Haiku Inspiration


Jessie Brown, the poet and teacher is who is collaborating with us to shape Neighborhood Haiku in Arlington Heights, has gathered some examples of haiku poetry to inspire you in writing your own.  Many are by notable published poets, such as Richard Wright, known for his groundbreaking novel Black Boy, who wrote haiku every day when he was living a quiet life in rural France in his later years. Others were originally written for Bikeway Haiku.  Brown has also contributed two, including one inspired by Wannamaker’s Hardware in the Heights!

2 sample haiku inspired by Arlington Heights

under his wide
sunhat, the baby wears a pink
ice-cream moustache
—Jessie Brown
Sale: nuts, bolts, rakes
extension cords — what tool
mends loneliness?
—Jessie Brown


crowded street
Grandpa on the sidewalk
talking to himself
— Maria Teresa Piras

after leaf blowers
and car alarms
— Kath Abela Wilson

Saturday rain
the desire to buy something
— Jane Reichhold

starry night
biting into a melon
full of seeds
— Yu Chang

all this talk of war
baby’s mouth
quivers in sleep
— Francine Porad

I saw prisoners
Sowing wildflowers
By the road today.
— Geoffrey Wilson

spring sunshine
an old person now lives
in my body
— Jim Kacian

Just friends
he watches my gauze dress
blowing on the line
— Alexis Rotella

spring break
her rollerblades clack
over each crack
—Randy Brooks

age 88 —
all the whatchamacallits
in the spring wind
—Joyce Clement

in the gutter
a crumpled scratch card
ragweed in bloom
— Raffael de Gruttola

i have looked into
my father’s eyes and seen an
african sunset
—Sonia Sanchez

walking in Mississippi
I hold the stars
between my teeth
—Sonia Sanchez

driving through the fog
my grandmother
forgets my name
— Paul David Mena

black people believe
in god, & I believe in
black people, amen
—Kalamu ya Salaam

sitting by the window
the breeze shifts direction
from pizza to chow mein
—Paul David Mena

possum in the headlights
shakes her head
— Ruth Yarrow

Fly on my nose,
I’m not the Buddha,
no enlightenment here
— Allen Ginsberg

With a twitching nose
A dog reads a telegram
On a wet tree trunk
— Richard Wright

In the falling snow
A laughing boy holds out his palms
Until they are white.
— Richard Wright

dusk — boy
smashing dandelions
with a stick
— Jack Kerouac

oh another weekend’s
started — people squeaking
On u-turning tires
— Jack Kerouac

of late night sleet —
dog licking its paws
— Leonard D Morse


keys lost       retracing
my steps      hopeless      sign on tree:
KEYS FOUND      Miracle!
—Hal Ober
quads aching
powering uphill sweat
delicious breeze
—Jan Graham
scissoring thighs, huff-
ing lungs,  Each inhalation
the exhale of trees.
—Adriana Grant
mulberry bushes
drop ripe berries at my feet
squish squish as I walk.
—Gail E. Goodearl
yesterday we saw
alligators and a snake
in the pond (pretend!)
something on my shoe
every step I feel it stick
spearmint saboteur
sharp-eyed at path’s edge
the old woman plucks the trash
blooming in the mud
—Danielle Descoteaux
green dome, golden pools
feathered choir trills holy notes
what cathedral this?
do you know the sound?
a swan’s wing cutting the air
over our great pond
—Margo Stark
red snake on the path,
stiff and straight as if long dead,
curved when I touched it
—Cammy Thomas
a child in full sail
steering mom toward ice cream
please please please please please
the dogs are cheerful
they bark and lick my face
then I wash my face
— Zach (age 7)
a chipmunk darts out
I miss him by a sliver
rodent redemption
—Dan Leonard
small child in tutu
pedaling furiously
tiny spurt of joy
—Beth Kress
wind is in my face
I feel like I can fly
time goesflying too
—Leah Savage Woolf (age 13)
HAIKU IN THE HEIGHTS is supported by grants from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.