Global Haiku • July 2017
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Thomas Friend

Love & Dirty Diapers

Thomas Friend

Haiku is defined as a traditional form of Japanese poetry that contains three lines. In traditional Japanese, these three lines consisted of five, seven, and five “sounds” respectively, and typically contained some seasonal, or nature-oriented word, or phrase.

Since its adaptation into North American cultures the structure, and thus the definition of this form of poetry has become much more freeform. Some authors have expressed the idea that the value of the poetry itself is no longer found in the structure, but in the content.

The title Love & Dirty Diapers was chosen in reference to my haiku muse. My wife, and children are my greatest inspiration in life, and thus, are the greatest influence on my artistic expressions.

voice of an angel
sings to my soul
as I rock her to sleep

I was looking through pictures one evening, and came across some old pictures of my daughter (who will be eight in two weeks) when she was less than two years old. One of the pictures was of me, rocking her to sleep. I used to turn Willie Nelson on, on my phone, and rock her as it played. She used to "sing" along, in almost a whisper. It was really more of a cooing that actually carried, somewhat, of a tune. I sat there, and stared at that picture for the longest time remembering all those long ago nights. That's when this haiku came to me. Funny enough, my daughter still prefers to listen to Willie Nelson at bedtime. ~Tom

rain-streaked window
soft street light glow
Norah Jones

to be three again
where fighter jets
dogfight monster trucks

My three-year-old son is still young enough that we let him take toys to church on Sunday. Never anything big, just something small, usually like a couple of Hot Wheels cars. One Sunday the congregation was standing for a song, and my son was sitting in the pew playing. I looked down to find him with a toy F-4 Phantom that was being chased, and shot down by a monster truck. I immediately found my adult, left-brain, almost exasperatedly, thinking that the physics of that interaction were all wrong. First of all, there is nothing on that monster truck to generate that kind of lift, let alone having the right aerodynamics to keep it aloft, or maneuver like that. Furthermore, it lacks any, and all armament. Then I saw his smile, as he existed in his own little world where physics don't matter. He was having fun, and his monster truck was winning that dogfight (even if the F-4 was the top air superiority fighter of its day). That's when this haiku came to me. In the pew, in church, with a three-year-old who is definitely, not yet a physicist. ~Tom

deserted country road
dancing to . . .
our own music

through parted trees
the grand ballroom


oliy feathers pluck
the scarecrow's
last thought

Summer pond
the water
provides her modesty

rainforest canopy
     her skin
          against mine

Reflection on Haiku

I must admit that in my current major, and in my current career, the vast majority of what I do is dominated by left-brain thinking. The introduction of Haiku into my life has stimulated more right-brain thinking than I am used to. I greatly appreciate, and value this. I feel that utilizing both hemispheres of the brain, and their vast functionalities is imperative to mental health, and improving thought capacity. Like all things in life, I feel that your thinking requires balance to achieve harmony. Thinking predominately with one side of the brain, over the other, for the majority of the time, begins to delude your thought processes, and limit your approaches to possible solutions. Training your brain to engage problems with both hemispheres broadens your approach to dilemmas, thus providing you with a wider range of possible solutions.

Furthermore, I have just found haiku to be relaxing, and extremely enjoyable. I have found that reading haiku, particularly by North American, contemporary authors brings me great satisfaction. I prefer their freeform poetry, and diversity of content. The mental stimulation, and the simplicity of the art form balance each other out to provide a thought provoking, yet relaxing past time. I have found that the act of writing haiku has much the same effect, but enables me to express myself in an artistic, and articulate manner. Both reading, and writing haiku is a great relaxation technique, and stress reliever.

Haiku has also strengthened my ability to read into things, and analyze them more thoroughly. It has also taught me to see what is not there, or things that are only implied on a deeper level. It has also exposed me to the artistic expressions of some very interesting, and talented individuals. All in all, haiku has broadened my horizons in a very positive manner.

~Tom Friend


© 2017, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.