Posted in Haiku

Jack Kerouac’s Birdbath

in the birdbath
a leaf

© Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) (USA)

I have always had mixed feelings about Jack Kerouac. One the one hand, his novels are almost unparalleled in their ability to create a sense of excitement. On the other, his writing is frequently sloppy and rushed. Perhaps the two work together: a push of madness that propels the reader forward?

Likewise, I do not consistently enjoy his haiku and senryu. He certainly has moments of brilliance such as:

missed a kick
at the icebox door
it closed anyway

However, many of his short poems fall flat for me and, unfortunately, this ku falls into that category. It reads less like a haiku and more like a statement. There is only one image, no juxtaposition, and nothing really for the reader to contemplate or bring her experiences too. Kerouac called his haiku “pops.” There is little in this particular poem that pops for me.

– Dave Read (Canada)

Bitter realities that come one after another. This ku revolves around “a leaf” that may have different colors. The writer would have specified this as well just to make this ku more clear.

The birthbath may indicate a survival place, so it may give an idea of refugees/vagrant/abandoned people, or children besides migratory birds in terms of their shelter, food, security, and protection.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

This haiku seems to have several dimensions to it. A birdbath, where birds usually play around, now is frozen. To highlight the sadness of this happening, a fallen leaf is stuck in there, displaying death and the consequence of seasons—and of simply living.

Yet, there is a sort of beauty in the frozen leaf. The possible colors of the leaf and sign of spring is encapsulated for all to see. It is a mix of melancholy and a sweet reminder.

In terms of sound, the most striking is “f” in “frozen” and “leaf.” It is interesting to note that the haiku begins and ends with the letter “f.” The starkness of the situation seems to be illuminated through this sound.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.



Meditator, writer, editor, musician.

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