grateful heart
humbled when grace is given
never walks alone

The challenge for Round 19 is to write compound haiku on the theme of silence. 

The Truest Silence
Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge 2005 by Andrew Dunn

Beyond lack of sound
the absence is pervasive
begs you to listen

The intake of breath
a deafening nothingness
without an exhale

Like a pausing thought
a universe in stasis
the truest silence

The challenge for Round 18 is to write compound haiku using the challenge words capsule, wind, and herb.  Compound haiku are any number of verses in 5-7-5.

Remembering to Walk Forward

“Now” is a capsule,
Marko Samastur from Ljubljana, Slovenia courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

a single blip of the whole
a limited view

Why define your life
with incomplete perspective
only “is” and “was”

It is true the “Past”
can educate the present
but it is behind

No looking backward
driving this very moment
by that which has been

Close your eyes and breathe
let “promise” bare you aloft
fly on its sweet wind

Tomorrow is close
and forever will come too
despite your effort

Inhale what “might be”
an herbal balm to your soul
spark of that within

We are simply “All”
“loser,” “winner” both inside
who is it chooses?

Or does Fate await
in patience, with amusement
while we just struggle

Use what is inside
be both vanquished and victor
each as it comes you

The moment is not
definition of the whole
embrace the large view

Learn from the one chance
while you engage the “what if?”
 “all” you are given


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


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 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”


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

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


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

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

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

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 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 word challenged with was "World & State

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

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

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

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

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

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

 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

 All Haikus (c) Judith Cullen

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