2007 Best Canadian Poem

street hockey
young boys shoot cherry petals
into the net

                      Terry Ann Carter
                      Ottawa, Ontario
2007 Best U.S. Poem

cherry blossoms
in every upturned face
a child’s eyes

                      Karen Cesar
                      Tucson, Arizona
2007 Best International Poem

cherry blossoms
just a little piece
of blue sky

                      Grzegorz Sionkowski
                      Torun, Poland
2007 Best Youth Poem

glistening on
the field’s dew
cherry blossom light

                      Candis Rooker (15)

2007 Sakura Award Winners

the way she sings
when no one is listening—
cherry blossom dusk

                      Susan Antolin
                      Walnut Creek, California

stolen kiss
the whisper
of cherry blossoms

                      Susan Constable
                      Nanoose Bay, British Columbia

cherry blossom
his HIV test

                      Amitava Dasgupta
                      Houston, Texas

above the outhouse
first blossoms

                      Elehna de Sousa
                      Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

just for a moment
under the cherry blossom
she looks much younger

                      Julie Downsbrough
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

sakura . . .
the taste of chilled wine
from a clay cup

                      Lorin Ford
                      Brunswick, Australia

the wiggle
of a bee’s behind—
cherry blossom

                      Laryalee Fraser
                      Salmon Arm, British Columbia

an old white cat
climbs up the cherry tree
moonlit blossoms

                      Barry Goodmann
                      Hackensack, New Jersey

cherry petals
a child adds a handful
to the busker’s cap

                      Christopher Herold
                      Port Townsend, Washington

first date
his face the color
of the cherry blossom

                      Maria Kowal
                      Bierun, Poland

the beaver’s tail
strikes bright water—
cherry blossoms

                      Peggy Lyles
                      Tucker, Georgia

cherry petals
pressed against the window
the cat’s pink nose

                      Autumn Moon
                      Tucson, Arizona

seeking a poem—
I open my book and find
a cherry blossom

                      Lorene Oikawa
                      Surrey, British Columbia

scent of cherry blossom
the tree moves
ever so faintly

                      Patricia Prime
                      Auckland, New Zealand

Cherry petal shower—
the kindergarten children
turn their palms up.

                      Zhanna P. Rader
                      Athens, Georgia

cherry blossoms—
with my daughter in my arms
I am weightless

                      Andrew Riutta
                      Traverse City, Michigan

silence between us . . .
cherry petals
in flight

                      Natalia Rudychev
                      Des Plaines, Illinois

blossom on the cherry tree
grows pinker

                      Katrina Shepherd
                      Dunblane, Scotland

memorial garden
your perfume
among the weeping cherries

                      Sandra Simpson
                      Tauranga, New Zealand

the sky fades—
through the blossoming cherries
first stars

                      Bogdanka Stojanovski
                      Novi Sad, Serbia

pink receiving blankets
stacked in the corner
budding cherry

                      Angela Terry
                      Lake Forest Park, Washington

the father awaits news
of his firstborn

                      Tony A. Thompson
                      Lufkin, Texas

blossoms . . .
a lover’s whisper fades
into fragrance

                      Marilyn Appl Walker
                      Madison, Georgia

I shed my sweater
buds on the cherry tree

                      Quendryth Young
                      Alstonville, Australia


2007 Honourable Mentions

as though it were
the first time—
cherry blossoms

                      Aurora Antonovic
                      Windsor, Ontario

cherry blossoms—
my Japanese student
calls home

                      marianne baharustani
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

the sound of nothing . . .
all around pink blossoms
softly fall

                      Helen Baker
                      North Vancouver, British Columbia

being lost
among cherry blossoms—
white butterfly

                      Ferenc Bakos
                      Siofok, Hungary

cherry blossoms
a taste of the wine
on her lips

                      Collin Barber
                      Marion, Arizona

blossom viewing—
mother shrinks deeper
into her shawl

                      Roberta Beary
                      Washington, D.C.

daughter’s first spring:
her flushed cheek
a cherry petal

                      Stephanie Bolster
                      Pointe-Claire, Quebec

50th reunion
we gather
under cherry blossom

                      Nora Borrell
                      Lower Hutt, New Zealand

cold sidewalk
cherry blossoms
warm my steps

                      Dennis Bourgo
                      Gibsons, British Columbia

my baby’s hand:
still too like a blossom
to catch one

                      Carrie Cogan
                      Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

moving still deeper
into cherry haze

                      Ellen Compton
                      Washington, D.C.

delicate dance—
blossoms flirt
in ¾ time

                      Tracy Conley
                      Hamilton, Ontario

spring drizzle—
the scent
of cherry blossoms

                      Wanda D. Cook
                      Hadley, Massachusetts

driving slowly
under drifts of blossoms
the longer route

                      Jennifer Danielson
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

during war
the cherry blossoms

                      Anne LB Davidson
                      Saco, Maine

hide and seek—
cherry petals frosting
their shoulders

                      Billee Dee
                      San Diego, California

wedding bell ringing . . .
cherry blossoms pave the way
to the church steps

                      Audrey Downey
                      New Haven, Connecticut

temple bells
the petals blowing
from the cherry trees

                      Gary Eaton
                      Port Moody, British Columbia

the sudden flight
of a flock of small birds . . .
falling blossoms

                      Juanito Escareal
                      Hercules, California

abandoned farmhouse—
the orchard still fills
with cherry blossoms

                      Elizabeth Fanto
                      Timonium, Maryland

cherry tree
the quiet lady
with purple hair

                      Martin Fraser
                      Poole, United Kingdom

Cherry blossoms—
out of the color
of snow.

                      Volker Friebel
                      Tuebingen, Germany

old people’s home—
cherry blossom petals
on the doormat

                      Damien Gabriels
                      Leers, France

cherry tree—
young girls pick blossoms
for their hair

                      Katherine Gallagher
                      London, United Kingdom

cherry blossoms
in his shopping cart
recycling cans

                      Andrea Gradidge
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

blossom rain—
she sweeps the front steps
in her Sunday best

                      Carolyn Hall
                      San Francisco, California

letters dissolving
over cherry blossoms

                      Penny Harter
                      Summit, New Jersey

third day of blossom . . .
the old woman carries
a handful of petals

                      Origa (Olga Hooper)
                      Lansing, Michigan

cherry tree
shedding off petals at dusk—
moths in flight

                      Alegria Imperial
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

spring wind . . .
the deserted café’s seats
filled with cherry petals

                      Keiko Izawa
                      Yokohama, Japan

Cherry tree begins to bud
I hold the envelope
with test results.

                      Harvey Jenkins
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

between snowfalls:
the moon through
cherry blossom petals

                      Anthony Kudryavitsky
                      Dublin, Ireland

Early blossom,
ten thousand

                      Judith Mann
                      Delta, British Columbia

barefoot romp
in cherry blossom petals
a schoolgirl’s blush

                      Marilyn Potter
                      Toronto, Ontario

bending them down
because we can’t help it
cherry blossoms

                      Bruce Ross
                      Hampden, Maine

for the road hockey players
a pink carpet
of cherry blossoms

                      Grant D. Savage
                      Ottawa, Ontario

castle garden
under the cherry
a moat of pink blossom

                      Andre Surridge
                      Hamilton, New Zealand

long walk
today again
cherry blossoms

                      Jessica Tremblay
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

cherry blossoms—
the boulevard glows
in the dark

                      Susan Truman
                      Mission, British Columbia

The meadowlark sings
I pause in the avenue
of cherry blossoms

                      Norma Vachet
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

cherry petals
drifting . . .
I open my hands

                      Harriot West
                      Eugene, Oregon

buds on the old cherry tree
I say yes
. . . again

                      Laquita Wood
                      Washington, D.C.


2007 Youth Sakura Award Winners

holding hands
by the creek—
cherry blossoms bloom

                      Laura Bodde (16)
                      Vermilion, Ohio

glistening on
the field’s dew
cherry blossom light

                      Candis Rooker (15)
                      Vermilion, Ohio

shooting stars—
I have found cherry blossoms

                      Chris Scott (15)
                      Vermilion, Ohio


2007 Youth Honourable Mentions

A walk in the meadow
blossoms blossoming
falling calmly

                      Henna Bhandal (12)
                      Surrey, British Columbia

your tender lips
like a cherry blossom bud—
i want to kiss

                      Christina Cao (16)
                      Vancouver British Columbia

A walk in the meadow
blossoms blossoming
falling calmly

                      Henna Bhandal (12)
                      Surrey, British Columbia

your tender lips
like a cherry blossom bud—
i want to kiss

                      Christina Cao (16)
                      Vancouver British Columbia

Cherry blossoms float
soft through the air, and rosy
in my dish of water

                      Juliana W. Chow (7)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

In the Spring the flowers sway in the wind.
The sky hides behind
The pink and white blossoms

                      Annika Cleland-Hura (6)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

The wind is blowing
Cherry blossoms on my shoes
Covering the stains

                      Katie Cronk (15)
                      North Saanich, British Columbia

in my dreams
cherry blossoms

                      Olivia Feng (10)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

in the cherry tree
scattering pink lollipops

                      Sophia Frentz (14)
                      Tauranga, New Zealand

as though I had missed
all other clues,
cherry blossoms

                      Devon Goodman (17)
                      Maple Ridge, British Columbia

I am on my way
Up a tree
So pink cherry blossoms fall on me

                      Caitlin Griffiths (11)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

I await July—
cherry blossoms
eliminate my longing

                      Natasha Hemer (11)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

garden gnome
frozen in rapture
blossoms fall

                      Jasmine Leung (15)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

a homeless man walks
underneath a cherry tree
smiling as he walks

                      David Pottage (15)
                      Victoria, British Columbia

fuchsia sky—
under the cherry trees

                      Chris Smith (15)
                      Vermilion, Ohio

Cherry blossoms—
So little color
so much beauty

                      Brian Strick (16)
                      Vermilion, Ohio

gently falling
with the cherry blossoms

                      Cortney Tedford (16)
                      Vermilion, Ohio

Pink petals fall
gently onto a newborn’s face—
Blossom again!

                      Kate Tong (16)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

Recess at school
We run out to play while
Cherry blossoms fall

                      Charlotte Watson (18)
                      North Vancouver, British Columbia

The open ground
cherry blossoms
turn it pale pink

                      Michael Xia (12)
                      Vancouver, British Columbia


2007 Judges’ Comments

For the past two years, we have used a haiku by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) to capture the spirit of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival:

under the tree
in the soup, salad, and everywhere—
cherry blossoms

We chose this haiku to emphasize the fun of cherry-blossom viewing, but we were also attracted by the fresh perspective that Basho brought to his subject. He did not try to glorify the beauty of the cherry tree, nor did he wring a moral lesson from the blossoms. Instead, he enjoyed the blossoms for what they were – a delightful nuisance – and wrote about what was in front of his eyes. By staying faithful to his experience, he created a haiku that inspires us to this day.

The poets who submitted haiku to the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational brought their own fresh perspectives to the cherry blossom. We were again delighted by the creativity of the poets who submitted. Over a thousand poets from around the world (including more than 700 from across Canada) sent us their haiku. We received submissions from 32 countries in total, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Russia, Turkey, France, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago, from poets ranging in age from six to ninety-two. For the most part, their haiku succeeded in being distinct from each other and the 1000 or so entries we received in 2006. We thank all the poets who entered this year’s Haiku Invitational, and we hope they will enter next year’s invitational, too.

It was difficult to single out four haiku for special attention. We selected the poems we did because we enjoyed their original imagery, strong use of language, and depth of perception. At first glance our top Canadian haiku may seem to be a simple piece of Canadiana, but on a deeper level it shows that the Japanese appreciation of the cherry blossom can – and has – become a part of our country. Our top USA haiku is universal, revealing the childlike wonder that we all feel while viewing these blossoms. We chose our top International haiku for the clever way that it described an old cherry tree hiding the sky with its profusion of blossoms. And we admired our top Youth haiku for finding a novel way of appreciating the colour of the cherry petal while reminding us that, like the dew, the beauty of the cherry blossom is even more precious for being fleeting.

As you read the haiku we selected, keep in mind how many fresh perspectives of the cherry blossom they capture. We hope that you will also come to find many surprises in the cherry blossoms in the days and weeks ahead.

—Carole MacRury, Michael Dylan Welch, and Edward Zuk, Judges