Hiding Spots (Haiku) In the Park (Tanka)

In the park we found so many trails, diverging and converging all over again. There were so many special hiding spots which we made our own, though, I knew that other kids, families, newly dating couples, did the exact same countless times before us.

Hiding spot under

Twisted branches and broad leaves

Small stream trickling

All of the trails though led to the same great grass field, with plenty of shady spots to tuck a family away and find some solace, even if it was a pretty busy midmorning. We took whichever path seemed fitting and discovered what needed to be discovered so that we could emerge in the sunlight under the watchful pine and enjoy the sprawling field to run on.

I like driving the
Other parents in the park
Crazy, by lying
Down in the grass, letting the
Kids run, acting so care-free.

This one was a first tanka attempt, written onsite, I wanted to include it, because of its spontaneity, after looking at it later though I thought I’d try my hand at a more traditional one.

Which includes according to poets.org:
the tanka employs a turn, known as a pivotal image, which marks the transition from the examination of an image to the examination of the personal response

I lay in the grass

Under big blue sky and pine

Letting the kids run,

Acting care-free and easy

Other parents go crazy.

Today, in the park, we took a hands off approach, we took paths less traveled, went along when someone else made a choice and did not worry about what we looked like. We weren’t concerned with control; making the situation perfect; living up to our preconceived ideas about what the day at the park was supposed to be. Often we are so concerned with the idea of perfection that we are scared to try, but just the willingness to try is perfection.

Earlier in the week I’d read a quote by Shunryu Suzuki:

To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him.

Now the aim here was not to control, but rather to feel freedom. As a parent who has a tough time giving his kids the freedom to make their own mistakes, this was more a discipline for me than them. But we all gained. If i can also treat the mind in the same way, I can give up the conflicted, divided mind, and do everything with a wholeness that feels like freedom. In a way our visit to the park, with all its paths and decisions was a microcosm of this idea; regardless of all our choices and options if we give up the idea of control any path can lead to the open meadow.


In the moment
I had the right words,
in the right order
in order to convey
what it was I was trying to say.

But the sun glare on
windshield caught my eye
and the concept faded away.

We were driving through the heart of the prairie,

blackbirds sat on barbed fence

we passed by rows of barren corn fields,
you were on the phone with your mom.

Distant barns and silos framed houses
hidden under dogwood and chestnut trees.

Occasionally stagnant bogs gleam in a flicker
behind bobtails and tall grasses.

You said something about a hard recovery
and immediately I knew you were talking about

the caesarean with our first. I thought about the late nights
and early mornings;
trying as best I could to help

though knowing I was too immature and it wasn’t enough.
And I thought of how selfish I’d always been

my whole life, even now.
The sun refracted through the cloud filled sky

and Dahlia, our second, was falling asleep in the backseat.