Haikus by Kerouac (and a few of my own)

I occasionally dip into Kerouac’s Book of Haikus or ‘pops’ as he called them. He once said “a haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture”. And so they‘re not inhibited by the rules of traditional haiku, just free, random, and spontaneous.. three lines to capture a scene or moment or idea… and he was a master of it.


the sun keeps getting

dimmer – foghorns

began to blow in the bay


the sky is still empty,

the rose is still

on the typewriter keys


In the sun

the butterfly wings

like a church window


You’d be surprised

how little I knew

even up to yesterday


praying all the time –


to myself


the bird came on the branch

-danced three times-

and burred away


Drunk as a hoot owl

writing letters

By thunderstorm


Useless! useless!

heavy rain driving

Into the sea


Halloween colors

orange and black

On a summer butterfly


Wild to sit on a haypile,

Writing haikus

Drinkin wine


Gull sailing

in the saffron sky-

The Holy Ghost wanted it


Barefoot by the sea,

stopping to scratch one ankle

With one toe


Perfectly silent

in the starry night

the little tree


Swinging on delicate hinges

the autumn leaf

almost off the stem


rain’s over, hammer on wood

this cobweb

rides the sun shine


And here are a few of my own inspired by Kerouac:

a swooping swallow

sketches the outline

of distant mountains

a falcon perches

on the crash barrier

waylaid by human logic

everyone else

saw white walls

she saw snowy hills

in some childish dream

he smeared paint onto my cheek

I tipped into infinity

driving by night

the snow hits the window

like stars at warp speed

will you fall

into these words

or stumble over them?

in heaven


through clouds of people

Gauguin humbled

by these people of the forest

who spoke only truth

body aflame

mind soaring

on a higher plane

a  robin

prancing branch to branch


birds in flight at dusk



cold white mornings

beautiful december


leaves in icy stasis

like mosquitoes

forever in amber