for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

Haiku favorites of mine and of other poets from the 2013 NaHaiWriMo month

Dear followers and readers,

I’d like to apologize for a ‘long absence’ here. I could give you a thousand reasons but none would make up for the time that had flown by. In that flow, however, I had gathered more skies, more suns rising and setting, stars, fallen petals and laughing fishes, herons and gulls and countless sighs. And in them or because of such harvest, my haiku, tanka, haibun, and haiga have taken wing onto wind paths I couldn’t have imagined. Most of all, perhaps because I persisted, my haiku writing has grown stronger limbs with daily prompts at NaHaiWriMo (NHWM). Herewith then, like a ‘take home’ gift from a long trip are haiku by me and my choices by other poets during last year’s NHWM anniversary when founder, Michael Dylan Welch gives the daily prompt. He made us chose  favorites from ours and those of other poets–these are mine, of which I hope yours, too. Thanks so much for being with me all these years and for those who simply stumbled into here, welcome!


#04/02/13 (spice) 

First off, I’d like to thank you, Michael, for NaHaiWriMo, and for this year’s month, your concrete prompts that are so everyday, it was a challenge yet a joy to see them with a new eye. Second,  I’d like to say , “Many thanks, Pamela and Carole for choosing one each of my haiku for your favorite!!” Third, I wish to thank the many poets, a lot of them I’ve written with a haiku daily here (except for a few weeks that I couldn’t) for the past three years, flourishing in our community. Such joy to find not just a few of yours that resonate, nay, sun-splash on my way everyday. I’ve learned so much about and from you.

And now because I’m always overwhelmed and overjoyed, I cannot limit my choices to just one, of course,  except for mine. But I have gathered those of others as if they were mine, too! Indeed, as in one of the resources you posted here, Michael, haiku binds because we open up ourselves to and for its  lines. What greater bind is there than one that’s straight from one’s heart (spirit) and into another’s and into one’s own from another’s.


A favorite from mine though there’s about a dozen in my shortlist!


in curry rice, a past

she cracks open


Of others and like the process for mine, dozens in my shortlist!


orange blossom –

lifting her burqa

just enough


Eider Green


sleepless . .

the path from my bed

to the Pleiades


Sandi Pray


the secret door

to grandpa’s room

in grandma’s closet

wild roses


Stevie Strang


garage sale

my past fills

a stranger’s car


Michele Harvey



my rebellion 
taped inside 

a cardboard box


Scott Abeles            


father’s garage

the painted outline

of a missing tool


Bret Mars


a red mark

on her test paper . . .

Indian summer


Michael Dylan Welch



as her corsage


Haiku Elvis—Carlos Colon



the sound of moonbeams,

playing rocks


Ted van Zutphen


June 3, 2013 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An invitation to NaHaiWriMo…

…at the NaHaiWriMo Facebook site: In exactly eight days, the shortest month, February, begins. Aptly so timed when it started two years ago, National Haiku Writing Month (NHWM) as an event for the short poetic form, will be in full blast once again! As if we, who joined the first time, have let up because we haven’t long after February was over and the rest of the year unfolded and on to now. 

Long after we’ve taken on the challenge of writing a haiku a day, we kept on at the NHWM Facebook site. From the rather small group we’ve started we’re almost a thousand now, I believe, that have turned into an enthusiastic and supportive community. I’m not only glad I stayed, I’m hooked!

haiku has not only intensified my writing, it has sharpened my senses to everything around me: the wind, the sky, clouds and the moon, the scent of evenings, the feel of wings, a slight twitch in an eye, a pasted wisp of hair on wan temples, etc. etc. of hummingbirds and  raccoons and failed meringue. This concentrated poetic form has helped me see through ambiguities faster than I used to. And the wonder never stops with each three lines or one-or two-line haiku that I compose. It’s not an exclusive experience, too. Each poet responding to a prompt everyday could attest to this.  And by the way, midway last year, Michael Dylan Welch put together our first anthology, “With Cherries on Top”, which I had posted here.

I invite you then, better yet, I challenge you to take it up; like I did, just take the plunge and see where it takes you. Check it out at

With Cherries on Top Cover - Small

January 25, 2013 Posted by | culturati news/views | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“With Cherries on Top” (a NaHaiWriMo ebook, the first of its kind haiku anthology)

“More than something to keep like journals we’ve been published in, for me this is a treasure because I have a small hand in it. Like the 30 other prompters, on whose prompts I, too, wrote, I also had the privilege to select more than five for the collection out of which Michael Dylan Welch made the final choice; in other words, I know the process that went into its making quite intimately.

But most of all, I’ll always read each haiku loving it as the work of a NaHaiWriMo friend, most of whom I’ve written with on the same page every day and still do. Thanks again, Michael, for the great work you’ve poured into this superb anthology—the first of its kind, I believe. And congrats to us all, NaHaiWriMo poets!

Definitely a treasure! Superb haiku by NaHaiWriMo poets and awesome images so apt together!” —Alegria Imperial  

The history of this book is a major part of my personal history of writing haiku. I’ve written most of it in this blog. I’m sure you have noticed how my haiku has taken shape since I signed up on Facebook because of National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). All it asked of anyone is to write a haiku a day. I joined in mostly because I’ve met Michael Dylan Welch, who is to me everything to a haiku, and from whom I keep learning.

His role in my haiku life started with my first ever haiku award in the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) Haiku Invitational, which was also my first published haiku. He was a judge that year and I met him at Van Dusen Gardens during the Cherry Blossoms Festival a year later. I had my first ginko walk with him, too, at the gardens. How could I not trust the Facebook site he created?

As well, Melissa Allen, who I met through our blogs, by then already on to her place in English haiku,  had announced NaHaiWriMo. Also at the fourth meeting of our then newly formed Vancouver Haiku Group, Jessica Tremblay, now of Old Pond Comics fame, also a VCBF winner, who came for her first member meeting,  reminded us of NaHaiWriMo.

It turned out NaHaiWriMo couldn’t end in a month. We, who hopped in, wouldn’t let up and so, it’s still on.  In August, Michael came up with this idea of a-prompter-a-day instead of just one for the month. This book is what it was.  I know, dear readers and followers of jornales, that you love haiku. Inflame it with this “With Cherries on Top”, a haiku anthology written by poets of varying haiku-writing stages, demonstrating the very essence of haiku which is: With senses wakened is how we find newness in the same things or what we think is the same day every day, and writing it down into a haiku renews the very thing as much as the poet and those to whom the haiku is shared. I’m sure our haiku will enrich you beyond its more than a hundred pages.

My haiku on ‘watermelon’ prompt by Stella Pierides

watermelon moon

our burdens lighter

than we thought

(Because I haven’t updated this blog to be able to encrypt a link, you might want to copy and past this on your browser or simply click on the link on my blogroll) 

November 24, 2012 Posted by | background, culturati news/views, event, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

From NaHaiWriMo: my random February haiku selection (the first year anniversary)

We, members of the NaHaiWriMo community at facebook had a blast last month to celebrate one year of writing a haiku a day. Yes, It’s been a year since. Most of us have stayed (I took a break twice for a few weeks). I can say how much I’ve learned about haiku while drawing out my ‘haiku voice’. What worked for me is its kukai-like format where we responded to a prompt everyday. But unlike the other kukai I join (Shiki, Caribbean and Sketchbook) that gives some time for a writer to compose a haiku, at NaHaiWriMo, the window is only 24 hours. And once a post is shared, the reading as well as the ‘like’ or the silence and a comment, if merited, also appears just as fast. The energy has worked for me. I’ve gained the discipline I’ve always worked at. I’ve gained friends and kindred spirits, too! Most of all, I know more of haiku now than the years I tried to learn it on my own. Above all, I think I’m writing better haiku; proof of it is the increasing acceptance of my submissions in haiku journals. Do this random selection of my ‘anniversary posts’ last month on prompts by Michael Dylan Welch read better? Oh yes, I haven’t pared down my posts to one, but to two haiku from the three and more everyday last year. Honestly, I haven’t reviewed my files for fear of an avalanche! I hope you enjoy this selection and if you do, come over at NaHaiWriMo and give it a try. You can blame me if you stay.

#29/02/12 (leap/leap year)

spring gust

and i but a wave leaping

to touch the sky


#28/02/12 (haiku generator)

haiku gen:

arrows seduce, strut

deliveryman quacks, meaty

pure dogs extrude, cool


deliveryman struts

into a flock of ducks

missing zip code


#27/02/12 (bad, ‘huh!’ haiku)

email subject ‘none’

squiggles on blank screen

dancing a Swan Lake

…and I had the gall to submit these to Peggy Willis Lyles (The Heron’s Nest) who sweetly sent them back with a note, ‘pass on this one’ and more to succeeding submission calls (without fail) always 15 per suite of these ‘huh’ or ‘yikes’ haiku, none of which worked until she died.

#24/02/12 (x)


ticklish below his navel

the Center of Man


#23/02/12 (wig)

through a wig

grazing her sparse brow

first smile


#21/02/12 (umbrella)


this tight

our crossed-eyes 


#20/02/12 (talus)


winds blast to dust

its face and mine


#19/902/12 (sandals)

his unshod feet

the redolence

of her perfumed tears


#18/02/12 (rattle)

still bush

a rattling

as it uncoils


#17/02/12 (queue)


a thickened queue

at the quay


#14/02/12 (nachos)

Nacho Supreme

not quite the red roses

she wanted


#13/02/12 (mountain)

Sierra Madre mist

our highways to nowhere


#12/02/12 (laundry)

white lies

doused with stain remover

i lose count


#09/02/12 (ice)

so hollow

his icy voice

on a glass


#08/02/12 (hat)

the mime

unfolds his hat

a falcon soars


#07/02/12 (grief)

lingering wail

hers or a mourning dove’s?


March 11, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the rose bud/under a sky/full moon (random haiku and what else I am learning about haiku)

rose bud
still tight in the rain–
the coming of summer

under a sky
bent by a rainbow
we ease for home

full moon
on an open cesspool–
the sun for me

full moon partially obscured by the Earth's atmosphere (21 Dec 1999 taken by austronauts aborad the Space Shuttle Discovery) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I love how images work so well with haiku. And like paintings, they can be very compelling and draw out in their distance the deepest of emotions. Nothing should be overt in haiku. It must be hinted at, almost hidden or unnoticed.

For me, it could be something like a quiet reflection on the spit-notes of a waxwing or the epiphany of yes, a full moon on an open un-lidded cesspool. In the first, the notes for me feel like droplets of crystals that melt into a soft coating on my being, gifting me for a moment with the just-being-there-ness of a salmon berry blossom for a hummingbird; in the second, the moon sinks into my darkness– cesspool that I am in many ways of ‘pecadillos’, those daily pin pricks of rebellion from virtue and goodness–and turns on the light of the sun that is in me or what I believe to be my spirit, which at its core remains as powerful as the Sun from whom the moon draws its brightness.

Perhaps, I’m taking this too far but haiku works when it works for the poet–this is what I’m learning fast, though of course there are still the basic elements to go by. At the workshop of Michael Dylan Welch that I attended last Saturday right here in Vancouver in my neighborhood at the historic Joy Kogawa House, he emphasized a few key elements:

*not 5-7-5 syllables unless one is writing in Japanese
*must have a season (kigo) word (there are hundreds of them in a compilation by Japanese masters that differentiate for example mist and fog in spring and autumn have degrees of thinness, or even the moon is different in winter and autumn)
*must appeal to any or all of the 5 senses
*must be objective, meaning, not what is the emotion but what caused it
*precision (sharp focus), immediacy (of the moment not past or future both of which make it static), juxtaposition to make it ‘leap’ into a larger or higher perspective, which may be attained by contrast
*there’s a lot more than that, of course, and I’m still learning

Truly, reading haiku –and there’s thousands of them–and about the art may not be enough. Haiku has been for centuries some kind of a ‘group art’. It must be shared and worked at with others. For me, some kind of openness even humility are a must, a willingness to learn and be straightened out if what one has written seems vague or imprecise and the reader squints his eyes, knits his brows and says, ‘huh?’ instead of ‘ahhhh…’, clasps his hands and looks up to the heavens. Indeed, joining The Haiku Foundation that gave me access to Shiki Kukai, the Vancouver Haiku Group, and signing up for the NaHaiWriMo facebook site as well as submitting my haiku to and getting ‘acceptance’ and more often ‘declined’ mail from online haiku/tanka journals as well as other literary journals have been extremely rewarding.

Haiku’s most precise definition is ‘a short poem in one breath’. Ahhh…okay then, do these random haiku here make you say, ‘ahhhh’ or ‘huh’?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘deception’ prompt by Melissa Allen at NaHaiWriMo (yes, it’s still on!)

wondering who you are

eclipse–she changes her alias

in the morning
her puppet voice

in person his voice thinner

The National Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) continues on the facebook site. Causing such frenzy among haiku writers of all stages–the masters and beginners encouraging and liking each other–its admin decided to keep it going. Michael Dylan Welch created the magnificant site in February. Alan Summers took over last month (March) to give the daily prompts, perks with great uplifiting words on the haiku and the poet, and some instant workshop with lessons. Melissa Allen (note my badge: ‘She, Red Dragonly, is my friend’) tackles this month’s prompts, as well as the rest, and I’m sure more of what often made the postings rather ‘wild’. Go get a facebook account and join in!

April 1, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments