Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Haiku

by Ron Padgett

Three pairs of big red shoes

in the closet

with yellow laces

The broom leaning in the kitchen

later afternoon

door wide open

The old woman snatching at the vines

tearing away dead leaves

sputtering and cursing

On the cookie sheet

a gingerbread man

reading a book

Wooden clothespins on the grass

at the picnic

for the factory workers

In the air

a glass face

about to materialize

Fog on the gardener’s cottage

she snuggles closer

he opens one eye

A mosquito hovers

over the stile

to the apple orchard

If you look hard enough into the air

you will see something there

even if you are a hammer

An old man dressed like a mass of soap bubbles

walks in the woods

singing happily

From left to right

the sweet, meticulous script

in the old notebook

Red cherries on the cotton dress

on her body

as she opens the curtains

A man is a damn fool

unless he talks through his hat

as it gets blown down the street

From Collected Poems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Coffee House Press, 2013, pages 693–694. See also “13 Ways of Looking at a Haiku” by Jim Kacian (YouTube video, 2017).