5 Haiku on Emptiness

white space,
where readers’ eyes go to
rewrite stories

when thoughts cease,
senseless pictures form;
minds abhor stillness

Plato’s pupil knew:
“nature abhors a vacuum,”
if not much else

the fog wall,
flush with the land’s end,
invites guesses

endless dunes,
stretching far as eyes can see
yet never the same

Nepal Haiku

birthing Buddha,
distant looming mountains
breed wisdom


glassy lake,
mirroring boat hulls,
a world below?


standing aside
as beam-totting porters
pass us on the trail


tea-house quarters
cozy and quaint lodging,
’til snoring starts


cool air in face,
trudging up — oblivious
to cloud-freed snowcap


glacier gone,
scoured trench, gouged in earth —
maybe next year


monkey overlook,
from sacred stupa to
the human warren


5 Haiku on Silence

harsh silence,
lost beats steal word’s


silent snows
seen through crossed muntins,
drifting eerily


fog resting on
Coconut Grove’s soil until
chased by dawn’s din


ridge rows,
in waning shades of gray
end in white void


creek burbles
hushed to unheard drips
from icicles

POEM: Pillar Rock

enshrouded in cloud,

a Chinese painting transplanted to India,

gnarled evergreens grow from cracked granite

like the bonsai that twists into a broad bloom of foliage,

i’d have thought the great white space, simple shapes, and gorgeous deformity

wouldn’t appeal to the Indian mindset —

so taken with vibrancy and fullness,

and yet crowds throng round,

staring in wonder,

ensnared by the same scene as

Shen Zhou when he painted, “Poet on a Mountaintop”


Fan Kuan as he painted, “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams,”

like two lovers fixated on one moon.

Desolate Snow Haiku

boot crunch
‘a cloudless night,’
he concluded


old coat of snow
nary a track in sight
beauty abandoned


snow blind
trudging and slogging
pure torture


crust of snow
over dry powder
bone cold


drifting flakes
add a wedge wall
to a farmhouse

POEM: Sinkhole of Now

If you discover an experience for which the mind relentlessly snaps back to the now, do it.

You are that experience. Any fissure between you and it will heal together — a decreasing entropy unseen in mountains. Crevasse. Cleft. Crevice. Scratch. Scar. Smoothness.

If your wild mind becomes ordered by the gravitational pull of the moment — a sinkhole of now formed of a vortex of sensory experience — pursue that thing.

India Haiku

drifting on Dal Lake,
mirror of mountains

blossomed branch bobs,
twisting on wind as a bee
hovers, seeking sync

hill station hut
rain trounces the ground
lulling reveries

monkeys grooming
in a triangle, and I wonder
will they turn on 3?

from Shimla town
summer leaves hide the giant
orange overseer

POEM: Anti-Solipsist

The world exists, save for me.
I’m a figment floating eternally.
You won’t say that I am not.
But I’m the burning word that time forgot.

I’m a lost watcher, fallen.
Never had either a hope or calling.
Disembodied, feels so real.
I’m the ceaseless turning of dharma’s wheel.

POEM: Vagabond

pack your pack, and travel on
you are but a vagabond

ceaseless wanderer; tempting fates,
searching out unknown city gates
each set you see; how fair they look
til you find them listed in the book

don’t bemoan those past trampled lands
of buildings built or shifting sands,
no place displays itself twice the same
so on your moment, stake your claim

POEM: The Patience of a Rishikesh Cow

Feeling the steel bridge’s dampened spring underfoot.
Built for a handful of pedestrians,
but currently saddled with 60 —
along with six scooters,
one 125cc motorcycle
and a cow.

The cow is the most capable of insisting that a path
be cleared, and of clearing it.
Yet, in this city of sadhus,
it’s the only one not trying to crawl up anyone’s back.
Though it’s far more intimidating than the sickly, hoarse horn of the motorcycle —
drawn out in the way of terminally ill batteries.

The cow steps when a void opens and stands stoically when there is none.
Time seems to be a different experience for it than for its fellow travelers.

The bovine’s simple cortex knows one rule:
“If you can’t get where you’re going,
the only win is found in being satisfied where you are.”

And now I pray,
“Lord, grant me the patience of a Rishikesh cow.”