Home Russell County NOTE TO SELF: Haiku – The Art of Remembering

NOTE TO SELF: Haiku – The Art of Remembering

Note to Self
Downey Eye Clinic

If you’re like me, you remember writing a haiku in school and having no idea why they were written or what they are. Haiku are short, three-lined poems with 17 syllables. Five syllables on the first line, seven syllables on the second line, and five syllables on the last line.

Taking the trash out
Under the cover of stars,
I am only dust

That little poem may seem short and useless, but it has very deep implications for me. I wrote this after taking out the trash and looking up at the stars. Taking out the trash is one of the most mundane jobs and people hate doing it. Yet, even in the most mundane moment, I found myself part of something bigger and more beautiful than we can really grasp.

Looking up at the stars, like tiny flakes of dust scattered across the immense emptiness, I saw my own smallness. When I got to the end of my driveway, I realized just how small I was. I also realized just how small these stars and planets, which are all probably larger than the Earth that I stood on,  seemed to me. I was a small part, but I was still a part. I was only a drop of water, but I was still the ocean. Haiku was the way I grafted that idea into my memory. It was a small snapshot of a small moment from a larger picture. I felt like nothing more could or needed to be said.

Haiku mark the moment in time and allow me to expand on it later or use it to remember the past.

We traveled around
The past cleaning off the stones,
Dust falls to the ground

Once again, I am playing with the idea we are dust that returns to the ground. I wrote this after going from town to town across the state cleaning off gravestones on Memorial Day. Dust literally falls to the ground on top of the grave, where dust went into the ground.

Haiku are also an excellent way to write short love poems that mark a feeling and a moment. For me, they are also like puzzles. I have something I want to say. How can I make it fit inside this 5x7x5 format? There’s an art to it. I wrote this waiting in an OR room where my wife, Katie, and I worked in surgery at the time. Heart, veins, blood, and anatomy were common language between us. It is a shared synergy of our life together.

My heart beats with you,
Love runs red throughout my veins,
Making me alive

The beach is a place of diverse experience. There was a crowd and I felt reflective amongst the radios, children crying, parents worn down, people sunning, runners, swimmers, and retired couples reading. We were all in the same place at the same time and were all having different experiences of what it was like to be there at once. I thought that the same is always true. We can be completely fine in a room while others around us are having a completely different experience.

Fifty people here
Having fifty different

Haiku help remind me to be mindful of the mundane and that every moment has the potential to be beautiful. See if you can notice a moment that seems beautiful, for whatever reason that’s important to you, and work out a Haiku. Don’t worry about whether you think they’re “good.” They are good, if you like them, and they help you remember that moment. Feel free to post your Haiku in the comments on Facebook or email them to us at countyline@adair-russell.com.

Eric Overby lives in Russell County. You can find his poetry on Amazon and more of his writings on Instagram @mindful_stoic_poet.

Downey Eye Clinic
Previous articleTHE MORNING AFTER: A short recap of a long election night
Next articleRussell County native named new vice principal at ACHS