Haiku in the New Year

When I was privileged to be the writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Florida a couple of years ago, I tried writing haiku from time to time. It seemed appropriate. Kerouac wrote haiku, and sometimes very good ones. It wasn’t always traditional, the 5-7-5 syllables, the mention of season, the juxtaposition of thought. But it was interesting, sometimes poignant, sometimes even funny, and always, it seemed Kerouacian cool.

My haiku? Well, the poems seemed amateurish. But they got better, I thought. It was fun to write them, at least.

So in this new year, I’ve been trying to get back into some semblance of meditation. Simple stuff. Just a way to clear my head and ground my thoughts. And from time to time, jotting down a haiku or two. Not as a writing process really, but more as a “moment in time.” Just something to add to my meditation.

I worked on a standing meditation this morning, breathing and soft, light movement. The 15-minute meditation produced this:

I follow my breath
    the icicle hangs from high
In a silent day

And, in a more modern approach…

I stand and move
    a slow silence
The dog sleeps

Any good? Hell, I don’t know. Really don’t care. It was just an exercise in thought, in emotion. I offer this as a suggestion. When you’re approaching something new, something creative, set no bars to jump. Just do the thing. Let it be. Let it happen. No goals. No judgement.

Somehow this seems appropriate for writing haiku, and for the New Year.


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