The idea is that if you hear or see the same phrase or symbol again and again you grow habituated to it. For instance, right now, think about where you work or go to school (or some other non-residential interior where you spend considerable time) and tell me where the Exit signs and fire extinguishers are. You might well know, or you might have grown so used to them that they are in the background.

The City of New York has placed a number of signs warning pedestrians, bikers, and drivers, of the usual hazards, but using an unusual technique: New symbols linked to haiku.

Traffic warning street signs written as haiku are appearing on poles around the five boroughs, posted by the New York City Department of Transportation. The poems and accompanying artwork were created by artist John Morse. There are 12 designs in all, 10 in English and two in Spanish.

“Poetry has a lot of power,” Morse tells NPR’s Scott Simon. “If you say to people: ‘Walk.’ ‘Don’t walk.’ Or, ‘Look both ways.’ If you can tweak it just a bit — and poetry does that — the device gives these simple words power.”

I’ll give you a link.
A link that you can follow.
Just click on this word.


  1. #1 DonF
    December 4, 2011

    It seems very cool
    The drivers get distracted
    It is not so cool

  2. #2 RalphB
    December 4, 2011

    Theyr’e cute, but shoddy proof-syllable-counting.
    The third one’s not a haiku.

  3. #3 RalphB
    December 4, 2011

    I should have researched my pedantry more carefully.
    No doubt #3 is a jiyuritsu haiku rather than a teikei haiku.

  4. #4 Mike Licht
    December 4, 2011

    Poetic street signs
    Distract fewer drivers than
    Young girls in bike pants


  5. #5 Greg Laden
    December 4, 2011

    What a haiku is and is
    and what a haiku is not
    can be urban myths