About Bikeway Haiku

About Bikeway Haiku

Do you use the Minuteman Bikeway to get around town or commute to work?  For exercise or to enjoy nature? As a place to take a walk with friends? 

What do you notice?  Put your experiences into a haiku, and send it to us for BIKEWAY HAIKU, a new public art project!  We seek voices of all kinds – witty, wild, personal, political – and writers of all ages.  

Maybe you will write about the beauty of a birdsong, or maybe you will write about your anger at seeing a plastic water bottle floating on your favorite pond, too close to a family of swans.

In your own voice, sing
of squirrels, frogs, birds, bikes and
light dancing on leaves!

Take a look at some inspiring examples to get a better idea of the format and make sure you read the Composition Rules below.  Then send us your poem.


Arlington Public Art and the bike committees of Arlington, Lexington and Bedford are collaborating to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Minuteman Bikeway with 10 miles of haiku poetry created by our diverse communities and stenciled onto the pavement. The Munroe Center for the Arts, the Public Libraries of Arlington and Lexington, and Arlington Center for the Arts have joined in as project partners.  We invite you to join us by contributing a haiku poem of your own! 

On Saturday, September 29 the three towns will host a day of celebration with live music, art and haiku along the Bikeway in all three towns.  Save the date!


Haiku is a Japanese poetry form that often calls attention to small, closely observed moments in the human and the natural worlds.  Haiku writers often recall a moment of beauty; however, they also use  humor, a shift in mood, or unexpected juxtapositions to create a surprise in their poems. Although haiku can be read quickly, these short poems can offer ideas and images to take away for longer reflection.

We selected haiku for this project for these qualities and because it will give writers with different interests, perspectives and life experience a shared form to express diverse points of view.


The Bikeway, and your experience of it.  The Bikeway is an extraordinary resource, one of the first (and most heavily used) rail-to-trail paths in New England.  Originally a train route, its conversion to a bike route preserved a public way and miles of greenspace and habitat for birds and animals. The Bikeway travels through busy town centers as well as beautiful and inspiring natural places. It changes with the seasons and time of day, and everyone experiences it differently.

Next time you are there, take some time to notice what is going on beside you, within you, or beyond you. This project offers an opportunity to capture favorite places, vistas, or encounters and share them with neighbors, just as we share the road.


All haiku should be three lines long. Although English-language traditions use various syllable counts, for this project we will use a composition with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the last.  We ask for poems with no title.  There are no rules for capitalization and punctuation, so you can use both creatively for a specific effect or leave them out entirely. 

All submissions should be original and unpublished.  You may send up to three poems.


Friday August 25, 2018.


Anyone who uses and appreciates the Minuteman Bikeway can enter.  We encourage submissions from writers of all ages, as well as writers of any cultural background.

Along with your submission, please let us know your town of residence and, if under 18, your age and your school.


A selection committee will choose up to 100 haiku for installation on the Bikeway in the three towns. All submitted haiku will be published on our website.  Additional haiku may be displayed in public spaces as other opportunities arise.


Saturday, August 11, 7:30 pm, Nature in the City
Our friends at True Story Theater are holding a nature themed evening of storytelling and playback theater.  A section of the evening will be focused on the Minuteman Bikeway, and some of the stories told will inspire new haiku written by Cathie Desjardins, Arlington's poet laureate, and others.  Or write your own!  More information about the performance is on True Story Theater's website.

Saturday, August 18, 11 am to 2 pm
Open Air Haiku Extravaganza
Uncle Sam Plaza in Arlington Center
at the entrance to the Bikeway heading west to Lexington
Join Arlington Public Art and local poets for an open air haiku-writing happening on the Bikeway.  Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriter is bringing vintage typewriters for you to compose your haiku, and we'll also bring markers and pens for those who like to write by hand or draw! Special thanks to Jessie Brown, Charles Coe, Cathie Desjardins, Grey Held, and Gloria Mindock for joining us and sharing their expertise and enthusiasm. 


Send your haiku to: bikewayhaiku@gmail.com or use the submission form here.

Please note: by submitting your haiku you give the Towns of Arlington, Lexington and Bedford and their bike committees and non-profit arts organizations permission to publish your haiku for nonprofit purposes related to the 25th Anniversary of the Minuteman Bikeway, as well as paint your haiku onto the Minuteman Bikeway or otherwise display or print it as part of a public art installation.


Cecily Miller, Project Director
Liz LaManche, Consulting Artist
Members of the Bicycle Advisory Committees for Arlington, Lexington and Bedford
Munroe Center for the Arts, Lexington
Arlington, Lexington and Bedford Public Libraries

Charles Coe
Grey Held
Gloria Mindock


Check out the examples of haiku that we have collected to inspire you.

Browse through the haiku submissions received so far.

These are some websites that offer guidelines and suggestions for composing haiku.