In addition to being a high school English teacher (and not just any old high school English teacher, but one who still assigns prodigious amounts of writing and projects, despite the fact that she sees 150 students every day, which is the reason she is home "sick" today and couch-bound, grading through stacks of papers in anticipation of grades being due Thursday) -- in addition to all that, Julie is also the Director of Music at our church. This winter she wrote her 13th report for the annual congregational meeting, and weary of writing pages almost no one ever reads, she did this year's report in three haikus:
styles enliven our worship,
We welcomed Tim Kuntz,
were blessed by rousing jazz, and
still the choir sings.
I herald your efforts to
bring us close to God.
Unless she's telling a story (and she's a very good story teller), Julie is generally a woman of few words. (She would say that I am quite wordy enough for both of us, thank you very much, and she might be right.) I think this is also why she loves Facebook so much, even though she'd rather have her teeth pulled than write a blog. She loves the challenge of saying something interesting and witty in just a few words.
I've never written a haiku in my life, but Julie's report got me thinking. Then at the last Board of Trustees meeting at the kids' school, my colleague Leif (who is clever with words like Julie, and who was, not incidentally, Julie's favorite professor when she got her masters degree, even though he's baby faced and a number of years younger than we are, leading Julie to dub him Professor Doogie back in the day) -- Leif decided that the entire financial report could probably be summed up in a haiku, and whipped one up on the spot. Unfortunately I didn't write it down, so I can't share that, although I do remember that I suggested adding "yo!" in order to add a missing syllable to the last line, which then read "Full steam ahead, yo!"
So, as I lay in bed recently not sleeping, I decided to give it a try. It didn't help me fall asleep, but here is what I came up with (with some recent mental revisions as I was hanging laundry):
Children burst in fresh
Peas planted in the cold earth
Clothes hang on the line
Go ahead, give it a try! If you leave me a haiku in the comments, it will make my day. (If you don't know anything about haiku, you're only one google search behind me. Here's the sum total of what I recently learned: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables, usually some sort of nature imagery. Now you know as much as me.)