Watercolor Tears: A Haiku Journal

By Elsa Barron

This assembly of haikus is a personal journal of resilience throughout a year’s time. It is a reflection on loss, yet its most resounding theme is love. Subjects wander from international headlines to personal encounters, touching on war, the courts, climate change, Amtrak rides, and a pair of checkered rollerskates. Like flowing watercolors, these encounters intermingle and create a yearning for something beautiful in the midst of chaos.


Invasive thoughts
There is a war on
But you are thinking too much
Today is sunny

Overheard on the train
Your health and safety
Benefit from bison meat
Heartfelt genocide
Love, support, kindness
Like tobacco on the teeth
Rot straight to the core
A healthy fry bread
Consecrated by the Lord
Is broken for you

Reflections on the (NY)Times
Can you imagine
Getting the COVID vaccine
In Syria now?
We will inject you
With a life-saving serum
While the bombs explode


A wartime purchase
A perfect pink pill
For the things that rolled away
Checkered rollerskates

Why no mask today?
Just invisible you say
It was always on

Wynn Bruce
The world is on fire
Yet the people find some hope
In lighting a match


Shireen Abu Akleh et. al
To bury the dead
Under the barrel of guns
It is victory

My ten-year-old self
Upon viewing the future
Screams a heretic

Fragility’s mold
Who I was to who I am
Granite into glass

Season’s greetings
Just a one-point-five
Two-point-five, two-point-seven
Degree bliss-filled world


On the way to COP27
Plane is a cartoon
Filled with busy minds, but souls?
Watching BBC

With a beach party
We usher indecision
And try to forget

The way from COP27
In delicate silk
Amidst tipping and collapse
We waltz to thunder

The way
Yearning to create
Emotions drip like painted
Watercolor tears


Elsa Barron is an environmental peace and security researcher, writer, person of faith, and youth activist. She is also the host of the podcast, Olive Shoot, which highlights reasons for hope in the midst of the climate crisis through many approaches to environmental peacebuilding. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of advocates who use art to captivate, in addition to the mind, the imagination.