Haiku, the Japanese form of poetry written in just three lines, can be miraculous in its power to articulate the profundity of the simplest moment - and for that reason haiku can be a useful tool for bringing us to a heightened awareness of our lives. Here, the poet Patricia Donegan shares her experience of the haiku form as a way of insight that anyone can use to slow down and uncover the beauty of ordinary moments. She presents 108 haiku poems - on themes such as honesty, transience, and compassion - and offers commentary on each as an impetus to meditation and as a key to unlocking the wonder in what we find right before us. Pausing pausing/halfway up the stair - white chrysanthemums - Elizabeth S. Lamb. This haiku epitomizes a moment that we naturally have or that occurs naturally but that we often hurry or gloss over. 'Haiku awareness is a way to tune into this fleeting moment and merely appreciate what is right in front of us; in the midst of our daily life activities, the possibility to slow down, to stop, and then to appreciate naturally unfolds.
For a fleeting moment we simply pause and note the sunlight on the sheets as we make the bed, note the warm sun on our cup as we sip tea, or note the fading light on the curtain as we enter the room. And we let out a breath or sigh' - from "Haiku Mind".
Patricia Donegan is a poet, translator, and promoter of haiku as an awareness practice. She was a faculty member of East-West poetics at Naropa University under Allen Ginsberg and Ch gyam Trungpa; a student of Japanese haiku master Seishi Yamaguchi; and a Fulbright scholar to Japan. She is a meditation teacher, the poetry editor for Kyoto Journal, and a member of the Haiku Society of America. Her haiku works include Haiku Mind 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart, Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master (co-translated with Yoshie Ishibashi), and Haiku: Asian Arts for Creative Kids. Her poetry collections include Without Warning, Bone Poems, and Hot Haiku.