Tag Archives: haiku

Haiku for Healing: NPM20 Day 23

My students and I are 23 days into our poem-a-day challenge.  While not all have stayed caught up…many have.  It’s such fun to watch their knowledge and skills with poetry and writing grow as they engage with written language  and ideas every day.

Yesterday I invited students to create some Haiku focused on gratitude–something I had experienced through #haikuforhealing a while back.  This seemed like a good time for some healing Haiku.

It was such fun to see what my student came up with.  They posted their Haiku along with a photo on our class padlet.  Here is a small collection of just the poetry–and notice how many students focused on family members as the subject of their poems.

And my own:

Neighborhood Nature
wind brushing my face
dappled light bouncing off trees
nature brings me peace

An Invitation to Connect and Make Poetry: NPM20 Day 2

Last night on our National Writing Project connecting the network zoom call, my colleague and I were asked to facilitate a “making” session–a place for a small group to make something together. And since writing is making, we thought about some way to have our group engage in a small writing piece that collectively made something bigger.

Inspired by the Springtime in Washington Haiku Contest: Poems on a Pandemic article another colleague shared with me earlier in the week, we decided to create a shareable slide deck of our own version of Coronavirus Haiku. We invited participants in our breakout session to create a Haiku (short poem, 17 syllables, 5-7-5 pattern), and then add the poem and an image to a slide in the collaborative deck.

I offered my own as example:

So this post serves as an invitation to all of you. Take a few minutes to write a Haiku or other short poem about some aspect of your coronavirus experience. It can be funny, somber, documentary, whimsical, sad, angry…

You can access the slide deck here: Coronavirus Haiku: Short Poems Documenting Life During a Pandemic. Writing is not only making, it is also connecting. And can be healing as well. A few years back I wrote a post about my response to another blogger and colleague’s invitation to write #haikuforHealing–a balm for the tired spirit. So let’s connect and heal as we write together.

Royal Terns: NPM 2019 Day 26

Though it’s still April, we’re already dealing with what will soon become May gray.  It’s that pervasive marine layer that characterizes spring and early summer here in Southern CA.  But we really can’t complain.  The weather is mild and the ocean always welcomes.

Today I noticed the royal terns hanging out on the beach.  Before I knew what they were, I called them Groucho Marx seagulls.  They have big dark eyebrows and a bright orange beak. Distinctive, distinguished, comical.


Today poem is a Haiku…short and sweet.

Groucho Marx eyebrows

atop orange beak and white wings

shore birds entertain




Plumeria: NPM 2019 Day 11

I know I’ve seen plumeria–those fragrant Hawaiian flowers–and some people even have them growing where I live in San Diego.  But somehow it slipped my notice that plumeria is a tree!  Today we took a walk through a plumeria grove–with many trees bursting with plumeria blossoms.


Tonight, as we celebrated our last night here in Hawaii, my sweet husband decided I needed a plumeria lei.  It was such a treat to feel hugged by the tropics! The warm moist air encouraged the fragrance to emerge, perfuming both me and the air around me. Tonight’s poem tries to capture that moment using the brevity of Haiku.  Here’s my attempt:


Delicate blossoms

Strung with love around my neck

Tropical perfume




Getting Ready for #CLMOOC

While I haven’t participated in #rhizo15, I have been intrigued by the ideas behind rhizomatic learning and the thinking that learners can direct themselves, learn from one another, and transform learning in the process.  (If I have that wrong…someone please correct me!)  And the Connected Learning MOOC, known as the #CLMOOC (massive open online collaboration) is starting up in a few weeks!

So instead of cleaning my house or working on report cards last week, I started playing with some photo apps, creating some photo art.  And then yesterday Margaret Simon initiated a #digilit challenge…with the first week being focused on creating #photoart.  How could I resist?

So I started with the image I had created using the app Waterlogue, creating a watercolor version of the photo I had taken.  Then, because Margaret modeled adding poetry to hers, I decided to create a haiku to express why I had stopped and snapped the photo in the first place.  I shared this image with her on Facebook yesterday.

Preset Style = Natural Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = Normal Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

And then today I decided to do some exploring and mess around with Thinglink to add some other media to the image.  I started by adding a link to the original photo I had taken before turning it into a watercolor painting.  I also decided to add a favorite piece of music, so I linked a YouTube video of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.  And then, just for fun, I added the link to Margaret’s Pinterest page where there are examples of other’s #photoart.  Here’s my result:


I hope you will also join in the fun…create some #photoart…and join us at the CLMOOC starting in June!

Finding Beauty in the Ordinary: July’s Wabi Sabi Photo-a-Day Challenge

Summer is about the ordinary, it’s often the time we rediscover our playful selfs as we encourage children (and maybe ourselves) to run through the lawn sprinklers, lick popsicles from the ice cream truck, and spit watermelon seeds as we sit on the front porch.  We roll up our sleeves, walk barefoot, and sip glass after glass of iced tea in tall frosted glasses that drip, almost crying with the pleasing coolness on a hot, summer day.

I first heard of Wabi Sabi from my friend Susan a few years ago when she asked her students to focus on the ordinary in research projects they were doing in her middle school English class.  I remember how excited she was that they were discovering the beauty in the “old school”—typewriters, rotary dial phones, handwriting…and so much more than I can’t even begin to remember now.  

Wikipedia offers us this definition:

Wabi-sabi (侘寂?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

My photography has heightened my awareness of the complexities of beauty in the ordinary as I have learned to tune my eye to seek out the familiar in new ways.  So when Margit gifted me with the picture book, Wabi Sabi by Mark Weibstein, I found myself thinking about the Wabi Sabi around me.  Weibstein pairs his story of a cat named Wabi Sabi with Haiku, following the Americanized three-line, 5-7-5 syllable pattern, that helps the definition-seeking cat understand its name…and adds this definition, for us slower to understand folks, as well:

Wabi Sabi: a way of seeing the world. It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may best be understood as a feeling rather than as an idea. 

The more I have been thinking about this concept of Wabi Sabi, the more I want to explore it more intentionally through my lens.  

Here’s a few of my ideas…along with a Haiku attempt with each.  Each of these represents my interpretation of Wabi Sabi, an appreciation of the imperfect, often fleeting beauty I find through my lens.  Letting 17 syllables speak for me is a challenge, but an interesting one, creating another layer of Wabi Sabi for me.

Lizard_wabi sabi

A flurry and munch!

Time for posing and sunning

Scaly modeling

Mountains from Iron Mountain

Purple mountains stand

Off in the distance watching

Both desert and beach

broken sculpture ucsd

It’s a hard knock life

Reflecting privilege’s promise

Strong enough to thrive


Kegs and art mingle

Chatting on a street corner

Exchanging cultural news

And to stretch my exploration (and yours too) I have come up with a list of potential prompts or categories to consider.  (I notice that I tend toward nature for my photographic exploration of beauty–these prompts are meant to push my thinking and seeing in new ways.)

1.  On the corner

2.  Nature

3.  People

4.  Celebrate

5.  Inside

6.  Under

7.  Home

8.  Outside

9.  Places

10.  Animals

11.  Food

12.  Personal

13.  Things

14.  Mood

15.  Looking up

16.  Sitting down

17.  Looking down

18.  Early

19.  Growing

20.  Morning

21.  Sound

22.  Growing

23.  Feeling

24.  Places

25.  Night

26.  Light

27.  Hot

28.  Early

28.  Travel

29.  Between

30.  Smell

31.  Icy

So now it’s your turn.  Explore what Wabi Sabi means to you as you examine the ordinary in your life this summer.  After you shoot, post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. Try your hand at an accompanying Haiku and explore how it expands, defines, or changes the meaning of the image you share. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time for some playfulness and experimentation…look for beauty and the unexpected in the ordinary–let it surprise and delight you!  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it.  You get to make your own rules!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!