Haiku Life

In the years I spent teaching English I would sometimes introduce my students to the haiku form to challenge and focus their writing skills, and to encourage personal expression.  The syllable restriction of three lines of 5-7-5 required that they (and I) choose their words carefully.  With a minimum of preparation I found that the results were often surprising.  While traditional haiku is strongly identified with the seasons, the form is a durable one and easily expanded to include a wider range of topics.  Like my students, I have used haiku to record meaningful life events and observations as well as seasonal themes.  This file will be further amended as poetry intersects with life.

Autumn comes, the days

Grow short…look there, my old cat

In the garden sleeps


Beautiful diamonds

Lord Jesus, Buddha, Krishna

And I am…gravel


I saw them one fall

Locust trees, by the railroad

Leaves gold…like my mind


The old ragged pine

Still puts forth some brave new shoots

Every year…like me


Grandmother told me

While making some French pancakes

First one–throw away!


Of all diseases

All it takes is only one

To bring someone down


Accident sculpture

Much better than I could make

Three pots…fell over


Sitting on my deck

Am I now Christ…or Buddha?

Devotee…a cat!


Wind and rain today

Seagulls, wet grass, white daisies

Put on…galoshes!


Near home…in a field

Lost my sense of direction

How mysterious!


My first memory

Crib, windows, morning bright light

Mother…is smiling


Walking with mother

Spring clouds, Black Pine, gold poppies

Picture…etched clearly


On the low table

See and smell chrysanthemums

Soon…will pass away


Caw! Caw! Caw! Caw! Caw!

Minimalist symphony

Morning song of crows


The gardener’s hands

Bent, bronzed, wrinkled, old, and worn

Like the tree he tends


Three plum trees at dawn

Were glowing, glowing, glowing

Eternal rose pink


The door is open

The cats come in and the same

Cats go out again


I am retired

And I finally have time

To watch trains pass by


Mindfulness is this:

Be sure to turn off the stove

And zip your zipper


Old people will die

When no longer able to

Open their own food


I’ve found out that deer

Are old-time bonsai masters




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