haikus inspired by Kerouac

These past few months I’ve been very busy with PhD work and in between panicking about my lack of productivity, reading reams of unusable theory and¬† wrenching measly ideas from nothingness, I’ve been writing lots of haikus. Not the usual form of haiku which I sometimes write and post on here (the 5-7-5ves) but ones inspired by the haikus of Jack Kerouac.¬†Kerouac’s haikus are not in any way cordoned or restricted by meter or syllables or anything else, and are instead just 3 simple lines of writing using few words to channel an idea. There is a real power and depth to them that is therapeutic, both to read and to write. Their simplicity is key, with minimal abstraction, and a real freedom of thought, and occasionally it feels like he touches on something profound.

Here’s a few examples of Kerouac’s haikus:

Drunk as a hoot owl

writing letters

By thunderstorm


Useless! useless!

-heavy rain driving

Into the sea


Halloween colors

orange and black

On a summer butterfly


Wild to sit on a haypile,

Writing haikus

Drinkin wine


Gull sailing

in the saffron sky-

The Holy Ghost wanted it


Barefoot by the sea,

stopping to scratch one ankle

With one toe


Perfectly silent

in the starry night

the little tree


Swinging on delicate hinges

the autumn leaf

almost off the stem


The red roof of the barn

is ravelled

like familiar meat


rain’s over, hammer on wood

-this cobweb

rides the sun shine


in the sun

the butterfly wings

like a church window


here’s a few of mine:

the swallows path

sketches the outline

of distant mountains


Words, shards,

jagged approximations

that get me by



beneath packed ice

soon splashed crimson


A falcon perches

on the crash barrier

waylaid by human logic


During the eclipse

a beautiful brunette

smiles with glacial eyes


Where everyone else

saw only white walls

She saw scenes of snow


In some childish dream

he smeared finger paint onto my cheek

I tipped into infinity


Driving by night,

snow hit the windscreen

like stars at warp speed


a player piano

whispered Debussy

Into the empty bar


Will you fall

into these words

or stumble over them?


in heaven you’re

frontcrawling through

clouds of people


Gauguin humbled

by the people of the forest

who knew only truth


body aflame

mind soaring

on a higher plane


the jackdaw

with its charcoal wings

prances across the grass

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