Last week’s postings of Allen’s haiku (from “(21) Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624 Milvia Street, Berkeley, 1955, while reading R.H.Blyth’s 4 volumes, Haiku“ met with sufficiently enthusiastic response to embolden us to post more – these, more recent experiments from 1973 and 1975 (published in 1978’s Mostly Sitting Haiku):
Mountain wind slow as breath,/mist drifts over pines -/ I’ve sat twenty days on this same pillow!
Meditation hall silent/ bird slammed into window/ sat brooding half an hour/ Saw Buddha then.
Fog rolling down/ the nountain/ the tram lift towers/above leafless aspen/Clouds part and blue sky shows.
A mountain outside/a room inside/a skull above/Snow on the mountain/flowers in the room/thoughts in the skull.
Snow mountain fields/ seen thru transparent wings/ of a fly on the windowpane.
Use breath as Manjusri/ Sword instantly cutting/ down thought after thought/heaviness of sleep dream/ fantasy, breath after breath/ outward.
(Graffiti in Teton Village) – “If you voted for Nixon/You won’t shit here/Cause your asshole’s in/ Washington.”
(from Chogyam Trungpa’s Crazy Wisdom Lectures – Observations Mixed With Trungpa Quotes) – “In the realm of Great Bliss” / Bark,/Bow Wow!
“No hope No fear”/ Pens rustle on paper -/ Steinbeck is coughing.
“Discipline, real Discipline”/ Yellow carnations open/under flood lamps in the tent.
“Talk stand shit”/ eat sleep -/ Flies walking on my nose.
“Good at the beginning..”/ tears roll down/ my palsied right cheek.
“You’re not going to get your money back”/ Everybody laughing – / “Any questions?”
“Willing to be Fool?”/ Night moths/ circle the tent pole.
“Emptiness, no need for policy-maker..”/ Secretaries lean together/ at the tent wall.
“What do we mean by Craziness?”/ Dogs bark to each other/ across the meadow at night.
Against brown grass/ the hole in a black truck tire/ swings slowly between trees.
Sunlight mixed with dust/ rises behind a truck/ on the dirt road.
Rows of sitting heads -/ blue windows, car/parked silent on grass.
(from Cabin In The Rockies)
Sitting on a stump with half cup of tea,/ sun down behind mountains -/ Nothing to do.
Not a word! Not a word!/ Flies do all my talking for me -/ and the wind says something else.
Fly on my nose/ I’m not the Buddha/ There’s no enlightenment here.
Against red bark truck/ A fly’s shadow/ lights on the shadow of a pine bough.
White sun up behind pines,/ a moth flutters past/ the brown wood pile.
An hour after dawn/ I haven’t thought of Buddha once yet!/ – walking back into the retreat house.
(Walking into King Sooper after Two-Week Retreat) – A thin red-faced pimpled boy/ stands alone minutes/looking into the ice cream bin.
(Park Avenue, Paterson – 2 a.m.) – A red sweater/ crumpled on lawn grass/ under bright streetlights -/ across the street from Louis’ hospital.
The withered purple roses droop/ on their green dry-leafed stalks/ father dying Cancered in the bedroom.
and, five from 1976:
I thought my mother was dead and/lamented her/surrounded by billions of mothers/ cows grass-blades and girlfriends’ eyes.
Buddha died and/ left behind a/ big emptiness.
Candle-light blue banners incense,/ aching knee, hungry mouth -/ any minute the gong – potatoes &/ sour cream!
Sunlight on the red zafu/ clank of forks and plates -/ I used to sit like this years ago.
Did you ever see yourself/a breathing skull/looking out the eyes?
Here’s a recording of Allen reading – more haiku
For related syllabic experiments – see, (amongst other works), “136 Syllables At Rocky Mountain Dharma Center” and “American Sentences”.