Haiku is for you
Five seven five syllables
Natural haiku

Haiku Poetry Contest Adds Literary Element to Conference

By Gregg Krech, 2011 Keynote Speaker

At the 2011 ACO Conference in Chicago, I announced a haiku poetry contest. I never expected so many people to submit poems. And I was amazed at the quality, beauty and playfulness of so much of the poetry. So it put me in an awkward position of having to pick a winner. I spent a great deal of time reading and rereading the poems and even enlisted the input of my youngest daughter, Bi, who is a masterful poet. In the end, I’m awarding the grand prize to Susan Lasky for the following poem:

The glass pitcher sits —
Cradling drinking water,
Gift to quench our thirst.

Susan wins free tuition for our upcoming distance learning program: Taking Action: Finishing the Unfinished (and unstarted). Her poem will also be published in an upcoming edition of the ToDo Institute’s journal. Congratulations, Susan.

Honorable Mention Category ADDed

I’ve decided to add a category of honorable mentions, which could easily have numbered twenty, but I’m limiting it to four. The first honorable mention goes to Linda Roggli for this poem:

Air-conditioned air.
Shed the sweater, put it on.
Seasons change indoors.

Both of the above poems are grounded in a particular moment in time and they each give the reader a wonderful sense of imagery. They also bring out a teaching for the reader – Susan’s raises the theme of being grateful for what is ordinary and often goes unnoticed. And Linda’s points out the changing nature of life and the need to simply respond to those changes naturally.

There are three other honorable mentions below. Each of these poems offers the reader a nice lesson about life. The first two are about attention:

The world is fluid.
You must touch to be present.
Don’t just see with eyes.

Matthew Almeida

Writing a haiku.
Intuiting what is real –
Oops! I’m not present!

Dan Pruitt

And the last honorable mention goes to Nancy Bean, who gives us a brief lesson about mistakes and imperfection.

Another mistake.
Fall down, get back up again.
Practice makes better.

I love the line “practice makes better” since we’re used to hearing “practice makes perfect.” We simply strive to take our lives in the right direction. The effort, itself, is “perfect.”

All four poets of the honorable mention poems will receive a complimentary subscription to the ToDo Institute’s journal – Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living.

There were also several wonderful poems about ACO and a few about me, which I will keep and show to my daughters. Haiku poetry is a wonderful way to stay engaged with the world and keep your attention from getting trapped on yourself. I encourage everyone to keep writing poems. And a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated.

Gregg Krech was the keynote speaker at the 2011 ACO conference and can be contacted by email at Gregg@todoinstitute.org. This is the link to the next ToDo Institute course.