Valentine's Day--
she reminds me
to fasten my seatbelt

—Michael Dylan Welch

A poem for my wife, Hiromi, who expresses her love for me by reminding me to fasten my seatbelt.

Previous publications:

Honorable Mention in 2000 Haiku Society of America Brady Senryu Contest.
HSA Newsletter XV:4, Autumn 2000, p. 14.
A Glimpse of Red: 2000 Red Moon Anthology. Jim Kacian, ed. Winchester, Virginia: Red Moon Press, 2001, p. 74.
Frogpond XXIV:1, Spring 2001.
2001 Snapshots Haiku Calendar. John Barlow, ed. Liverpool, U.K.: Snapshots Press, 2000, p. 8.
Evergreen Haiku Anthology. Ikuyo Yoshimura, ed. Gifu, Japan: Rainbow Press, 2003, p. 129 and 131.
Haiku, Tanka, Senryu: Internationalization of Japanese Poems. Kazuo Hayakawa, Hatsue Kawamura, and Ikuyo Yoshimura, eds. Tokyo: Chugainippohsha, 2002, p. 75.
Haiku for Lovers. Manu Bazzano, ed. London: MQP Publications, 2003, p. 188.

About the author: Michael Dylan Welch is editor/publisher of Tundra: The Journal of the Short Poem. A long-time vice president of the Haiku Society of America, he was also cofounder of the Haiku North America conference in 1991, cofounder of the American Haiku Archives in 1996, and founder of the Tanka Society of America in 2000. He has published his poetry in hundreds of journals and anthologies in more than a dozen languages, and has won first prize in each of the Henderson, Brady, Drevniok, and Tokutomi contests, among others. Though originally British, and having grown up in England, Ghana, Australia, and Canada, Michael now lives with his wife and two children near Seattle, Washington.

Responses to the haiku for 14 February 2008 by Michael Dylan Welch

    2008-02-14 03:24:51

    A good concrete approach to the day - safety for those we love is vital.

    H. Gene Murtha (hgmurtha at gmail dot com)
    2008-02-14 05:00:30

    well Michael, you are a lucky man, to
    have such a thoughtful wife.

    Andrea (andrea dot cecon at gmail dot com)
    2008-02-14 05:58:00

    That's funny!

    2008-02-14 07:36:18

    Valentine's Day
    messy chocolate kisses
    melting hearts

    mike farley
    2008-02-14 07:46:29

    Excellent haiku Michael! Strong Jux, but not too strong. Just right. I really like it. Good juxtaposition is the most difficult thing for me to achieve, and other than clear and straightforward composition I think it's the single most important element in a good haiku. Valentine's Day is all about your spouse, and this says it wonderfully and perfectly without saying it. Inspiring. Thanks.

    josh wikoff
    2008-02-14 07:56:46

    "...and please keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times."

    Life's an amusement park and you've captured that, Michael. Enjoy the ride!

    2008-02-14 12:45:25

    Nothing says, "I love you," like another's desire to keep your heart beating in perpetuity.

    These little expressions of love are so often overlooked and under-rated as simple romantic gestures.

    This is wonderful.

    Thank you, Michael

    patsy looper
    2008-02-14 13:38:26

    valentines day isn't about spouses or love , it's about card and candy companies. it's another retail holiday. nice thing is, small expressions like this that bypass corporately created holidays. saturday morning could constitute the first line, and the love would shine through even more brightly

    Michael Dylan Welch
    2008-02-14 13:57:40

    Thanks for the comments. Yes, corporate commercialism does have its grip on Valentine's Day, but that doesn't have to affect you unless you let it. I hope love would still shine through if I'd said "Saturday morning," but that line doesn't hint of love, and it loses the season word, too. We know it's a love poem because I say Valentine's Day. Without that, I think the poem would be less clear.

    2008-02-14 15:37:57

    if saturday morning were used the piece would no longer be a haiku, it would become a short poem. nothing wrong with readers having to reach a little either. good poems present challenges. and...valentine's day
    doesn't automatically imply love...i think some pretty wicked things have occured on
    this day.

    Michael Dylan Welch
    2008-02-14 19:16:29

    Isn't love at least the first thing Valentine's Day suggests, or least that ideal? Words denote before they connote, and the initial denotation of Valentine's Day is surely love in some form for most people. If it connotes other things for some people, I would think (or at least hope) that that comes secondarily. In haiku or any poetry, surely the primary meaning always remains paramount.

    Bill Kenney
    2008-02-14 19:58:07

    Love is indeed the first thing Valentine's day suggests, which opens up the possibility of juxtaposing it to pretty wicked things. But, Michael I like your bracingly unsentimental image of love.

    Valentine's Day
    she asks her aging husband
    if he needs to pee

    (Overheard at a restaurant this evening.)

    2008-02-15 09:32:55

    Is today's selection a senryu?

    Michael Dylan Welch
    2008-02-16 14:15:09

    Well, the poem won an honorable mention in the 2000 HSA Brady Senryu Contest. Does that answer the question? But an interesting thought is that haiku (as opposed to senryu) contain season words (check) and a caesura/pause/kireji (check). So some folks might say this qualifies as a haiku. Some folks say it's not a haiku if it has people in it, but Basho, Buson, et al, had lots of HAIKU with people.

    2008-02-17 05:15:55

    hello michael...yes excellent haiku

    patsy..retail holiday..yes maybe so,been trying to think of one that isn't.anyway a well worded haiku michael for the season.

    a friend in haiku...larry

    old scrap book
    a valentine rose
    fuels the fire

    Alan Summers
    2008-02-17 07:44:26

    I enjoyed the haiku very much which displays that understated haiku humour which is so often underused.

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2008-02-17 20:23:02

    winter chills
    this morning--
    snuggling bodies beg to differ