Bill of Rights Day Haiku Challenge: Tiny poems for BIG ideas!

December 15, 2015 marks the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights! Send your entries (no limit) to, via Twitter @acluhawaii, or on Facebook ( by 12/15/15.
  • Haiku are short poems, 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables. Learn more!
  • Entries published & used by the ACLU-HI in various ways (print, website and social media, etc.)
  • Entries may be under a real name, a nom de plume, or completely anonymous – per writer preference when submitted.
  • No prizes, this is just for fun.
  • Need inspiration?

Read the wondrous results of the 2011 Haiku Challenge here.

Read the gob-smacking results of the 2013 Haiku Challenge here.

  • Submissions grouped by Amendment, where specified or obvious. In the spirit of the 1st Amendment, haiku are published verbatim, may not reflect the views of the ACLU of Hawaii, and may not be suitable for all readers.


1st Amendment: Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause, freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition

Speak, yell or babble
Without censorship or fear
ACLU’s here!
– Example haiku

Here comes Big Brother
It’s not nineteen eighty-four
You will let me speak!
- Anonymous Hippopotamus

First are complex rights:
Speech, religion, assembly,
petition, press too.
- R. Janis Parker

No establishment,
nor free exercise limits,
for all religions.
- R. Janis Parker

Police state tries to
chill free speech and assembly
by mass surveillance.
- R. Janis Parker

2nd Amendment: Sovereign state, the right to keep and bear arms


3rd Amendment: Protection from quartering of troops 


4th Amendment: Protection from unreasonable search and seizure

Kaka‘ako sweeps
It destroyed more than just homes
It took livelihoods.
-Anonymous Hippopotamus

5th Amendment: Due process, double jeopardy, self incrimination, eminent domain.

 Plead the Fifth to stop
one's self-incrimination
by testimony.
- R. Janis Parker

6th Amendment: Trial by jury & rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel

Jury of our peers
cannot be stacked against us,
Equal Protection.
- R. Janis Parker

7th Amendment: Civil trial by jury


8th Amendment: Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel & unusual punishment

The idea of
President Donald J. Trump:
Punishment enough.
-Anonymous Hippopotamus

Eighth Amendment says
no cruel or unusual
punishment allowed.
- R. Janis Parker

No waterboarding,
torture, or electric shock,
in captivity.
- R. Janis Parker

9th Amendment: Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution

Overbroad / vague laws
make easy violations,
selective arrests.
- R. Janis Parker

10th Amendment: Powers of States and people


13th Amendment: Abolishing slavery


  • 14th Amendment: Due process, equal protection, birthright citizenship

Fourteenth Amendment:
Cannot take your property
Without due process.
-Anonymous Hippopotamus

Bill of Rights protects
regardless of finances,
or diverse status.
- R. Janis Parker

Black, white, brown, or gray
You will have a voice to say
Who gets elected.
-Anonymous Hippopotamus

  • 19th Amendment: No sex discrimination in the voting booth
  • 24th Amendment: Prohibition of poll taxes
  • General Bill of Rights Topic/Tributes & Non-Haikus

Our rights protected
through many legal battles -
Thanks, ACLU!
- R. Janis Parker

You can have your drinks.
We also like our whiskey.
The joke is on you.
-Drew Cook (21st Amendment)