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

BOOK REVIEW: Your Soul is a River by Nikita Gill

Your Soul is a RiverYour Soul is a River by Nikita Gill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page


This is a collection of short-form free verse poetry. There is a prose poem or two, but mostly it’s of the sparse line variety that’s popular today. The general approach of the collection is the pep talk, using metaphors from nature to convey to the reader how they should cope with heartbreak and other traumas.

It’s arranged into eight chapters, most of which take a theme from nature to tie the component poems together. The section headings are: “the cosmos,” “fire,” “the storm,” “ache,” “the sea,” “wild,” “the Earth,” and “heal.”

The collection offers some clever use of metaphor and imagery, and it’s quite readable. That said, it’s a little heavy on aphorisms for my taste. Instead of evoking emotion purely through imagery, metaphor, and sound, there are many lines that straight out tell the reader how they should feel – albeit often couched in a moving natural metaphor. In a way, Gill’s poems are the antithesis of haiku. While haiku strips away all the analysis, leaving only pure observation, and putting the conversion of that observation into feelings into the reader’s hands, Gill connects the dots for her readers.

Overall, I enjoyed reading these poems. As I mentioned, there are ways in which they are not my cup of tea, but – of course – I’m not Gill’s intended demographic either.

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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