What is the Way of haiku? Bare attention, no distractions, pure awareness, noticing only what is in the moment. Being connected to seasons, unconnected to self-clinging. And then, out of that, composing your experience in three lines that go beyond logic, that make the mind leap. In the center, a taste of emptiness. A frog, a crow, a turnip — the ordinary right in front of you is the realm of awakening. Pure Zen but not Zen.

Goldberg, Natalie. Three Simple Lines (pp. 5-6). New World Library. Kindle Edition.

One of the most common characteristics of haiku, as you can see from the many examples I have so far presented, is silence. Both sabi and wabi are associated with silence and stillness, and sabi is sometimes defined as quietness. Why is silence so important to haiku? At the most obvious level it allows us to focus our mind and therefore be more attentive and receptive to our experience and feeling.

Ross, Bruce. How to Haiku: A Writer’s Guide to Haiku and Related Forms (p. 22). Tuttle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

but for their voices
the herons would disappear —
this morning’s snow

— Chiyo-ni

stuck in a vase
deep mountain magnolia
blossoms open

— Shūōshi

white leek
—a beam of light—
now I chop it

— Momoko Kuroda

Even the iris bends
When a butterfly lights upon it.

— Amy Lowell

About an excavation
a flock of bright red lanterns
has settled.

— Charles Reznikoff

The whole neighborhood—
Plum blossoms,
Burnt toast . . .

—Miriam Sagan

even in Kyoto, 
hearing a cuckoo, 
I long for Kyoto

— Bashō

the vacant lot alive
with fireflies

— Peggy Willis Lyles

dead hamster —
my son invents
a religion

— George Dorsty

water in the vase
on our daughter’s grave—
a passing car

— Lenard D. Moore

The peonies do not allow
The rain-clouds a hundred leagues round
To approach them.

— Buson

with the river

— Hal Roth

In my medicine cabinet
the winter fly
Has died of old age

— Jack Kerouac

night of stars
all along the precipice
goat bells ring

— an’ya

crescent moon
would I look at the clouds
without it?

— William J. Higginson

Without a moon
the sea
becomes deeper.

— Steve Sanfield

First light:
   an oval drop of water
    on the mallard’s back

— Robert Spiess

The sudden thunder
Startles the magnolias
   To a deeper white

— Richard Wright

Boy and Top

Each time he flings it
it falls, just,
in the center of the world.

— Octavio Paz

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