Friday, August 17, 2007



A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a thread in Arts and Literature of PinoyEXchange. Its about poetry, actually it’s the thread title, Scents of Childhood: A Poetry / Prose Challenge, that got me curious. The opening lines

What scents remind you of childhood? A sniff of it leaves you nostalgic, bringing back memories from childhood. Share them with us in poetry form or prose of your choice!

were inviting enough and as I read the replies, my mind wandered leading me to my poetry archives. There I found some of my haikus, an oriental form of poetry that is commonly considered as a 17-syllables-in-3-lines-poem. Haikus maybe short but I find them challenging, you have to compress a certain idea and feeling within its traditional limitations. When I was in second year high school, our English teacher asked us to write a haiku, as the papers were returned, most of my classmates had notes such as “Very good, haiku”, “an inspiring draft”, “you have to write more, just beautiful” and for those who are curious what was written on my paper – its “you have a nice penmanship”. Isn’t it like saying “No comment”? Hehe.

Of course, I didn’t mind her comment, after all she’s my teacher and I thought she was correct. I tried to read some articles and references about haikus but I found them too technical and I confess I am not fond of scanning through technical terms and instructions. I thought, I will write, damn those guidelines, knowing the basic ones are enough. My memory isn’t helpful to recall my very first haiku, all I can remember (thanks to my notebook) was the first haiku I wrote as a professional engineer. It was about Amina Lawal. It was a well-received ‘ku when I posted it in some of poetry groups, or maybe because it was the issue during that time.

a fickle flower
snipped by traditional wind;
now, stones to kiss her

I also tried to write a 3-part haiku about a street child Little Leah’s Leis. I like the poem but somehow I feel that only the 3rd ku can stand on its own. The first two seemed a bit forced though it fits the 17 syllable criterion

Every night you see
six-year-old Little Leah
on busy highways.

Sampaguita leis
she vends. A peso or two
for tomorrow's rice.

After a car's kiss,
blooms enwrap her. In heaven,
divine leis, she'll make.

And since I was obsessed in writing ‘kus before, I challenged myself to write haikus with the words having the same first letter. I know, I was crazy. I managed to write three until the desire in me died down.

skies silently screams
searching some stranded spirits
souls seeking solace

candlelight Christmas
charred carols comfort cold cheeks
cathedral's cobwebs

brownish butterflies
ballet besides blueberries
birds bedazzlement

Having stayed in Japan for three years inspired to write ‘kus about the changing seasons. Actually, I think they always dedicate haikus to at least one season and they have it on one line. Perhaps the 3-line haikus are from western influences.

delight of bald trees
birds still lull on their parched limbs;
bards' masterpieces

water-colored buds
between pink sea and green skies
birth of new concepts

hot maize spotlight
exposes sea waves’ jewels
continental range

cigarette’s slumber
silver quill remains silent
the ink is frozen

I have written a hopeful love poem in a haiku-esque style too aptly titled Sakura

The boulevard’s pink,
skies and streams too. The wind whispers
someone’s watching you.

The Sputnik Sweetheart,
a book, hides your pinkish face.
My bike routes to you.

Hi! Konnichiwa!
we say the words together;
the pink petals fall.

Trees are bare and bold,
sometimes white and cold, you wait
for me to come back.

The boulevard’s pink.
skies and streams too. The wind whispers
please start things anew.

Haikus with darker tones are cool too. Loved dark-themed poetry very much.

the lamp stops dancing
scent of dahlias fills the room
i am not alone

two chrysanthemums
dance in a glass that soon breaks;
fading yellowness

sang out of the womb
enchanting ninety two years;
singing in the tomb

Surprise visitor
welcomed by clueless people
her Medusa stares

There are lots to love and like about haikus. If you want to know more about it, click here. I am not a haiku expert. I am just sharing the passion I used to love, or maybe still loving it. Unconsciously.

Each one of us is an artist. I’m pretty sure of that – we all have creative juices that are waiting to overflow. Just try to explore yourself and you might be surprised about your other side. Write. Sketch. Express.

By the way, thanks Jeques for the wonderful thread. Oh, Jeques is new to blogosphere, after my subtle coercions, he finally made one. Please visit Jeques's Web Nook and welcome him to a colorful and complex world of blogging.

Sigh. It made me miss writing more. Writing poems, that is.



  1. uy makata pala ang katukayo ko. hehe.. nice poems dude.

    weird as it may seem, the scent that reminds me of my childhood are the grasses in the field. yung bagong tabas. sa school ko kase sa Bacolod City noon, yung oval (multi-purpose field) eh malapit lang sa mga classrooms so everytime they trim the grass, ayun, humahalimuyak ang nakaka-high na damo. haha!

  2. @tukayo, feeling makata lang. nasa baul na yan, hinalungkat ko lang hehehe

    you mean Paglaum Sport Complex? nag aral ka ba sa bacolod? haha, nakaka adik nga yun

  3. UNO-R. di po ako madalas sa Paglaum eh. on weekends, nasa beaches kami. sa gabi naman, nasa Manukan Country. haha.. sarap buhay. noon yun, di na ngayon :P

  4. @tukayo, teka ilonggo ka ba? hehe. miss ko na tuloy ang inasal. hehe

    bakit di naman masaya ngayon?

  5. Wow, Great Haiku collection! These are lovely pieces Totomai. I particularly like those you wrote in Japan inspired by the four seasons which you mentioned earlier. The seasons can be viewed and felt in many different ways. By capturing them on paper with words in haiku, you let your readers look at it in you own unique way through your eyes and from your perspective. And I bit, everytime you read them, you, too, are reminded of that particular moment. The imagery sketched are rich and are clearly stated in words leaving a definite picture in the mind but at the same time it produces a multitude of impressions to me. The #4 Haiku for the winter season is for me the strongest. Perhaps because I can relate to the obvious subject, but most important, it is thought provoking. The colorful contrast created in #2 for spring leaves a positive impact that makes the two work perfectly together.

    The collection as a whole showcased your keen eyes for details. You succeed to enlarge small and often unnoticed ordinary things, which in effect, would teach your readers to pay attention and hopefully look at things differently.

    I am honored to be mentioned here. It is rewarding to know that one of my objectives when I started that thread(Scents Of Childhood) was achieved. The inspiration rolled and hopefully will multiply.

    To aajao: You mean the smell of the fresh cut grass. Yup, that for me conjures nostalgia, too. I wrote a Haiku about that. I forgot where I keep it though.

    By the way, I like the background song that goes well with the theme. I just hope I understood the words.

    Great job!

    I wish you well ~ Jeques

  6. Totomai,

    I failed to mention this, I'm also from western visayas. Roxas City to be exact. Once in my "MedRep" career, I stayed in Bacolod 1 and half years, between 1996-98, so familiar with the inasal. When I was working as Store Manager for Penshoppe and Oxygen, we do our district/regional meetings in Bacolod, 2000 to '04. What I missed about the place? Pala-pala, palamunitan, and yes, the chicken inasal.

    For aajao: Here's the Haiku I mentioned earlier about "cut grass"

    Scents Of Childhood, Haiku #4

    Sweet smell of cut grass

    Brings the boy back to school grounds ~

    Mirths of used to be.

    I wish you well ~ Jeques

  7. @Jeques, first, thanks for the wonderful thread. I really hope that more PEXERS will be able to see their poetic side. hehe

    Thanks for liking the haikus. Honestly though, I dont like some of them now. haha!

    Cool, so you're from Visayas region too. I am not sure if your dialect is karay-a(?). Can you understand ilonggo?

    Oh, dont mention inasal. it makes me crave for more.

    Thanks again Jeques and welcome to Blogosphere

  8. regarding the song, my ex gf introduced this one to me.


    bokura ha kitto matteru
    kimi to mata aeru hibi wo
    sakura namiki no michi no ue de
    te wo furi sakebu yo
    donna ni kurushii toki mo
    kimi ha waratteiru kara
    kujikesou ni
    narikakete mo
    gambareru ki ga shita yo
    kasumiyuku keshiki no naka ni
    ano hi no uta ga kikoeru

    sakura sakura
    ima sakihokoru
    setsuna ni chiriyuku
    sadame to shitte
    saraba tomo yo
    tabidachi no toki
    kawaranai sono omoi wo

    ima nara ieru darou ka
    itsuwari no nai kotoba
    kagayakeru kimi no mirai wo negau
    hontou no kotoba
    utsuriyuku machi ha maru de
    bokura wo sekasu you ni

    sakura sakura
    tada maiochiru
    itsuka umarekawaru
    toki wo shinji
    naku na tomo yo ima sekibetsu no toki
    kazaranai ano egao de

    sakura sakura
    iza maiagare
    towa ni sanzameku
    hikari wo abite
    saraba tomo yo
    mata kono basho de aou
    sakura maichiru
    michi no ue de


    Cherry Blossom

    Surely we're waiting,
    for the day we can see you again.
    On the street lined with cherry blossom trees
    We'll wave our hands and yell out.

    Whenever we suffer or start to lose heart
    We feel we can hang in there
    because you're smiling.
    We can hear the song from back then
    from in those hazy scenes.

    cherry blossoms
    now in full bloom
    scattered fleetingly
    I know it's fate,
    farewell my friend.
    when it's time to leave on your journey,
    with that unchanging feeling.

    I wonder if now we can say those words without pretense.
    Words from the heart,
    Words to hope for your bright future.
    It's as if the bussling city is rushing us.

    cherry blossoms
    just floating to the ground
    believing one day they'll be reborn
    Don't cry my friend, It's a shame but it's time to go
    with that unadorned smile...

    cherry blossoms
    now flying in the air
    eternally rustling
    awash in light
    farewell my friend
    let's meet again here.
    on the street scattered with cherry blossoms.

  9. Nope, we speak heligaynon, a modified ilonggo. So yes, I understand and speak ilonggo minus the accent.

    I don't like most of the poems I have written either. Whenever I re-read them there's this compulsion for me to edit them. But I have discovered that the original draft always hold the true heart of a thought. When I keep on editing, the real sentiments are sacrificed and lost in the process. So I just let them mellow with time. I'm really curious how they would sound to me when I am older.

    I am a lyric person when I listen to music. Thank you for providing it with the translation. Cool!

    I wish you well ~ Jeques

  10. well, i guess we have the same dialect then - hiligaynon.

    about poem editing, i realize that my initial thoughts are somewhat lost if i edit my poems. that's why i try to avoid joining poetry groups. though i appreciate their inputs but i guess i still have the last say hehe

    thanks Jeques

  11. You're right. That's why I still keep on studying grammar, punctuations and all the necessary tools for writing until now. Because that's were I needed the editor for in my works. The Elemnets of Style book is a great referrence. you don't need an editor for your works if you keep it handy.

    Small world, huh?. It's good to know we speak the same dialect, hiligaynon.
    But you know what, this is crazy, I write better in english.

    I'm really glad I started a blog. Now I have reason to write.

    I wish you well ~ Jeques

  12. indeed, Jeques, what a small world.

    i cant even reply in a hiligaynon mass. perhaps we are used to english language when we are young. lol, i am not even fluent. haha!

    having a blog would inspire you to write more. just think of it as a practice session

  13. My love for country is out of question. But when it comes to written words, I just express myself better in English. I still speak our language well, I speak fluent tagalog. But you know what, I find reading the "tula" I composed baduy. Hehehe! I have some few of them, and I end up laughing than get carried away by the sentiments when I read them.

    That's why I called my blog my web nook because I feel like finally, I have a corner in the web for my thoughts. And yes, through regular writing, I hope to tame my voice, that child who wanted to be heard, who never left me all these years.

    I wish you well ~ Jeques

  14. perhaps that corner of yours will inspire other writers :-)

    i think i have only written one "tula" hehe. ang pamagat "Unan" hehe

  15. intriquing color sandy bronze of autumn sandy

  16. Your flower are beautiful as well as your poems.
    The one I like is your Sakura poem. This poem speaks to me.
    Than you for sharing,

  17. Nice bloom and poem.
    Great post Totomai.
    Have a nice week.

  18. Great post, I enjoyed your words and also that beautiful image of the yellow flowers. Thank you for sharing them.


any thoughts to distill?

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