Enjoy this practice as a stand-alone experience or as the first of an eight-day series celebrating National Poetry Month and inspired by Br. David's appreciation of and experience with haiku.
A Haiku doesn’t talk about an experience;
a Haiku triggers an experience
— your own.
~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
A Haiku doesn’t talk about an experience;
a Haiku triggers an experience
— your own.
~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
We begin this practice with an invitation to give yourself over to reading haiku — discover what you are drawn to, and notice the experience that is triggered in you.
Calligraphy by Br. David Steindl-Rast
Today we invite you to read haiku. Perhaps you have some books of haiku on hand. If not, here is a one-page assortment of Haiku to keep things simple.
Tom Clausen encourages us to:
Read to find what moves you, what you love, what you like and what you enjoy and brings meaning to you. With whatever writing brings solace and inspiration to you, let it sink in and become part of you so that you reflect and recognize what it is that touched you… in time, the more you are in this meditative and reflective space the more likely your own writing will bring out what is meaningful to you.
Once you have had an opportunity to be with some haiku, select one from among those you have read, write it down with the author’s name, and complete the following writing prompts relative to that haiku. Feel free to write your responses in a notebook and/or in the reflection area below.
1. I am drawn to this haiku because…
2. In this haiku I notice…
3. Reading this haiku I experience…
If you would like to explore this topic further and discover more about what moves you, you might want to repeat this three-part reflection exercise with a few more haiku.
Enjoy the full eight-day Exploring Haiku practice.
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I love reading all of the poems here and in the comments. I had BIG plans today. I rushed out of my house and forgot my special journal and my special pens and all my “special” equipment that I like to use when I write or draw– those things that give a sense of security when I embark on a new project. Instead I used a white board and I wrote a haiku about my leaving my house.
A clock yells hurry
Greening rushing seedlings grab sky
I stop. Hear their sound?
alone in the waiting room
checking the plant
— Tom Clausen
I am drawn to this haiku because it reminds me of the 59 days my husband spent in the hospital and I would be with him everyday.. Checking the plant for reality reminds of checking for life and hope amid the machines, plastic, and metal. This was very profound to me.
Nothing left to say today,
nothing left to do.
Flowers bloom on trees.
The butterfly has disappeared
And now it comes back to me,
My wandering mind.
— Brother David Steindl-Rast
1. I am there with the butterfly, present though they are but words on a page
2. The fine line between reality and remembering a memory, creating a vision
3. The calm of being in this moment. The joy of having the experience.
In spring’s bright promise
Blue and pink blooms gently dance
from winter’s last snow
The mountain so high
Each footstep carefully placed
My pounding heart sings
I’m sharing a haiku written in response to drive by shootings, using A-L words for first 2 lines
A B C Dead End
Feel Gun’s Heat, I Just Knew Love
R I P my heart
What a sad poem, Steve!
I was drawn to Ruth Yarrow’s haiku that starts with “dome of stars”
It parks my curiosity. Wh0 is in the tent? What are they doing? The light. Is it a candle? A flashlight or lantern? In this haiku I notice the connection of light in the beginning–the stars so far away and the light at the end–within. Reading this haiku I experience warmth and protection, from light and a haven from all outside, in the tent. Thank you, Ruth.
The geese flying home haiku felt familiar and brought back the best feelings of truly “going HOME.”
The repetition of going home for all of us, all of creation.
As I wonder around the Sonoran Desert this spring, I take in the fierce, harsh beauty of the desert in bloom.
Desert cactus blooms
Thorns shade delicate blossoms
Hurry! Quickly gone
I live in the Sonoran desert and your haiku speaks to me. Our beautiful desert is ever changing. This haiku was written after our February storm.
Rainbow through the snow
wind whips the palo verde
People wearing coats
Snow in the desert…what a fabulous image and experience!
I love the palo verde trees here.
So different from the familiar Redwoods of my home place.
This is my haiku of palo verde trees.
Multiple trunks and branches,
Long, lean, apple-green,
Surrender to the wind
That’s lovely. Thank you for sharing.
I wrote this haiku in 4th or 5th grade and everyone laughed at me:
Warm is the cold wind
To those who want to be warm
Warm within themselves.
so wise, even when you were a wee one!
Many years ago I wrote this haiku when I noticed that all the trees on my walk were slanted:
Trees slanting up straight
Am I the one standing crooked
In a straight-up world?
Today in reading for this lesson I came across this haiku by Issa:
Don’t know about the people,
but all the scarecrows
I’m drawn to this haiku because it makes me smile and because it reminded me of my own haiku. In this haiku I notice the word “crooked” and wonder about all the meanings that word has that works in the haiku. When I read it I experience a moment of pleasure, of knowing something that might be “secret.” I’m seeing a lot of “crooked” as I look around and work. lol
I agree with Lin said below: Haiku captures the essence of the subject. And the form forces the writer to be efficient with words, to get to the kernel of the experience.
This morning a surprise April blizzard is raging outdoors, forcing a snow day, meaning a change in routine for my teen who does not respond well to changes in routine. Mama wanted to enjoy the snow day and sleep in, expecting that the young one would be equally delighted. But teen angst woke me up this morning instead. I wrote this haiku to try to capture the full experience in 17 syllables. Thank you for letting me share.
Please grant me the grace
to withstand the storm raging
outside and inside.
Zee Zahava ‘s haiku stoked the emotions of change and felt like a deep breath of life for a brief moment. Grateful for this exercise. Thank you.
I come weary,
In search of an inn—
Ah! these wisteria flowers!
— Basho, translated by William George Ashton
I am drawn to this because it speaks my truth in such a simple way. I notice the acceptance or acknowledgment of a physical condition yet still having the ability to delight in beauty. Reading this I find validation.
They are all beautiful. I have two favorites. The first one is:
wind twists a lifetime
I’m draw to it because of its construction and language. I notice how the author has given us a snapshot of a moment with much to think about, using few words. Reading this haiku, I experience the intentional ambiguity of the second line, and also the invitation to fill in the meaning of the haiku from my own understanding or perception. I’m left musing on what this snapshot of life means. The second one is:
–Holly Wren Spaulding
I am drawn to this also because of its ambiguity in the second line. At first I thought the moon was barely audible–but no, it’s the buoy bell. Or is it? Or is it both? And so few words. I experience a feeling of curiosity and anticipation–it must be early morning, or late evening. Which?
All of these are modern haiku, which are not constrained by syllables.
Hi Jody…Don’t you just love how a few well-placed words can make your mind launch into vivid images of places & memories?
Yes! Even a short phrase like “sidewalk sale” puts images in my mind.
I love haiku because it captures the ESSENCE of the subject.
On this beautiful spring day, and after being so inspired by the haiku I read, I was moved to write my own:
Spring, the blooms draping
Over trees and shrubs, swirling
Fragrance a delight.
Lovely haiku, Lin!
How lovely! Thank you for sharing Lin. ❤
Sincere thanks Serafina!
1. I am drawn to this haiku by Zee Zahava because…it expresses being in the moment that is so real and understandable.
2. In this haiku I notice…what it is to be in the moment and how the simplicity of a beautiful red bird can be such an awesome reminder to take notice in the very moment we are in right now.
3. Reading this haiku…I experience the tranquility of being in the moment.
I am drawn to Brother David’s haiku about the lake and the rain. It evokes the ambiguity of figure and ground, the illusion that so interested me when I was young and took a design course, and that now seems the epitome of zen. In this haiku, I notice the syllable count is 4 6 3 rather than 5 7 5. I notice the repetition of “is lost” and “in the” that sets up the feeling of ambiguity, of not knowing which is which. I notice the simplicity of two images that nevertheless evokes a complex mental image of rain storms I have watched as they play out on the surface of the pond in my back yard. I notice the rocking feeling ,the back and forth of the simple words and their rhythms. And so I must write one:
dawn’s comforting pink
challenges nature’s warning:
change will be coming.
Warm rain evokes summer. Lovely on a cold, snowy morning.
Milk flows brings back happy memories of nursing my sons.
I noticed “garden party”. 2 of my favorite words! Love my garden and having tea parties.
I experienced nostalgia and a yearning for yet another summer, if it is in the cards for me.
The temple bell stops—
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers
Drawn because of the imagery and the mingling of the senses: sound from silent flowers. They invite with the call of the sacred, just as the temple bell.
I notice beauty
I experience a familiar, primal joy in the marriage of nature and the divine. Awe.
Zee Zahava: here i am —
somewhere between ocean and moon
somewhere between lost and found
I am drawn to Haiku because of the simplicity combined with the profound. This poem caught my eye, and my heart, as it is a sense of life that I experience often. Reading Haiku this morning is giving me a sense of calm.
how to love — bittersweet attaining its full color
This was my favorite. I am relocating and feel sad at leaving everyone here before I leave. So I related to the theme of this haiku. Also, haiku is traditionally first line: 5 syllables; second 7 and third 5. This one is 3-3-7 – I like building new forms of haiku on top of the traditional. The word “bittersweet” is so expressive. Yes I am grateful for love I give and receive, but so often the experience has a bitter taste along with the sweetness because relationships are so complex. And the metaphor of “…attaining its full color.” describes so well the shades of feeling in relating to my children and grandchildren.
Wishing you blessings with your relocation Martha ❤
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