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Challenges, Creative Writing

The Afternoon Haiku Challenge

Earlier this morning, my friend Dut mentioned to me that he challenged himself to write five haikus in fifteen minutes, equally motivated by boredom and a desire to enhance his poetry skills. Not one to be left out, I thought this was an excellent idea and took it upon myself to enhance my own burgeoning poetry skills (which are fully on display in this “classic“).

I tweaked the idea a bit, though. Initially, I wrote five haikus in fifteen minutes (three of which are included below), but I also decided to take a theme and write a haiku series on it as well, spending no more than three minutes per poem. I did this once with the colors of the rainbow (Challenge 2 below) and once with a keyword (Challenge 3 below, built around the word “dream”). The results of this little afternoon adventure are below, and I’d love to know what you think, Internet-at-large.

Initial Haiku Series: “Woes of the Working Man”

Today, I question
The wisdom of working away
This short life we lead.

I enjoy my job,
but the greater pleasures call.
Should we not break free?

It seems only right.
Alack, alas. I can’t break
This static system.

Series 2: “The Rainbow Haikus”

Symbol of symbols,
Both war and love; hearts and hate.
Each side stakes its claim.

Sweetest fruit of all,
Wrapped in bitterness you sit,
Anxiously waiting.

My father once said,
“To stand out in a crowd, wear
Your yellow raincoat.”

Off we go, go, go.
Flushed, we spend these lives searching
For the hue of “yes.”

Mother pulls you close.
“Blue is naught but a shade. ‘Tis
Not a way of life.”

The sky wraps you up
In its cool, dark embrace. You
Tumble willingly.

Often forgotten,
Yet never maligned. Violet
Sleeps, triumphant, bold.

Series 3: “I’m You”

Last night, I awoke
Startled, unsure. A figure
Towered beside me.

He bent down to me,
His breath hot and strong. “I’m you,”
He whispered gently.

I recoiled in fear.
The nose, the mouth, the sharp glare
All belonged to me.

A grin broke the calm,
Cutting to my core. His core?
He spoke: “Who are you?”

Confronted at last
By the eternal question,
I was fully stumped.

“No answer?” He smiled.
“I’m not surprised.” His greasy
Words fell like raindrops.

I stepped out of bed;
He took my place. Off to dream.
Adrift, I floated.

I found myself here.
A bed, a man, a new life.
I grinned, large. “I’m you.”

About Cory Hershberger

Neurotic/eclectic critic obsessed with pop culture who enjoys good food, good company, and, most of all, good books.



  1. Pingback: The Haiku Challenge « Revelation in Reverie - May 24, 2012

  2. Pingback: An Attempt at Poetry « A Multitude of Drops - July 6, 2012

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"Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

-Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"




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