Global Haiku Tradition
Millikin University, Summer 2004

Tammy Wright

Michael Dylan Welch's Haiku

Tammy Wright

Tammy's Haiku



Michael Dylan Welch was born in Watford, England in 1962. He focused his graduate studies in poetry and fiction and received his Master’s degree in English in 1989. Welch has a history of being a technical writer, publications manager, freelance book editor, and publisher of Press Here, a publishing company started by Welch in 1989. Welch found magic in haiku that motivated him to spend the last 15 years becoming increasingly involved in the haiku community.

Welch continues to enjoy the forever-fascinating genre of haiku. He is always learning more about it. His fascination has helped him discover more of the “Japanese origin, history, and current development, as well as its worldwide changes, and adaptations” that haiku offers. As Welch puts it, “Haiku is a window into ourselves.”

When researching Welch, I found it quite interesting the passion he seems to have for haiku. His love for photography has also allowed him to enjoy sharing the love he has for these two things with others.

I learned more about haiku from reading the various articles about Welch. It finally became clear to me the reasons for the misconceptions English writers have of the 5-7-5 “rule.” You simply cannot translate Japanese syllables into English syllables evenly. My perception of that statement is that the English version of haiku must take on the “objective imagery” that Welch mentions in his article "Becoming a Haiku Poet."

I have enjoyed writing haiku, however, I have not matured enough in my haiku writing to appear to fully understand it. I can, however, enjoy it and enjoy writing it if only to spend time noticing what is around me. If only to spend time trying to be a part of nature or life as it can be described in a few short words.

Some of my favorite Welch haiku make me chuckle and make me daydream. If those emotions were his intentions, than these haiku have been born and have been thoroughly enjoyed.

meteor shower—
a gentle wave
wets our sandals

Tagged with Ribbons: Welch 2002

This haiku is one of my favorites because I am a stargazer. This makes a personal statement to me and takes me to a wonderful and warm place in my mind. There is nothing more relaxing and amazing than nature. To spend time on a beach walking the shoreline and stargazing brings many of my senses to attention. I can smell the salt water. I can feel the gentle rush of the wave on my feet. I can hear the waves crashing far away from shore. I can feel the wind in my hair as though it were stroking my head to comfort me. I can see the stars falling as I hope to wish fast enough for the dream to come true. Welch brought those senses to life with a few words carefully placed on the page.

pale moonlight—
a snow-covered swing
twists in the wind

The Sandpiper’s Song: Welch 2000

This haiku doesn’t necessarily bring a warm feeling to my soul, but it does make me think of home. I have a porch swing on my front porch. On a night with a full moon, it sets a beautiful picture outside my front window. I can see it in the winter when the snow has been blowing and swing had not been put away for the winter. The swing twists and rocks as the wind blows. It may be cold outside but I am warm as I snuggle in my afghan and watch the swing dance.

The haiku that makes be laugh a bit is:

visiting mother—
again she finds
my first grey hair

A Table for One: Welch 1999

Oh how I can see that happening. I can certainly feel the tug when she pulls out that gray hair, EACH first time she finds it. Welch has a unique way of sharing a bit of humor along with a bit of disappointment with the way this mother might be finding fault with this person. I can almost feel the “here we go again” attitude brought to the surface with this haiku.
It seems to me that Welch has written about so many different things. He does not just concentrate on nature alone. If it has happened in life, I’d say there is a haiku about it. He’s somewhat like George Swede in the variety of topics used for his haiku. However, Swede has a much bolder style. Much more of a shock effect whereas Welch implies more of an aha effect. Welch’s Pop Fly collection is a fun and refreshing look at a sporting haiku.

in the upper bleacher,
a stranger waves
at another stranger

Pop Fly: Welch 1998

This is a good example of the aha effect Welch has with his haiku. I spent a few minutes evaluating what a stranger really was. I came up with several relationships right there on those bleachers.

Open Window (an online collection of haiku and photographs published by Brooks Books at: ) is my most enjoyable collection by Welch. The integration of photographs and haiku is very appealing to me. I did find it interesting however, that he points out that the photograph should not be an illustration of the haiku. He links the photograph with the haiku by mood, color, time, subject or even season. I tried to add a photograph I took to a haiku and found it appears more to mirror the haiku rather than add another dimension to it. While I loved the haiku I wrote and I loved the picture I took, finding out that it should not mirror it was a bit of a disappointment to me. I so enjoyed both but it appears they should each stand on their own.

As I viewed the photographs from Open Window and read the haiku I was how the mood was set. The photograph of a beautiful sunset inspired the same feeling the haiku did. The mountain sunset was adjacent to the following haiku:

          into the moon
          toy sailboat

Both have a very somber and relaxed ambiance. Even thought it’s a good comparison of feelings and emotions, I still feel a disappointment that there is not a reflection of the moment that is shown in the photograph. It leaves me more puzzled than satisfied.

In conclusion, it is apparent that Welch loves what he does. As is reflected in the many awards and publishing’s, he not only loves what he does, but he is good at it. Given an opportunity, I would recommend reading the work of Michael Dylan Welch. Spending some time in conversation with him would be a fascinating experience.

Welch, Michael D. Haiku Form., retrieved July 2004

Welch, Michael D. Captain Haiku’s Secret Hideout.
( retrieved July 2004.

Welch, Michael D. The Sandpiper’s Song. Welch: Foster City, CA, 2000.

Welch, Michael D. Open Window. Brooks Books: Decatur, IL, 2000 retrieved July 2004 at:

Van Den Heuvel, Cor, Ed. The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English. W.W. Norton & Co.: New York, 1999.

Welch, Michael D. “Becoming a Haiku Poet.” ( Retrieved July 2004.

Welch, Michael D. Tagged With Ribbons. Welch: Foster City, CA, 2002.

Welch, Michael D. Thornewood Poems. Ed. LeRoy Gorman. Welch: Woodside, CA. 1998.

Welch, Michael D. A Table for One. Welch: Foster City, CA, 1999.

Welch, Michael D. Luggage Poems. Welch: Foster City, CA, 1999.

Welch, Michael D. Pop Fly. Welch: Foster City, CA,1998.

Welch, Michael D. The Haijim’s Tweed Coat. Press Here. Foster City, CA. 2000.

©2004 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors