Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Sunday haiku for Jack Kerouac

I'm no expert on haikus, or Kerouac, or anything -- really! -- but I was thinking about haikus this morning for some reason. Lately I've gotten so I journal in haiku, a practice which has yielded several hundred over the last few months ( about 370 to date).

Now, you might take a peek at my journal and say that what I have been writing are not haikus because, while they are three lines, they do not follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable format. Jack Kerouac would beg to differ with that observation, saying:
I propose that the "Western Haiku" simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language. Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture . . . . (source:
For some on-line examples of Kerouac's Western Haikus, click here: Notice how they follow Jack's description above: three lines, simple, no worries about syllabication. Notice also how this form differs from Allen Ginsberg's "American Sentences": one sentence, 17 syllables. See

Here's an example of a haiku I wrote while sitting at The Dugout, my regular bar in Farmington, ME, on April 6:
I see a hobo
but she's really
a queen for the day
Now that haiku may not stand-alone very well, but when I re-read it (remember, this is my journaling technique) it brings back memories of that particular moment -- for me! And that's the point of a journal.

And so, per this post's title, here is a Sunday haiku that I just wrote this very moment:
Friends visit
windchimes tinkle
summer happens anew
What does that have to do with Jack Kerouac? Well, it's a Western Haiku. And besides, everything connects to Kerouac. But you already knew that.

Write a haiku today and don't worry about syllables. Just create an image or a feeling in as few words as possible in three lines. You can do it! You might even like it enough to try it as a journaling technique and end up with hundreds of haikus. Next you'll think about publishing them, and a Pulitzer is not far behind. Think big, right?

Happy Sunday, everybody!

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