Not Haiku Tips For The Budget Traveler, Just My Journey

by Ernesto P. Santiago

A few years back I was used to suck out my timid soul from my adventurous body, hoping I had verses poetically romantic enough to share with wifey before bedtime. My poetry journey was still somewhere within the unknown where the future silently resides, and the road I traveled was only diverted by awareness taken from somewhere else to a much shorter road with a passage to haiku consciousness that was so vaguely unconvincing until I out myself from my freeverse­cum­rhymer old self. And as a complete novice in haiku poetry, so thrilled when one of my very first haiku won in the international haiku contest. Since then I was hooked.

never knowing 1
when it will end –
the turtle’s trip

My first ‘meet and greet’ with the haiku world was in 2011 when I was invited to be a part of the Quarterly National Haiku Society of America Meeting in Bend, Oregon as part of the downtown Bend, Oregon First Friday June Art Walk, where I recited my haiku to a delighted crowd. Many thanks to an’ya, haiku poet and UHTS cattails principal editor, for her warm support and for making me feel at ease in my very first haiku reading in front of strangers.

the sky is ready... 2
embracing unknown spirits
I smell my pillow

I asked myself, why haiku? Well, I am fascinated by the admirable brevity and structure of haiku, and even more by its universal appeal that charmed me to join in. To be honest, I prefer haiku because it is written in the present tense, the way I want to live and see my earthly life. Ah, life is too short to live in the past!

briefing 3 

on the broken air condition
dead fly

To define haiku, I tune into the rhythm of my five senses for I believe they are the essentials in unlocking the aha! to the now moment where haiku resides. If I go with my senses, most probably my haiku piece of art would have a sense of pride...

my haiku 4 

not spectacular —
just this red sunset

and with the help and positive criticism of some willful haiku poets in the advancement of my haiku life I know I can offer my readers and silent admirers a cherry scented haiku too.

under the cherry tree 5
a lover asks
for an eraser

Haiku offers too many definitions, too many misunderstandings? In certainty, haiku offers unbidden flashes of joy to experience the small world big world of this Japanese ancient art form of writing. I think haiku is a beautiful destination, a natural wonder with awe­inspiring views, where a budget traveler like me can go. A desk ku is nice too, especially when it is homemade. However, it would be great to go outside and observe nature where haiku will fill us in. Forced haiku is not my thing and I don’t force myself to haiku, so relax when you write haiku. Don’t haiku to grieve!

grieving mosquito dead too, dead too 6

When writing haiku, I tend to lose my thought when counting syllables. So, to enjoy this haiku travel, I trained myself to learn and break the rules, and I came up with haiku word count called dos por dos­ 2 / 4 / 2 word count scheme. Mostly if not all, I write my haiku in this form of haiku for I can easily spot the s/l/s or short/long/short characteristic of English haiku.

that elusive 7 

"je ne sais quoi"~
fingered citron

Still, in whatever haiku form I decided to write I keep in mind... a haiku master always bleeds haiku. That being said, I am open to any definition of haiku to which I can be a part of and/or I can relate to, because I want to see the haiku world more often as possible without missing the so­called aha! moment that goes along with the travel. Up to this day, I treat haiku as a short walk to nature’s personality with my five senses absorbing it. On a more personal side, I take haiku as a leeway to success, to attaining serenity than I would have ever dreamed of, and I use it to break the undue stress of working life’s daily routine.

dawn breaks 8
the cheap hue
of desk light

Lastly, I write haiku because this is what I want. Haiku is life, and I am open to welcoming the abundance in all forms that it offers. And that’s the essence of haiku in my day­to­day existence.

Haiku Publication Credits:
1­ “never knowing” ­ Ripples ­ HSA Newsletter, Vol. 26, Number 2, 2011, USA; Living Haiku Anthology
2­ “the sky is ready” ­ Featured / Published on the HSA "Haiku Wall" exhibited in the historic Liberty Theatre Gallery at the Quarterly National Haiku Society of America Meeting in Bend, Oregon on June 3­5, 2011 as part of the downtown Bend, Oregon First Friday June Art Walk; A winning haiku, The International Library of Poetry (2006); Published in my poetry book The Walking Man (Outskirts Press, 2007), The Haiku Foundation; The Living Haiku Anthology
3­ “briefing” ­ FInancial Times Haiku Contest Winner, and FT poetry at work: best of 2015

4­ “my haiku” ­ Notes from the Gean, p. 50, Volume 3, Issue 4, 2012; Living Haiku Anthology

5­ “under the cherry tree” ­ 2015 Haiku Invitational Winner ­ International Sakura Award, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

6­ “grieving mosquito” ­ Bones 5, Nov. 15, 2014; Haiku 2015, Edited by Scott Metz & Lee Gurga
7­ “that elusive” ­ The Germ, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Spring 2014

8­ “dawn breaks” ­ Winner, Financial Times Workplace Haiku Contest ­ Nov. 11, 2015

Brief Bio:
Ernesto P. Santiago lives in Athens, Greece, where he continues exploring the poetic myth of his senses.