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Diane di Prima's Haiku
(di Prima, Diane, 1934-)


4 TAKES, SAME HAIKU

....... for Tigger Beauparlant

First storm of autumn
and the path is strewn
with fallen fuchsia blossoms


Hummingbird seeking
the fallen fuchsia blossoms:
first autumn storm


After this first storm
the hummingbirds mourn
fallen fuchsias on wet ground


Fuchsias broken on
wet ground; hummingbirds hungry
Autumn storms begin


"4 Takes, Same Haiku" in: Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1990. p.127

 

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Three "Dharma Poems"

1

his vision or not?
gone is the authority
w/ which he opened his fan.


2

raindrops melt in the pond
& it's hard to say
just what "lineage" is


3

my faith
what is it but the ancient dreams
of wild ones in the mountains?

 

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THE WIDOW'S SMILE
a ten haiku sequence

1

the widow's smile
as she arranges winter roses
in a glass


2

marks of the
jackrabbit's teeth on every
pad of the prickly pear


3

laughter of the thin child
on her way
to cancer surgery


4

old man's mind
flares brightly as he
writes the last page of his journal


5

even off-season
the cholla
flowers


6

died in yr sleep
laid out in yr own bed:
how did the dream change?


7

cold winter morning
the baby quail search for seeds
under the sagebrush


8

dawn over mountains
in the dead tree
the ladder-back woodpecker is ready


9

would like to hold you
in silence, say yes
grief is as you describe it


10

in the dry wash
tracks of coyote
white bones of something small


Haiku. Love Press, Topanga, CA, 1966.

 

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FROM HARBIN HOT SPRINGS
(In a season of drought)

1

in the gray light
jays scream
at departing guests


2

spring mist, scant green
on these ancient hills
the ground still parched


3

no February mushrooms
at the foot of the bay tree
the deer chews old roots

 

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SHORT POEMS ON THE AFGHAN WAR

1

small bones of
mountain chilren
in the snow


2

bags of rice burst open
burlap flaps in the wind
even the label "USA" is fading


3

WE AIR-DROP TRANSISTOR RADIOS

can you eat them?
will they
keep you warm?

 

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AFTER GENJI

In the dream we didn't even seek to touch.
How susceptible the heart in the morning
rain!

 

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ANCIENT HISTORY

the women are lying down
in front of the bulldozers
sent to destroy the last of the olive groves

 

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last night it rained
here and there pumpkins
gleam in white fog

 

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do they tremble from
wind, from noise, or pleasure:
green plants at an open window

 

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black & white cat
stalks a secret
in the tall spring grass

 

The pine shadow falls on the tent wall
& I see the shrine
as if for the first time


from Seminary Poems, Rocky Mountain Dharma Center

 

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About Haiku

At first it was a crossroads, the non-existent spot where time and space crossed each other at right angles. Later, both time and space (in the sense of dimensionality) disappeared and there was timelessness (not even the "event out of time" as H.D. has it). Something infinitesmal and particular. Most recently it's been all about spaciousness, vastness in the fewest possible strokes. Images. Letting the breath open the sky.

 

the inner tide
what moon does it follow?
I wait for a poem

 

too much wind
the poppies
refuse to open

 

for days that old dream
like a window on an unimagined landscape
& the sun about to rise

 

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DEATH POEMS IN APRIL

1

even the Buddha lay down
to breathe his last
why am I struggling?


2

easy to disappear
into this fog


3

put this water and ash
on the roots
of some old tree

 

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DREAM POEM ON THE CALIFORNIA INDIANS
(after reading Kroeber)

song cycles
lost in the woods:
the last throat pierced

 

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INDEPENDENCE DAY 2002

bald eagle
making a come-back
so am I

 

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TASSAJARA, 1969

Even Buddha is lost in this land
the immensity
takes us all with it, pulverizes, & takes us in

Bodhidharma came from the west.
Coyote met him.

 

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*
friend

tonight in the rain

I am afraid to hear

your song

 

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*
I say my new name
over and over
coming home from the temple

 

---------------------------------

TARA

1

on the airplane she said
"I feel streched"
where? I asked & she laid her hand
on her crown chakra

 

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