Thinking in Haiku (Sounds like an ’80’s Pop Song)

I am currently a little mired in doing critiques of other people’s work so I am getting a bit behind on my blogposts. If you are looking for a decent online workshop and you write science fiction, fantasy or horror, check out It is a place where you can critique other people’s work and you can post your own work.

This morning I have been kind of thinking in haiku. Here are a few examples:

Storm blew, bending trees.
Wind chimes cried out the assault.
Little sleep for me.

Coffee, milk, and toast.
Much work to be done today.
Quilt warm, pillow soft.

Sometimes, so very cold
Beyond needing a sweater.
Tears warmer than tea.

By intent a hand
hits a drum, sound fills the air.
Nothing is the same.

The pattern for haiku is 5 syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and the third line again has 5 syllables. It’s good practice to see how dense and succinct you can make the words.


Haiku by Buson

Yosa Buson was an eighteenth century poet and painter. I like his haiku because they contain both humor and a profound spiritual sense. The poems are detached and very visual. Here are a few that are calming my very tired soul this evening:

A heavy cart rumbles by
and the peonies

He’s on the porch,
to escape the wife and kids–
how hot it is!

for the wild geese of Shosho;
a hazy moon.

Coming back–
so many pathways
through the spring grass.

Lighting the lantern–
the yellow chrysanthemums
lose their color.

Calligraphy of geese
against the sky–
the moon seals it.

The old calendar
fills me with gratitude
like a sutra.

Poetry: Natsume Soseki

Natsume Soseki lived during the Victorian era. He was a novelist, a teacher, and a zen practitioner who observed nature with an unflinching eye. He also wrote beautiful and insightful haiku. Personally for me, the last few days have been very trying. The haiku of Natsume Soseki are like refreshment for my soul.

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.

Now gathering,
Now scattering,
Fireflies over the river.

The crow has flown away:
swaying in the evening sun,
a leafless tree.

Basho’s Haikus

I am very tired this evening and homesick for Michigan.

I miss sitting in the pines and watching the grey waters of Lake Michigan swell into white capped waves. In my mind’s eye I can see the thunderhead rolling across the lake like a deity, rains scouring the water, winds bending the pale golden beach grass until the tops etch bone white sands.

I remember walking in May from my house to downtown. In May Michigan is lush with new green, flowers bloom, and the air is moist. The grass grows and vines climb. The light filters in diamonds through verdant canopies of broad leaves.

I miss a gentler landscape.

I miss the waves.

Basho’s Haiku remind me of my connection to things greater. Here are a few:

In the cicada’s cry
No sign can foretell
How soon it must die.

Won’t you come and see
loneliness? Just one leaf
from the kiri tree.

The sun’s way:
hollyhocks turn toward it
through all the rains of May.

Sparrows in eves
Mice in ceiling –
Celestial music.

Summer in the world;
floating on the waves
of the lake.

Now I see her face,
the old woman, abandoned,
the moon her only companion