Global Haiku • Spring 2010
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Tyler Lamensky

Justin's Haiku Journey

Tyler Lamensky

Young, but determined, Justin had set his lofty goals and now panned to reach them. He wished to become a great haiku writer who understood all there is to know of the poetic art. To reach such immense heights, he must first learn from the best. Justin set out to a distant mountain in hopes of consulting the Grand haiku master of the North, Master Brooks. Master Brooks lived in solitude, learning from the nature around him to write his haiku.

When Justin reached Master Brooks, he was instructed to sit and watch as nature unfolded itself in front of him. As Justin sat there, his ear began to itch, so he itched it. This led him to think about his ears and how similar they were to his father’s. Before Justin knew it, he had completely forgotten about his intentions to watch nature. Master Brooks told Justin he must focus, while being open-minded to details of nature. With new motivation, Justin sat and learned from nature on the top the mountain. He witnessed the environment come to life with animals, weather, flowing streams, and tall trees. Justin began to see the greatness of nature and quickly scrambled to write a haiku.

the icy babbling brook
speaks quietly
of spring

With his new found appreciation for nature, Justin left Master Brooks and continued onhis journey. His next destination was a small island in the South. Blue waters, and warm sand lined the coast as lush green trees grew in its center. Sitting in the shade of his bamboo hut Justin found who he was looking for. TheHaiku Doctor (everyone just called him Doc) was an old man with leathered skin. He had studied the structure of Haiku his whole life to earn the respect he now had. Justin asked Doc to teach the correct format of haiku in hopes to become a great writer. Doc explained to Justin that there is no right or wrong format for writing haiku. The perplexed Justin stared at Doc, confused. Doc stated how haiku are not bound to a specific structure and were meant to be expressed in whatever format the writer wished. Justin attempted to scribble down two haiku with the freedom of format that Doc spoke of.

reaching for the stars my journey continues

waves crash the shore
rhythmic and unending
a lullaby

By this time Justin felt he was beginning to grasp all that is haiku. Master Brooks had taught him of how nature could influence haiku, while Doc shared his wisdom of the shifting shapes that haiku can come in. Justin’s next destination was a peculiar location; Twin Town. In the far East, along the shoreline, sat the ever-intriguing Twin Town. The residents here were said to all possess at win, and due to hereditary genetics, this had been happening for generations. Walking through the village, Justin observed the many sets of twins going about their business. The fish market twin’s bellowed out to customers in a similar high pitched voice. Schoolteacher twins shared the chalkboard, writing nearly in unison as they taught a lesson. Justin had found the small house he was looking for on the edge of Twin Town. Standing on twin doormats, he knocked on the door. Within a few seconds two young women opened the door together. Here began the third portion of Justin’s haiku journey.

The slender, brown haired twins were named Autumn and April. Walking through the house Justin gazed at the extent to which the twins had taken their similarity. From bathrooms and bedrooms, to clothes and shoes, the girls had matching possessions. What made these twins special was how all of Autumn’s items were of a darker color, while April’s were light colored. Justin asked why this was and the twins explained that during their childhood the girls would fight over wanting the same thing. Finally, they took complete opposite perspectives to give themselves individual identity. Only one thing had remained shared between the twins; haiku. They would write a single haiku for the both of them, but were somehow content with this. Justin burrowed his brow while trying to understand how this would help him on his journey. The twins explained how haiku could take on multiple meanings and they had perfected such a talent. This concept went beyond just paired expressions; every haiku written could be interpreted differently depending on the reader. The twins shared some haiku and asked Justin we image he conjured from them. To his surprise, each haiku took on vastly different meanings between the three of them. Justin slowly began to understand the many layers that could be expressed in a single haiku. The twins told Justin to find a place where he could alone to practice this new idea. He thanked the twins and found the perfect rock to sit on near the coast as he tried to incorporate all of his teachings into his haiku.

sweet sixteen couple
a sour break up
soldiers push forward

heavy rain drops,
fall on his shoulders,
another burden to carry

          Tyler Lamensky

© 2010, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.