April 2013 NaHaiWriMo Writing Prompts

Selected by Carole MacRury, Point Roberts, Washington


Smooth. April is National Poetry Month in America. I’ll be posting words and phrases to stimulate your mind and emotions. Let each word or phrase take you where it will. It’s not necessary to use the word in the haiku but you can if you want too. It might be more open and fun to simply respond to each word or phrase in your own unique way—literally, associatively, or metaphorically. Show us the flavor of your lives and the color of your world.






Celestial. Let’s move from the delta to the heavens. Look and think skyward and let it take you where it will.


A special place. Write about a place special to you, a place where you go for sustenance, peace, revitalization.






Red. What is your response to the color red? Anything goes. Use the word, or write through association.


Sound. Bring sound into your haiku. Anything you choose—bell, bird, cry, the list of sound possibilities is endless.


Zoo. Write about a zoo, or write about one of its inhabitants, or anything else that comes to mind in regards to the word zoo.


Underwater. Any water: ocean, lake, river, puddle, or even a bucket of water.


Clown. Sad clowns, happy clowns, fear of clowns, clowning around, playing the jester, clowns at the circus, clowns on the street, clowns in your life . . . go for it!


Miss/missing. What have you lost, misplaced, or hope to see again?


Pond. Bring out your Bashō, bring out yourself when it comes to your favorite pond. Ponds are full of life. Write anything you want about a pond—the koi, the lily, the frog, the sound, the smell, the wishes we make. Have fun with this one.


Alley. A lot happens in the paths and lanes that run between our buildings and behind our homes. They’re not like front streets, are they? What lies behind? There is a lot to be seen and experienced throughout any season. Write about an alley in your life.


Wildflower/weed. Wildflowers grow in the wild, meaning they are not intentionally seeded or planted. What’s growing wild in your area? Some wildflowers are considered invasive and are then called weeds. Some are toxic, some have healing properties, some are beautiful, some are weird, some fragile, some strong, some we can eat! Let’s honor the wildflowers or weeds in your lives.


Mushroom. Whether as a food source, a deadly poison, or magic, mushrooms have a place in many cultures. Either farmed or gathered wild, they are consumed as food, or used as a sacrament in ceremonies around the world to induce a visionary state. Puffball, devils cap, morels, shiitake, shrooms, etc. Let your thoughts mushroom on this one.


Antique. Here’s a chance to write to an object that has special value to you because of its age. Or, use the word itself in any way you choose.




Music/musical instrument. We all love music. Whether you sing, play an instrument, or simply love to listen, write a haiku that refers to music in some way.


Clothing. Clothing can represent a season and/or a culture.


Wheel/wheels/wheeled. This could be used as object or verb.


Time. What does time mean to you? Does it go too slow, too fast, stand still? Or, is it about clock-watching, being early, being late, being on time? Or is it time to . . .? Many possible ways to go with this one—have fun.


Visual arts. Write a haiku that speaks to the visual arts in any way, whether you appreciate its many forms, painting, sculpture, and so on, or create it yourself. Let out your inner child here. Think finger paint, graffiti, wet clay, wood working, and anything in between. Think from etch-a-sketch to museum walls.


Garden. I think of Ruth Yarrow’s well-known and loved haiku, “after the garden party the garden.” Write something about a garden in your life, but try not to simply describe it. Dig deeper if you can. Put yourself in a garden, your thoughts, your emotions. It could be your garden, another person’s garden, or a painting. Write to the garden, or anything in the garden.


Root/roots. Plant life or human life, we all have roots.


Totem/icon/symbol. Write about an object from your culture, an object that is revered or special to you. This could be anything at all. Only you know.


Farm animal. Okay, we’ve done the zoo prompt and wild animals. Let’s try something a bit tamer. Write about your favorite farm animal in a unique way, whether through actual experience or impressions from a childhood book.


Train. Write something about a train, the tracks, the sounds. I hear a train and I’m filled with longing and a need to be going somewhere. Even empty tracks resonate with me.


Mountain. Whether you scramble up scree, walk in alpine meadows, perch on the peak, or view a mountain from a distance, write about your experiences with your favorite mountain.