Some Haiku

by Mitchell Harding

written 9/11/98 -> The Present

Some people don't know what haiku are. For them, I quote from The Merriam-Webster WWWebster Dictionary:
"Haiku: An unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively."
That pretty much sums it up. Enjoy the haiku.

The Open Set Haiku (9/11/98)

Open sets truly
Are in the topology;
How very useful.

Comments: I wrote this haiku, understandably enough, during my Topology class. It refers to the fact that open sets can be defined many different ways, and they are defined (in Topology) simply to be members of a set (called the topology). When first confronted with some theorems concerning open sets, my initial reaction was not enthusiastic. I started my proof assuming that a set was open, and then tried to progress from there. Inevitably I would cry out "Christ on a horse!" to indicate my frustration to all the gods of heaven and earth. Eventually I came to appreciate the simplicity of the definition (and how it could actually be used in a proof), but I still wrote this haiku to commemorate my struggle.

The Self-Referential Haiku (9/12/98)

About this haiku
I am very curious:
How will I end it?

Comments: This was written on the spot when I was coding the HTML for this page. I didn't want to post the page with only one haiku, and I find that (in my opinion, which seldom is in concordance with the opinions of anyone else) my best haiku are written impromptu.

Peruse This Haiku (9/12/98)

To peruse something
Can mean to inspect briefly
Or to scrutinize.

Comments: This was inspired by a fellow student in my Topology class, Natalie Rooney. When I accidentally let slip the phrase "a mere perusal of my web page", she informed me that the word "peruse" means "to examine in depth", contrary to popular belief. Having a great respect for Natalie, and not wishing to begin a blood feud with her that could last for decades, I thanked her for the information. But later (when I was safely within the confines of my remote mountain fortress in Tibet) I checked, and discovered that the word had both meanings. Hence this haiku.

Cats (9/13/98)

Cats have dignity
Which is strange considering
They vomit furballs.

Comments: I wrote this haiku after trying to write haiku about billiards and the word "sublime". I've often wondered why cats seem to present themselves in such a dignified manner -- do they wish to impress us? I love cats, don't get me wrong, but they're very amusing when they try to retain dignity through the most difficult circumstances.

Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit (9/14/98)

lishmentarianism is
a really long word.

Comments: It's absurdly long, and is useless. But it will outlast many better words (like sacerdotal) because it is popularly believed to be the longest word in the English language. I seem to recall that this belief is false. Who cares? Down with antidisestablishmentarianism -- the word, not the philosophy.

The Math Grader Blues (9/14/98)

If I never see
Another direction field
It will be too soon.

Comments: I just got done grading more than one hundred homework papers for a Differential Equations class.

How The Dinosaurs Became Extinct (9/14/98)

Josh Small constructed
The lost world in his freezer;
Chilly dinosaurs.

Comments: A true story. Ask Josh.

Tuesday Night (9/16/98)

Car towed far away,
Theorem fifteen mocking us;
A wonderful night.

Comments: Another true story. Despite many complications, it was a great evening.

Thirty-Four Hours (9/16/98)

No sleep for over
Thirty-four hours. My eyes
Slowly wither up.

Comments: All too true. Now it is time for me to sleep.

2^R1 Haiku (9/28/98)

How you vex me so with your
Great insanity.

Comments: 2R1 is read "Two to the R 1" and refers to a rather crazy topological space. Occasionally we study it in my Topology class and it just gets stranger.

Normality Haiku (9/28/98)

Most so-called "normal"
spaces are anything but.
God is truly dead.

Comments: Actually, most normal topological spaces aren't anything spectacular.

Lemma 33 (9/28/98)

The canonical
error plagues my dreams and haunts
my every thought.

Comments: My Topology teacher is always talking about the canonical error, meaning the standard error that everybody makes when attempting to prove a given theorem.

Patience (10/3/98)

Time passes slowly
punctuated only by
a few customers.

Comments: This haiku (and all other haiku written on 10/3/98) was written after I had been awake for about 40 hours. I was attempting to stay up for 100 -- I only made 55. There will be another attempt. At any rate, I spent most of the time in a coffee shop, and the mornings were quite slow. This was written on a Saturday morning, waiting for some friends to arrive.

Haiku Method (10/3/98)

Select the right words
the sum of whose syllables
equals seventeen.

Comments: It's as simple as that.

Bad First Line (10/3/98)

Too conventional
It definitely needs more

Comments: I had tried to begin a haiku with "Sleep is a specter" and I quickly became disgusted with that choice of a first line.

10/3/98 10:19am at Metro (10/3/98)

Guys with mohawks pass.
Attendant reads a novel.
A lady walks in.

Comments: As you can see, the morning was very exciting.

Exile (10/3/98)

Dirty fingernails.
Unwashed and disheveled hair.
I need a shower.

Comments: Even sitting in one place for 12 hours makes you dirty. You'd be surprised.

Couch (10/3/98)

Upside-down sofa
laughs at me with derision.
Cruel furniture.

Comments: I didn't like the upside-down sofa that was sitting near me.

Phoning Jasara (10/3/98)

Jasara's voice mail
seems to be malfunctioning:
Eternal ringing.

Comments: I had been trying to call my friend Jasara for a while. For some reason her voice mail stopped working that morning. Probably a good thing -- I ended up leaving her a ton of messages due to my increasingly silly sleep-deprived state.

A Windows On My Soul (10/3/98)

Solitary and
elegant Chinese toothpaste.
Profound mystery.

Comments: It really should have read "Elegant and solitary", but that wouldn't have fit the meter. I considered switching them and claiming artistic license, but I suppose I need to have principles.

Hour 38 (10/3/98)

Thirty-eighth hour
was quite anticlimactic.
No parade or clowns.

Comments: Most of my milestones seemed anticlimactic. It's hard to get excited when you've been awake for almost two days.

Biding My Time (10/3/98)

Business picks up
but there is still no sign of
my slumbering friends.

Comments: But they did show up on time, so I suppose I can't complain. I was just impatient.

Self-Criticism (10/3/98)

I can write haiku
seemingly without end or
artistic value.

Comments: The truth hurts, but it also makes a nice haiku.

Josh Small (10/3/98)

Josh Small revels in
the absurd beauty of life.
Tadpoles in conflict.

Comments: Josh should run the universe.

Jennifer Maas (10/3/98)

Jennifer owns no
objects without subtle worth.
Sublime collection.

Comments: I asked her to give me a worthless item from her person and she couldn't find one. Everything she gave me was great!

Tragic Flaw (10/3/98)

At arm-wrestling
I am able to beat girls
but I lose to males.

Comments: I came to this conclusion after arm-wrestling a couple of my friends. It was close against the males, but they beat me. I was champion against the females, though.

Nice Ass (10/3/98)

Ass is a good word
For more reasons than even
I can comprehend.

Comments: I have no idea what inspired this one.

Free Association (10/3/98)

Bachelor party
for a ninja. Triangle

Comments: The first sentence was composed by Josh Small, although not for this haiku.

Coffee Shop Guy (10/3/98)

He smiles at the girls
And makes coffee for us all.
Just doing his job.

Comments: He definitely favored the girls, but I guess I can't blame him.

Untitled (10/3/98)

Angry brick wall pizza dog
Soft: "Yes, galaxy!"

Comments: Yeah. So I don't know where this came from. I don't know how I thought of it.

Birds Fly (10/11/98)

Abruptly birds chirp
Scaring the harf out of me.
Damn Audubon clock!

Comments: I bought this clock because it made a different bird noise every hour, and I thought it would be interesting to have around -- confuse the cats, wake me at night, etc. Unfortunately it always makes me jump when it goes off because I'm not expecting it. I suppose it's my cross to bear.

Nurse (3/1/99)

The middle-aged nurse
Vast blue pools of eyeshadow
Is she slightly drunk?

Comments: This was inspired by a nurse I talked to today. I'm getting my other two wisdom teeth out in a week, and since I am participating in a painkiller study afterwards, I had to go in for a physical. Anyharf, this nurse seemed out of touch with the world, and she had absolutely no restraint when it came to applying eyeshadow.

Merry Christmas (10/13/98)

Summer heat
Confused reindeer-
Santa's drunk.

Merry Christmas (radio edit) (10/13/98)

Blazing summer heat
Confused reindeer-
Santa's drunk again.

Comments: I don't know why it took me so long to post these last two haiku on here. In any case, the radio edit is the original version of the haiku. But I wanted some input on it. Specifically, I wasn't sure about the words "blazing" and "again". I could see reasons to exclude one or both of them, but I could also argue for their inclusion. Therefore I consulted some friends. It was my friend Curtis who commented that he thought "blazing" should be excluded, but that the inclusion of "again" depended "on whether or not you are looking for intellectual satisfaction, or radio air-play." I finally decided to make two versions -- the radio edit and the original. However, I felt that "blazing" should be included in the radio version. What do you think?

Spaceship Astronaut (date unknown)
by Julie Fournier
Spaceship, astronaut.
Spaceship, astronaut, spaceship.
Astronaut, spaceship.

Comments: I met Julie online late last year (1998). She and I have a similar sense of the absurd. This haiku is a good example of this. I love it. You should visit her page and check out some of the other stuff she has written. Phenomenal. Words cannot describe. Well, perhaps the words she has written are capable of describing themselves, but...welll...yeah. And yes, I wanted the word "well" to have an extra "l".

Halloween (9/30/97)

Pale ghosts wandering
Witches and ghouls on the prowl
Give me your candy

Comments: I found this haiku while reading some of my old e-mail. I composed this one for my friend (and, at one time, my relative) Amber. I just felt like writing her a haiku, so I did. Note that this haiku predates any of the other haiku on my page so far.

Title Unknown (date unknown)
by Unknown
The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then

Comments: This is probably my favorite haiku. I wish I had written it myself. Woe! If you have any idea who wrote it, please let me know.

8th Grade (10/14/98)
by James
Alone in my room
Metallica really rules
I am so angry.

Comments: This haiku was posted on utexas.bizarre in response to a haiku that I had posted. I love this haiku and asked the author's permission to put it on my web page. He granted it to me. So here it is. Bask in its glory. He actually granted me permission to post this about 7 months ago, but I am lazy and forgetful. Who are you to complain anyway, you ungrateful bastards?

Unit 33 Haiku (10/29/00)

Robotic dancing
Endless electronic sound
Motherfuckin' beat

Comments: This is my haiku tribute to an opening band I saw recently. The band was Unit 33, opening for Critters Buggin. I think my haiku pretty much sums them up.

Unit 33 Haiku Rebuttal (10/29/00)
by Greg Sharek
Suck suck suck suck suck
Suck suck suck suck suck suck suck
The silence of rain.

Comments: This is Greg's haiku about Unit 33, written in response to the previous haiku.

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