Haiku Finder
September 16, 2009 5:03 PM   Subscribe

words that seem boring
will become much more worthwhile
when viewed through this lens.
[via mefi projects]
posted by mdn (66 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
With apologies to adamvasco:

"Foreign Policy has an interesting double in the latest issue: Oil's very future is being seriously questioned, debated, and challenged. Just as we need more oil than ever, it is changing faster than we can keep up with. An article by the often controversal Pulitzer prize winner Daniel Yergan.
This article is complimented by: Subpriming the Pump; Oil wealth used to hurt only those who had it. Now, it's hurting everyone. By Mahmoud El-Gamal and Amy Myers Jaffe both of Rice University."


There were no haikus
that I was able to find
in your pasted text.

Haiku fail?
posted by datawrangler at 5:12 PM on September 16, 2009

Is this where I post
Lovingly crafted snarklets?
No? Oh. Nevermind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:15 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Who knew Max Baucus had the soul of a poet?

The remaining states
have no limitations on
rating set in law.

If an MA plan bid
is below the benchmark, its
payment is its bid.

Current payments to MA
plans (bids plus rebate payments)
are risk adjusted.
posted by escabeche at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2009

Foreign Policy:
The future of oil slides down
Sub slippery slope
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:20 PM on September 16, 2009

From Obama's 2004 speech at the DNC:

They must be pursued.
And they must be defeated.
John Kerry knows this.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:21 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

(Also, word to those who may try: no haikus exist in the Treaty of Westphalia.)
posted by ocherdraco at 5:22 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I encourage writers to put their own stuff through it (like you weren't going to anyway). You might find a gem you didn't even know was there.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:22 PM on September 16, 2009

Hmm. The engine seems to vary a bit -- punching in the entirety of The Prince yields nothing, while Les Misérables yields a pretty fair number.
posted by zer0render at 5:23 PM on September 16, 2009

Sarah Palin's resignation speech:

It hurts to make this
choice but I am doing what's
best for Alaska.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:23 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

From the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

His statements, therefore,
may easily be disproved,
if they are untrue.

Mr. Jepson's slaves
would boast his ability
to whip Colonel Lloyd.

We stopped but a few
moments, so that I had no
time to go on shore.

I consoled myself
with the hope that I should one
day find a good chance.

Upon either side
we saw grim death, assuming
the most horrid shapes.

We would make them no
answer, and leave them to find
out as best they could.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:26 PM on September 16, 2009

Treaty of Westphalia: zilch.
posted by jquinby at 5:31 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ha! These two from the book of Genesis:

And unto thee shall
be his desire, and thou
shalt rule over him.

And he said, I am
Joseph your brother, whom ye
sold into Egypt.

..and this one from the Epistle of James:

either a vine, figs?
so can no fountain both yield
salt water and fresh.
posted by jquinby at 5:33 PM on September 16, 2009

The Works of Jane Austen
in haiku

Sense and Sensibility (1811)

Only conceive how
comfortable they will be!
Five hundred a year!

Had you seen his look,
his manner, had you heard his
voice at that moment!

Now was not it so?—
You saw it all; and was not
you quite struck with it?

Pride and Prejudice (1813)

He studies too much
for words of four syllables.
Do not you, Darcy?

Here consequently
was an inexhaustible
subject of discourse.

She read over her
aunt's commendation of him
again and again.

Who would have thought it!
And is it really true? Oh!
my sweetest Lizzy!

Mansfield Park (1814)

Julia Bertram was
only twelve, and Maria
but a year older.

Fanny had never
heard the harp at all, and wished
for it very much.

You did not love him;
nothing could have justified
your accepting him.

Emma (1815)

I thought him very
plain at first, but I do not
think him so plain now.

For once in your life
you would be obliged to own
yourself mistaken.

Do not we rather
surpass your expectations?
I am sure we do.

Northanger Abbey (1817)

She was now seen by
many young men who had not
been near her before.

The man believed Miss
Tilney to be at home, but
was not quite certain.

The evening had done
more, much more, for her than could
have been expected.

Persuasion (1817)

Anne was to leave them
on the morrow, an event
which they all dreaded.

Mrs Smith had been
able to tell her what no
one else could have done.

To those, however,
he was very well disposed
to attach himself.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:40 PM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

I fed it this awesome comment, but it found none. I feel a bit cheated, as I was hoping to find something compelling to put on my sign at the next rally.

posted by mccarty.tim at 5:41 PM on September 16, 2009

Doesn't seem to work for me at all. After posting eight different long paragraphs from blogs and news plus a couple of Carl Sandburg poems, I get no haiku.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:45 PM on September 16, 2009

Womble: That's poignant and full of deeper meaning. It's like the "This is just to say" of haikus, only the voters are the plums, the icebox is Alaska, and Sarah is William Carlos Williams.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:45 PM on September 16, 2009

Writing poetry
With seventeen syllables
Is really diffic
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:47 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

(But this makes it easier and more fun)
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:47 PM on September 16, 2009

The size of the Old
Ones, too, he curiously
declined to mention.

All this Johansen
did not suspect, but God knows
he soon saw enough!

Three men were swept up
by the flabby claws before
anybody turned.

He would write of what
he knew before death came, but
his wife must not guess.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 5:51 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I fed it this awesome comment, but it found none...

I think it looks for periods to make sure that the end product will make some kind of sense - I fed it a manuscript of my own that I realized after the fact even had a few purposeful haikus in one section, but it didn't find those ones, because the caps & periods were non-standard in that section.

(Like Bookhouse says, though, it is fun to see what comes up in your own writing.)
posted by mdn at 5:54 PM on September 16, 2009

Agent Howies work
Reflected on The Onion
Should I sue these guys?
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:58 PM on September 16, 2009

Fed it my whole book
not one single damn haiku found
cherry blossom fail
posted by Rumple at 6:00 PM on September 16, 2009

After I remove
the ice pack I use a deep
pore cleanser lotion.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:04 PM on September 16, 2009

A series of tubes
Those tubes can be filled and
It's not a big truck.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:12 PM on September 16, 2009

The Story of O (Chapter 1)
With them came a man
dressed in a long purple robe,
full at the shoulders.

She heard them saying
that they would have to make her
kneel down. This they did.

You have to get past
the pleasure stage, until you
reach the stage of tears.

O was forced to move
to the head of the bed, where
he made her lie down.

After that you're on
your own, and will have dealings
only with the men.

Then he sat down near
O, pulled her back down onto
the bed and kissed her.

He did not help her
up until he had taken
his pleasure with her. 

I would describe that as immeasurably improved. Addition by subtraction, as they say.
posted by Rumple at 6:15 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

Is this where I say haikus are more than just a simple collection of syllables?
posted by flatluigi at 6:22 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

And unto thee shall
	be his desire, and thou
shalt rule over him.

And he said, I am
	Joseph your brother, whom ye
sold into Egypt. 

Turn from thy fierce wrath,
	and repent of this evil
against thy people. 

Now he was riding
	upon his ass, and his two
servants were with him. 

And they understood
	that the ark of the LORD was
come into the camp. 

can I hear any
	more the voice of singing men
and singing women? 

or wilt thou flee three
	months before thine enemies,
while they pursue thee? 

now advise, and see
	what answer I shall return
to him that sent me. 

But the other said,
	Let it be neither mine nor
thine, but divide it. 

For his sons had seen
	what way the man of God went,
which came from Judah. 

how is Babylon
	become a desolation
among the nations! 

how is Babylon
	become an astonishment
among the nations! 

And he said, Legion:
	because many devils were
entered into him. 

for there shall be great
	distress in the land, and wrath
upon this people. 

Now if any man
	have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his. 

either a vine, figs?
	so can no fountain both yield
salt water and fresh. 

The old commandment
	is the word which ye have heard
from the beginning. 

I write unto you,
	little children, because ye
have known the Father.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:22 PM on September 16, 2009

All from the Goodfellas script:

Start like this. Sorry.
Did I get you in the eye?
Stop breaking my balls.

Give me your wallet.
You might know who we are, but
we know who you are.

In this day and age?
What is this world coming to?
I can't believe this.

I love you! I want
to be with you. Settle down.
How's your friend Henry?

She's very upset.
You got to straighten this out.
We got to have calm.

I'll say you'll go back
to her and it'll be like when
you first got married.

Didn't I tell you not
to get anything big or
attract attention?

You know what I mean.
He's gone, and we couldn't do
nothing about it.

That's it. I knew it!
I can't fucking believe it.
They fucking whacked him.

Tell him to call me.
As soon as you talk to him
tell him to call me.

I'm talking to you.
You don't want to talk, don't talk.
I don't give a fuck.

posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:24 PM on September 16, 2009 [7 favorites]

"Potentially bright
lad I thought," he said and slumped
against the curved wall.

The panel lit up
with the words Please do not press
this button again.

"Well I hope you all
have a really miserable
time," complained Arthur.

The man looked away.
Again a kind of sadness
seemed to cross his face.

"Well, eventually
just habit I think, to be
brutally honest.

Imagine you've got
this bath. And it's ebony.
And it's conical.

"Well," said the Captain
with a soothing smile, "still time
for a few more baths.

"In a trance," said one.
"In a tank," said another.
"Oh yes," said Arthur.

"Making some coffee,"
said Arthur, still wearing his
very placid face.

"Look," he said. "Elvis."
Tricia stopped, and stared at them
all over again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Time Cube yields:


Thus endeth the lesson.
posted by Kinbote at 6:38 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

From the Apocalypse Now script:

The river widens
and the trees at its edge are
soft and seductive.

The water itself
is glass smooth and black as if
there were no bottom.

But still there remains
the threat of Kilgore, standing
stark against the sky.

posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:39 PM on September 16, 2009

Song of Myself:

And to all generals
that lost engagements, and all
overcome heroes!
posted by Kinbote at 6:46 PM on September 16, 2009

Even the freepers get in on the act:

Most participants’
signs elaborated on
this basic belief.

posted by Kinbote at 6:50 PM on September 16, 2009

Apple Bottom jeans
boots with the fur. The whole club
was lookin' at her.
posted by jeisme at 6:52 PM on September 16, 2009

Who among us knew
This festival existed?
If you go, tell me?
posted by emhutchinson at 7:06 PM on September 16, 2009

From Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace:

Why not not, then, if
the best reasoning you can
contrive is why not?

I couldn't decide.
I finally had to choose
almost at random.
posted by swellingitchingbrain at 7:12 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

From V. by Pynchon (Chapter 1)

He patted her head.
"Peace," she sighed. "Isn't that what
we all want, Benny?

"Peace," she sighed. "Isn't
that what we all want, Benny?
Just a little peace.

It went off, catching
three fingers between the first
and second knuckles.

He had just begun
to drift off when the paging
system called his name.

He wanted to say,
God, the things we want. He said:
"How is the party.
posted by hippybear at 7:30 PM on September 16, 2009

i pasted in about 10 000 words from the novel i'm nearly finished writing.
We're entrenched. They don't
want to rush the building, they'd
take heavy losses.


I intend to be
on the first boat to fill up.
What an adventure! 
those excerpts make it sound like i'm writing a very different book than i am (the second one is actually from an editorial note to myself, which is why it's in all caps). i can't help but wonder if maybe i need a rewrite.
posted by 256 at 7:38 PM on September 16, 2009

Robert and Marsha
Sitting in a tree. K-I
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 7:43 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've tried some Poe (Telltale Heart) and some Dickens (Christmas Carol excerpt) and couldn't get any haikus out of them. This makes me sad.
posted by misha at 8:04 PM on September 16, 2009

Haikus are quite boring
The topic not trending
Call if someone's script
Generates a poem ending
posted by explosion at 8:10 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I remember when
Mrs. King and I were first
in Jerusalem.

We rented a car
and drove from Jerusalem
down to Jericho.

The only question
I heard from her was, "Are you
Martin Luther King?"

And He's allowed me
to go up to the mountain.
And I've looked over.
posted by desjardins at 8:13 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

And just as I looked
at him, he slowly crumpled
and began to sag.
posted by jeanmari at 8:24 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

From a 1992 Clinton/Perot debate:

LEHRER: All right, go
ahead, quick, quickly. CLINTON:
Just very briefly.

CLINTON: I could run
this string out a long time, but
remember this, Jim.

A Sean Hannity interview of Rush Limbaugh:

If you eat popcorn
with coconut oil, it could
impact health care costs.

(a rare double-haiku sequence:)

HANNITY: But are
there people you see? RUSH: Yes.
HANNITY: There are?

There are? RUSH: There are. There are.
HANNITY: There are.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:25 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

From a long essay I wrote on Ulysses:

Sky. For Bloom, the sky
that day evokes nothing more
than tranquility.

That's better than I could do if I actually set out to write a Haiku.
posted by martens at 8:47 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

From Thomas Carlyle's Past and Present:
The Universe has
become a Humbug to these
Apes who thought it one! 

An eloquent man,
but intent more on substance
than on ornament. 

The old Pope of Rome,
with his stuffed dummy to do
the kneeling for him. 
He gets more existential in Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History:
However, Heaven
is omnipotent, and will
find us an outlet. 

Symbols hallowed by
Time; but finally defaced
and desecrated.

What is Life; what is
Death? What am I to believe?
What am I to do?

They record with just
pride that he would mend his own
shoes, patch his own cloak. 

To find out this, you
task the whole force of insight
that is in the man. 
posted by cobwebberies at 9:08 PM on September 16, 2009

Mere experience
can as little as reading
take the place of thought.

Schopenhauer, "Thinking for oneself"
posted by voltairemodern at 9:29 PM on September 16, 2009

Teal MeFi Projects,
A site we once neglected,
Posted on the blue.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 10:14 PM on September 16, 2009

Wow, I don't know which I like better, dialog or stage direction!

He showed you his, but
when it got to be your turn
you chickened and ran.

Have I taken one
too many hits to the head?
That's gotta be it.

For as the True Grail
will bring you life— the False Grail
will take it from you.

He picks up the child
with one huge hand. Looks at it.
Turns it different ways.

In braille. A noise sounds.
Whistler quickly puts away
what he was reading.

They conceal themselves
in the house plant just before
the children run by.
posted by aubilenon at 10:47 PM on September 16, 2009

brilliant thingy, brilliant post.

Joseph Brodsky, Watermark:

Because the human
repertoire of responses
is so limited!
posted by megob at 10:53 PM on September 16, 2009

Stand up, turns out I'm
pretty baked, empty beer cans,
fast food wrappers, trash.

"America's first
zoo" it says on the lower
part of the balloon.

Can you just tell me,
I'm missing the show right now.
No, what's going on?
posted by gac at 11:19 PM on September 16, 2009

WAITRESS Here ya go.
Please pay at the register,
if you wouldn't mind.

MR. BLONDE You don't
have any idea what
you're talking about.

Orange) Mr. White?
(to Mr. White) Why? MR.
ORANGE He don't tip.

I was panicking
for a moment, but I've got
my senses back now.

Everybody was
shooting, so I just blasted
my way outta there.

running after Mr. Pink.
We DOLLY with them.

We're awful goddamn
lucky he didn't tag us, when
he shot up the place.

The CAMERA hovers
over the action. Mr.
Pink reaches him first.

MR. PINK Well, first
things first, staying here's goofy.
We gotta book up.

Blonde! You okay? We thought you
might've gotten caught.

MR. PINK That was
the big question we had, what
happened to Mr.

(Joe flashes a side
grin at Vic) Vic. Toothpick Vic.
Tell me a story?

He won't let me leave
the halfway house till I get
some piece of shit job.

EDDIE (into phone)
Hey Dov, we got a major
situation here.

Nice Guy sees Mr.
Orange. EDDIE Holy shit,
this guy's all fucked up!

MR. PINK We were
set up, the cops were waiting
for us. EDDIE What?

MR. PINK We were
trying to find out what he knew
about the set up.

He then slowly turns
his head towards the cop. MR.
BLONDE Alone at last.

I've only been on
the force eight months, nobody
tells me anything!

There's nothing you can
say, there's nothing you can do.
Except pray for death.

The HANDHELD camera
WHIPS to the right and we see
the bloody Mr.

I don't remember
that at all. JEFFREY I do.
(pause) How do I look?

All they know is they're
not to make a move until
Joe Cabot shows up.

FREDDY The Brewers.
HOLDAWAY The Milwaukee
Brewers? FREDDY Yeah.

Christ! FREDDY You can do some
crazy things with it.

You guys don't say shit
about who you are, where you
been or what you've done.

Everybody laughs.
MR. PINK Why can't we pick
out our own colors?

Purple. That sounds good
to me, I'm Mr. Purple.
JOE You're not Mr.

Purple, somebody
from another job's Mr.
Purple. You're Mr.

Piss... MR. PINK Oh
that's really easy for you
to say, you're Mr.

Guns FIRING, people

Mr. Brown FALLS out. MR.
BROWN (screaming) My eyes!

I arrange a nurse,
I leave myself wide open,
and I'm an asshole.

MR. PINK He's right
about the ear, it's hacked off.
EDDIE (to Mr.

MR. WHITE (very
calmly) Joe, trust me on this,
you've made a mistake.

Drop your fucking gun!
Mr White looks up at them,
smiles, PULLS the trigger.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:21 PM on September 16, 2009

I love that on the failure page, the title of the haiku is "Mu".
posted by ErWenn at 5:24 AM on September 17, 2009

ugh. i was so excited to see this link and i keep getting haiku fail Mu:

There were no haikus
that I was able to find
in your pasted text.

posted by cristinacristinacristina at 6:49 AM on September 17, 2009

I love that on the failure page, the title of the haiku is "Mu". (ErWenn)

I didn't get that. Why is it cool that it says Mu?
posted by ocherdraco at 7:46 AM on September 17, 2009

Star Wars, and some of these are actually pretty good.

LUKE: All right, come on!
And the red one, come on. Well,
come on, Red, let's go.

LUKE: Well, I stumbled
across a recording while
I was cleaning him.

Suddenly they stop.
Then everything is quiet
for a few moments.

BEN: Now, let's see if
we can't figure out what you
are, my little friend.

I can't understand
how we got by those troopers.
I thought we were dead.

Luke scratches his head.
It's obvious he isn't
sure about all this.

Asteroids begin
to race toward them, battering
the sides of the ship.

VADER: They must be
trying to return the stolen
plans to the princess.

We've got to help her.
HAN: Now, look, don't get any
funny ideas.

Han's determined look
begins to fade as the troops
begin to advance.

Coupling hoses are
disconnected from the ships
as they are fueled.

RED LEADER: All wings
report in. INTERIOR:

BIGGS: (over headset)
Luke, pull up! EXTERIOR:

Biggs see the TIE ship
behind him and swings around,
trying to avoid him.

The three TIE fighters
move in formation across
the Death Star surface.

RED TEN: You'd better
let her loose. INTERIOR:

The horizon twists
as Wedge begins to pull out.
WEDGE: Right with you, boss.

The three TIE fighters
move ever closer, closing
in on Luke and Biggs.

He concentrates on
the exhaust port, then fires his
laser torpedoes.
posted by jquinby at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2009

From: Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Women, therefore, were
not rigidly excluded
from official life.
posted by dejah420 at 8:27 AM on September 17, 2009

Wow this is cool. From my write up from Burning Man:

We left for the spot
where we had last seen the Man
in a group of six.

posted by Squid Voltaire at 9:49 AM on September 17, 2009

Documents publiés à l'occasion de la Guerre Européenne, 1914-1917

We bought one of these
beautiful pieces of work
as a specimen.

Two more wards are set
apart for patients suffering
from dysentery.

Chimneys rise above
the roof, which is of timber
covered with tarred felt.

Everywhere we found
the prisoners adequately
and suitably dressed.

Letters are long on
the road because of the great
distances traversed.

Assaults and corporal
punishment are totally
unknown in the camps.
posted by zennie at 10:10 AM on September 17, 2009

The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins

The chance that we both
contain the same rare genes is
very small indeed.

Instead of wasting
time sitting, she could spend her
time laying more eggs.

Increased bearing is
bound to be paid for in less
efficient caring.

Also negative
is the cost of wasting time
in prolonged courtship.

I have thought a long
time about this and I think
I know the answer.

The crucial point is
that these will not always be
the same parasites.

All that females need
is a dependable tool
for diagnosis.
posted by AceRock at 5:09 PM on September 17, 2009

From some of my own stuff:

Will you tell me what
the hell is going on if
I make you a drink?


I like marmalade,
but it doesn't really go
with peanut butter.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:44 PM on September 17, 2009

Well, I doubt anyone's going to see this below all this haikunery, but my friend Seth built one of these back in 2006 and I've been playing with it ever since. In fact, I thought for a moment that this post was going to be about his haiku machine.

The coolest thing about Seth's machine is that it's not limited to complete sentences, and so though it occasionally finds a bit more nonsense, more often than not it finds quite a bit more awesome than I've been able to get out of this one.

Seth's Hidden Haiku Generator

posted by fake at 5:55 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hmm. If I had known about that other (very nice) one, I would never have made mine, but, then again, I would have missed out on the fun of making it. It's very, very interesting to me to see how different two programs can be, whose outputs are essentially the same!
posted by e.e. coli at 11:59 AM on September 18, 2009


I have a soft spot for the word, having been introduced to it by Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach as a young teen.
posted by ErWenn at 8:50 PM on September 18, 2009

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