It is snowing as I write this, so the cold weather has finally come.
One of my favorite winter verses, which works well in daoku (objective hokku) form, is this winter verse by Hashin:
No sky, no earth;
In a heavy snowstorm, there is no longer any visual distinction between the sky and the earth. Everything is the same whiteness, and through that whiteness falls the white snow, seemingly without end. It well expresses the feeling of winter.
As you can see, it can all be expressed in only eight words in English. That is part of the poverty and simplicity of daoku. By poverty we do not mean you have to be penniless, homeless, and on the streets. We mean that you recognize life is not the accumulation of material things, and in writing daoku, it is not the use of lots of words. It is reducing things to their minimum, using only what is necessary to express an experience without added commentary or frills or interpretation. As is always said in daoku, “no thinking.”
So much of our lives is spent in the whirlwind of thoughts in our heads. Thoughts are not us. They are just things that happen, like leaves floating by in a stream. So don’t get too attached to thoughts. Spend more time in experience, without interpreting or judging it. That will improve not only your hokku, but likely your life as well.