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Kevin McLaughlin

with Kevin McLaughlin

Haiku Mind Redux

Haiku is the only form of poetry that emphasizes the direct awakening of mind to nature. This is an ineffable trait that defines a great haiku. It is a quality of spiritual development that can be practiced by any religion or philosophy. It is a recognition of the absolute nonduality of the world. Writing haiku on a regular basis breaks down the ego so that the difference between subject and object vanishes. This awakening can happen to anybody at any time. The result will be a three-line poem, perhaps with 17 syllables, which affirms the sacred quality of existence. Superb haiku penetrates beyond the intellectual mind, joining words with an intuitive understanding that places the poet in a temporary state of Sanctifying Grace, Buddha Mind, or any other description that transcends the ordinary senses. It is words to get beyond words.


Haiku reveals the thing-in-itself, a distilled image that can be appreciated in many different ways. In one sense, haiku is a variety of benevolent pantheism. And it forms a bond between the poet and the reader, for reading one can be as rewarding as writing one. Once a haiku has been written, it belongs to everyone, not just the poet.


Kevin McLaughlin




Dianne Moritz, a former teacher, is a children's poet and picture book author. Her haiku is inspired by nature and the beautiful beaches near her home in Southampton, New York.


ospreys perch

high above the beach

searching for prey


meteor showers

exploding in the night sky

nature’s fireworks


Dianne Moritz


Christina Chin of Malaysia must practice mindfulness throughout the day.


I sit in meditation

but my mind goes

out for a walk


first tiny steps

on tippy toes

magnolia blossoms


(Magnolia’s upright blossoms resemble little ballerinas.)


wake-up call

the bulbul’s piercing melody

sharp and clear


whistling warbler

a few white blossoms

on her cleavage


Christina Chin




Phil Huffy writes early and often at his kitchen table.


snow slinks away

as muddy yards

wait their turn



disguise the pond

but for ripples


(Give this haiku a second read.)


by the garage

spring’s first chipmunk

glances cautiously


Phil Huffy



Diana Teneva of Bulgaria has had her poetry translated into many languages.


misty morning

I can feel droplets

on my face


(What may seem commonplace connects us to the universe. Our atoms merge with the mist.)


Summer morning

mist envelopes the blue heron —

there’s a mystery!


Diana Teneva




Ogedengbe Tolulope is an award-winning Nigerian poet and has been published extensively. Clearly, he is an active leader in the Afriku movement.


by the creeks of the Niger

father's gravestone . . .

just before the sea


(Beautiful poem, and very moving.)


early morning

birds race the sky

nature's reunion


village river . . .

the goddess's teeth

on white bricks

Ogedengbe Tolulope


Fruitful Ayobami is a Nigerian engineer and writer. He continues the great tradition of the Afriku.


cupped hands . . .

I sip the songs

of night birds


(A unique interplay of the senses.)



spreading her clothes outside —

early morning sun


Fruitful Ayobami


Sterling Warner, author, poet, and educator, has been widely published, including in Danse Macabre.


long black digits spread

cerulean fingernails

scratch icy windows


dragonfly sprinklers

rainbows chasing waterdrops

dual wings dart, dip


(Some of the best haiku, like this verse, arise from the rigidity of the form combined with the freedom of poetry.)


frost covered walkway

daffodils push though loose dirt

makeshift hovels shake


Sterling Warner

S. Denny resides in San Angelo, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas. Mr. Denny is very much a master of the classical style.


much to contemplate

broken things and memories;

purple thistle bloom


a boat-tail grackle

casting sheen of purple-green;

black contradiction


bronze urn and ashes

memories, unfinished dreams;

sleeping now alone


S Denny




Winston Widjaja Lin is a gaysian American of Indonesian and Taiwanese heritage.


swaying dock,

clear sea and sky:

give clarity


(That first line conveys the clarity of the third line. Feel that swaying.)


o, the grains’

trustworthy touch

protecting sand


the older trees

with rings and sturdiness —

lifelong lesson


Winston Widjaja Lin

Joe Sebastian of Bangalore, India, is a post-grad student in Political Science. He serves in the Government of India as Principal Commissioner of Income Tax.

pond landing

the heron rearranges

the clouds


where her ashes dropped

now blooming, his

favourite cacti


(Mr. Sebastian holds out the interpenetration of all things in a semi-mystical poem.)


hen’s murmuration

the drone of a

rookie monk’s prayer


Joe Sebastian



Peter Prizel of Bedford Hills, New York, is a social worker at a nursing home specializing in end-of-life care.


Tibetan singing bowl

freeing the mind

a cloudless sky


Peter Prizel




Jerome Berglund of Minneapolis has written a seasonal piece worthy of any collection of winter haiku.


     snowfall is hardest

to contend with when it comes

      upon one slowly


Jerome Berglund




Zachary Joseph Garcia is a Navy veteran and is studying English and Film at Baylor University in Texas.


How the crane ascends

Like Enoch into Heaven

To greet the pink moon


(This haiku seamlessly integrates with the poetic supernatural.)


Zachary Joseph Garcia




Teague McKamey lives with his wife in Washington State. The third line conveys profound loss and emptiness.


The pond is seized by

icy rigor, dead to wind,

and bereft of swans.


Teague McKamey

Sarah Calvello lives in San Francisco, where she senses transparency without consistency.


One of those nights

Where the moon seems to be looking

For a new curve


(Grateful acceptance for the impermanence of the moon’s phases.)


Looking out

Transparency without consistency

Leaves are falling

Sarah Calvello

Anthony Dimatteo recently published a much-acclaimed book of poems, In Defense of Puppets. Feel the power of that third line.


Listen — someone there? 

Turn to look, only a few 

trees grasping at stars.


Anthony Dimatteo




Keith McCaughin earned an MS in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins. Mr. McCaughin writes in a 3-5-3 syllabic format.



golden fans flutter

gingko strips


siren moans

into dead silence

great gate raped


last year’s doves

feed at my feet in



Keith McCaughin

Max Gutmann has contributed to dozens of publications, including Frogpond.


syntax of birdsong,

making of the man’s wise words

monotone nonsense


Max Gutmann



Daya Bhat is from Bangalore, India. She strides across the cosmos . . . awake.


butterfly —

cosmos to cosmos

the shifting axis


winter mist

on fresh patchouli

I dream of home


nightingale leaves

the crescendo —

missing notes


Daya Bhat




Frank X. Christmas studied journalism and writing at Northeastern University, and theology with a retired Jesuit.


briny sand

under wintry skies —

horizon’s promise


the sounded shore

the boundless sea—

distant foghorns


littered shores

of broken shells —

perfect footmarks


(Perfect juxtaposition.)


Frank X. Christmas



Douglas J. Lanzo resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife and twin boys. Mr. Lanzo, a lawyer by trade, is an extensively published poet.


sakura snow

scent of cherries

melting away


spitting snake

the sparkle and pop

of autumn fire


(Observe carefully how the first two lines enhance one another.)


silver lining

enraptured mayflies

drawn to moonlight


clouds swirl

below sandstone peaks

towering tests of time


coloring our trail

red-breasted bluebirds

dot morning melody


parting clouds

dappled river otter

soaks in rolling sun


Douglas J. Lanzo




Haiku is best written in a still, quiescent state. It is in this state when we are able to catch life as it flows. When our minds are closed to awareness, we are trapped in a self-constructed Ghost Cave.

Kevin McLaughlin


Haiku | Better Than Starbucks

Yet once more I encourage all haiku writers to share their work, their insights into the nature of all things, with fellow poets and BTS readers.  

For those interested in haiku, I recommend you cast back into the BTS archives and reference the September 2016 column.

It provides a pretty thorough explanation of the basic format.

Kevin Mclaughlin

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