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2016 Haiku

25 July 2016


Haiku is a form of poetry that appeals to me in significant and growing ways: they are the right size for an impatient poet; they have strict formal requirements* within which the writer has complete freedom of subject and word-choice; they align with my current professional goal of saying meaningful things very efficiently and in a very small space. While haiku don’t have to follow any rules to be good, and there’s no consensus on how to translate ancient rules of haiku into English, I decided to follow a strict, traditional, western syllable limit for the poems, that is 5-7-5.

These are the best of a recent prolific period. After writing a few poems a year for years, I recently picked up a paper notebook, and wrote 30 haiku in about 20 days.


Haiku Divina

Seven poems making the poetry of scripture my own, an exercise in lectio divina–four from Isaiah 1; one each from Romans 9, Song 8, Matthew 11


Solemnity is
The costume iniquity
Is wearing to church.

Spread your hands in prayer –
I hide my eyes from you – there:
blood has stained your palm.

You will be like wool,
if you agree and obey;
grass-fed and content.

Embarrassed at these
gardens that you have chosen –
you’re tinder, and spark.

it’s not who wants it
most, or who runs it down, just
God, who has mercy

Love, as strong as death;
Jealousy, like the grave.
Flash! The flame of God.

Light load, easy yoke
is co-creation, never
build a house alone.


Recursive Haiku

Two poems referencing the form in the function


wrote a hundred haiku, then
drew one conclusion.

Haiku for every
star and grain of sand, falling
between a child’s hands




the end of simpler
times: see the learned man pass
through the garden gate

To be powerless,
Led by the hand – bad enough!
Yet, reckoned a child?