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Haiku for Carolyn Cassady

November 28th, 2013 · 12 Comments · Kerouac and The Beats, Poetry

I just came across this in the files.  Glad I did.  Kinda cool.

They’re not really traditional 5–7–5 haiku — they’re what Kerouac called Western Haiku — “simple 3-line poems that make a little picture” — written while I was living with and inspired by Carolyn.  There certainly was something about that woman that inspired.  She had so many arts flowing through her at every given moment — painting, writing, theater — it couldn’t help but transfer to those around her.

This outcropping, sketched over the summer of 2012, is a portrait of her, using a tiny haiku brush.

Everything comes directly from something she said or I saw.



Haiku For Carolyn


Portrait painter, married Adonis
loved a movie star
could still draw their faces from memory


Houseful of books
skyscraper stacks
grow on every surface


Still watches movies
like the set and costume designer
she always was


Still cooks every meal
meat, potatoes and veggie
like her bio-chemist father taught her


Touch-typing emails
looking at giant Mac screen
words flow with ease


In love with history
so much a part of it
and not just this lifetime


Designed her own garden
and put in a waterfall
knowing I was coming


WACed a war
mothered a family
batted away suitors by the battalion


Hung with heavies
but keeps it light
as fans gush their hearts


Still twinkles by day
and beams at night
reading in every morning


Turquoise and purple
color her home
herself and her life


She enjoyed this life
as much
as she enjoyed all her others


At home in her home
her skin
her life



Carolyn Cassady — 1923 – 2013 — RIP



For a nice remembrance upon her passing — check out my tribute to her.

Or for another ode to her from several cycles ago you can riff the Carolyn Birthday Poem.

Or here’s a video tribute for her Memorial on the one year anniversary of her passing.

Or for one of our many great adventures together, check out this one in Jack’s Long Island —  The Northport Report.

Or for a picture of her and John together check out this short portrait of their duet.

Or here’s another poem from when I was there about her as living history — The Royal Woods of Cassady County.

Or check out Kerouac’s own “Book of Haikus” masterfully put together by Regina Weinreich.

Or America’s foremost haiku authority Cor van den Heuvel’s definitive “Haiku Anthology



Brian Hassett

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sarah Cattell // Nov 28, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Thanks for the portrait. Pretty picture. 😉

  • 2 Sam Hammond // Nov 28, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Loved it, mate!

  • 3 Pauly J // Nov 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Love the waterfall appearance!
    Looking forward to joining you for the spring melt-off.

  • 4 Chris Rafuse // Nov 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Still twinkles by day
    and beams at night
    reading in every morning

    (heart heart)

  • 5 Suzanne Mirabelli // Nov 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Hung with heavies
    but keeps it light
    as fans gush their hearts

    Every time I read one of your pieces on her I regret even more not meeting her! Thanks a LOT!
    🙂 j/k

  • 6 June King // Nov 29, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Only met her twice … and she truly was beautiful and glowing. I recall meeting her among folks who were her old friends, but she addressed me by name several times and her kindness impressed me hugely. So amazed at what she lived through and how she TRIUMPHED!!! An icon and a true American beauty!!!!

  • 7 Walter Raubicheck // Nov 29, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Nicely done.

  • 8 Brian Humniski // Nov 30, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    What an inspiration!

  • 9 Gloria Bailen // Dec 1, 2013 at 8:13 PM


  • 10 Emmett Pratt // Dec 1, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Mindfulness with masters
    touches all

  • 11 Bonnie Peers // Dec 2, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Way to go bringing the muse to life! It’s nice to hear she was so comfortable in the life she lived. We should all be so lucky. Thanks for the inspiration.
    RIP Carolyn Cassady

  • 12 Cor van den Heuvel // Dec 12, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    Thanks for sharing this touching haiku portrait/tribute.

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