My Freestyle Haiku

Haiku philosophy and my writing

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Photo by Alessio Ferretti on Unsplash

Some might doubt that what I write is haiku.
Maybe it’s just thoughts or a short verse or ‘freestyle’ haiku. I have written and read these things for over 50 years.

The how-to haiku debate is not worth having.
We each write by our own rules. For some, any ‘free verse’ of any kind is not poetry.

You don’t learn to drive a car by knowing the intricacies of building one.
Many people write haiku only by knowing the mechanics.
17 syllables, 3 lines, about ‘something’. Mood or feelings, personal rants about life, and how things ‘should be’ are often seen. We all want to change our world.

I don’t buy it. The best haiku are written in a state of mindful (or mindless) awareness and attentiveness. Using only enough words or just an image.

eyes close —
sparrows pick up the verse

The best haiku hope for nothing but what is. A time (moment or minutes) of connection to Life.
We cannot seek beauty. The Muse does not come because we call. We can but wait.

like the smell of fresh-baked bread
like warm sun and the wind at our back
like death on the open road

It’s made for simple folk no matter their status.
It’s not $10 words, but knowing the meanings and use of small ones.

Saying what is in a shallow breath.
Focusing outside ourselves and not denying our inner being.
Do not fall for the lie of separateness. Be aware of the sacred moments that you and the cosmos share.

I too get sucked into the blather of violence and destruction of the world, into the fears. Messages from society drive us back into our separateness.
Moments of haiku are small respites in which I can find a sense of truth and peace and belonging.

Haiku, for me. is a somewhat selfish act. It quiets the mind's continuous babble of things past and future. It returns me to my place as a part of the now.

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By D R Sanford

Like a student of Zen, I feel foolish when I say, “I Know”.

Dana R. Sanford
Feb. 12, 2021

A new book that explains much about haiku is Haiku Enlightenment. I highly recommend it. I make no money from this endorsement.

Poet. Philosopher. A sense of Humor. 60 years ago I rode the winds at the top of a tall cottonwood. Buy me a coffee @

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