“100 down” haiku

If you’re looking for
A fun word puzzle to do
Try a Google search

Today’s Doodle marks
Hundredth anniversary
Of crossword’s debut

In 1913
The New York World’s Arthur Wynne
Made the first “word-cross”

A typographer
Later transposed feature’s name
The crossword was born

Today’s Doodle’s smart
Will save your answers for you
Till you are finished

So if you must quit
And come back later, there’s no
Need to be cross — Word


There in black and white
Color scales fall from our eyes
And what do we see?

There in black and white
Coffee, cream start one day’s life
Pepper, salt spice it

There in black and white
Ink imprints, pixels on screen
Carry the day’s news

There in black and white
Slow hands sweep old clock face — time

There in black and white
Two little friends laugh, join hands
In harmony’s dance

There in black and white
Sketch pad, charcoal line and smudge
Save light and shadow

There in black and white
Storied films flicker and fight
For love and glory

There in black and white
88 piano keys
Just aching to sing

There in black and white
Somehow are all life’s colors
And its shades of gray

“She was quite a dame” haiku

Agatha Christie
Born this date, 1890
That part’s no mystery

But how did she sell
Hundreds of millions of books?
No mystery either

Her detectives had
Something for everybody
Poirot, Miss Marple

Poirot, so fussy,
So quirky, so proud to say
He could not be fooled

Jane Marple, so plain,
Seemed so kind, ordinary
To charm and disarm

Both made her readers
Want to think along with them
Believe brains would win

Her plots were good too:
Roger Ackroyd’s twist ending,
“And Then There Were None”

When she killed Poirot
He got a front page obit
In the New York Times

Agatha’s knowledge
Of poisons, the Middle East
Came in quite handy

Her world appealed, too
Murder was a distraction
Not stuff of nightmares

Once killer was caught
Life could go back to normal
Genteel, well ordered

Her books were candy
Not meat, potatoes, blood, guts.
Do pass the bon bons!

Yes, Dame Agatha
We still devour your treats
Print, or PBS

From a different age
You came but you’ll last so long
As life’s a mystery

“I Say a Little Prayer” haiku

Hal David, May 25, 1921 — Sept. 1, 2012

Goodbye, Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s lyricist
For so many hits

Goodbye, Hal David
Classics transcended genres
Pop, country, show tunes

Goodbye, Hal David
Helped Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones,
Dusty, Aretha

Goodbye, Hal David
Knew the way to San Jose,
What the world needs now

Goodbye, Hal David
Anyone who had a heart
Loved your classic songs

Goodbye, Hal David
91 years you helped sail
This sea of heartbreak

Goodbye, Hal David
You’ll live on. Always something
There to remind me

“Last of the True Believers” haiku

Nanci Caroline Griffith, July 6, 1953, Seguin, Texas
Updated 2020

Cracked my heart open
The first time I heard her sing
Still does, every time

You see, we all have
This problem, and it’s called love
Nanci Griffith knows

And for some of us,
Heart on sleeve fools, no one else
Sings it quite like her

From Kerrville campfires
To the London Symphony
Nanci’s played ’em all

And tracing romance
Or tugging hatred’s hood, she
Sings about what’s real

Nanci pays tribute
To her strong-women heroes
Love isn’t weakness

Has her causes, too
From the death penalty to
Equal marriage rights

Been through life’s wringer
Death of young sweetheart, divorce,
Cancer twice, friends lost

Years of writer’s block
Came too, till two-thousand-nine
Saw her muse return

“The Loving Kind” said
Nanci’s back, but next CD
Proved to be her last

Once in a lifetime
Or at least in a blue moon
One so touching shines

Happy birthday, girl
You take the cake, and our hearts
It’s all frosting now


June 1 haiku

Star who will be Marilyn
Makes her first twinkle

Born into madness
Dies in loneliness, despair
In between, magic

In ’67
The Beatles get serious
With Sgt. Pepper’s

Rock stars turn artists
Tap all that’s within them
Music ever changed

Helen Keller breathes last breath
Of unique journey

Deaf, blind, not yet 2
Alphabet unlocks genius
To inspire the world

June 1st, quite a date
For magical history tour
Birth, release, passing

Zimmy haiku, redux

Last May 24th, Bob Dylan turned 70, and I wrote these.

The short-version tribute:

Two words: Bob Dylan
For decades in his music
He’s said all the rest

And the longer one, with thanks to Joyce Carol Oates for her description of Dylan’s voice, and to Dylan, for packing almost 12 minutes of the most mind-bending music onto one 45: “Like a Rolling Stone/Gates of Eden.”

Haiku for Dylan
Like outhouse built in tribute
To cathedral, but …

Let’s give it a try
And hold it to seven more
One for each decade

Woodie Guthrie passed
The torch and Dylan produced
More U.S. classics

“Blowin’ in the Wind”
“The Times They Are a-Changin’ ”
Timely and timeless

He took us on trips
(With and without tambourine)
We’ll never forget

Torrents of words, voice
“As if sandpaper could sing”
Cut straight to the heart

Fierce independence,
Shifting styles that confounded
His fans and doubters

He sliced up the world
In 3 minutes — one time 6!
And changed everything

“Just music,” he says
But Bob, you’re gonna make me
Lonesome when you go

“Dark moments in U.S. history, #12 & 35” haiku

FBI catches
Public enemies, though not
Public Enemy

Spied on John Lennon,
Some violent rap gangstas
— And one huge past threat

Back in ’64
G-Men scrutinized lyrics
To “Louie Louie”

Some nutty parent
Complained the words were obscene
Hoover’s boys got down

Played Kingsmen classic
Over and over again
Faster and slower

Grilled the songwriter
Put the “I” in FBI
What a waste of time

This date, ’65,
Released conclusion: No one
Could make out the words

(Aside from Butt-head:
(“Uhhhh, any dumb-ass knows that.
(“And they said, ‘Make out’ “)

That fine little girl
Still waits for me. FBI,

Gesundheit haiku

Religious or not
Who couldn’t use a blessing
To get through the day?

Sunshine on your walk
Turning green leaves to silver
Burning mist away

A hug from your mate
A song from the birds outside
A kiss from your dog

Music in the air
Even if it’s rap — with subs
At the traffic light

Treats at the office
Coffee just the way you like
In your favorite cup

Some praise from the boss
Flowers with poem attached
Good news from a friend

A letter from Mom
Ink and paper memories
Nestled with keepsakes

Cosmic connections
Just knowing good thoughts, wishes
Are coming your way

Blessings: corny, true
Some things it’s even better
To give than receive