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Challenges, Creative Writing

The Afternoon Haiku Challenge

Earlier this morning, my friend Dut┬ámentioned 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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