Visual Haiku

Haiku originates from Japan. It is a minimalist form of poetry. The writer has 17 or fewer syllables through which to convey an experience. It usually consists of three lines, containing 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. These three lines pare down an experience to its essence, you say what happened in a few chosen words.

Writing haiku is also a form of meditation that begins with the recognition of something occuring in the everyday

Traditionally, haiku is about nature, sometimes serious, often comic. It did not rhyme. The poem usually referenced a season of the year.

Long called the “wordless poem,” haiku was a way of life. It was associated with spiritual practice. Poets and common folk alike wrote haiku to praise, describe, and to open the heart and mind. Basho, the best known haiku poet, was a Japanese samurai who devoted his spiritual life to writing poetry.

One of the principles in contemplative photography is reducing the subject matter down to more simple forms, to capture the essence of the moment. To produce images with as little as two or three major elements of design. In this sense, it bears similarities to how a haiku is constructed.

I find that haiku poems goes well with contemplative photography. The words describe the experience of the moment without judgement. It also challenges me to observe the present moment with care, just as photography does. 




Empty trees, bare bones
A canopy of pale sky
There is loneliness


Blessings from heaven
Divine beam meets hopeful smoke
Enlightened souls pray!


Smeared with dust of time
Window that has seen it all
A pregnant silence



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Quiet Mind - Contemplative Photography


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