2012 Haiku Invitational Winners

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Top Winners

British Columbia

alone at the airport
a cherry blossom
on my suitcase
                      Marianne Baharustani
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada

morning tai chi—
all the prams
slowly turning pink
                      Lin Geary
                      Paris, Ontario

United States

cherry petals falling
the pond’s oldest koi
slowly surfaces
                      Michele L. Harvey
                      Hamilton, New York

International

school for the blind
every fingertip sees
a different pink
                      David Terelinck
                      Pyrmont NSW, Australia

Youth

old cherry tree—
a spider weaves its cobweb
between two flowers
                      Cristina Ailoaei, age 14
                      Botosani, Romania

(Click here to see the judge’s comments on the top winning poems)

 


The sheer number of entries to this invitational is testament to the jubilation and spirit of shared delight that cherry blossom time inspires.

As an antipodean, enjoying the mid-winter gleam of emerging wattle, I would have hesitated to accept the privilege of judging this event, had I not been four times to Japan in cherry blossom time in the last several years, the most recent occasion being in April this year.

With so much said, and written, about blooming cherry trees, it is even more admirable that fine new poems continue to be written, fresh in content and expression.

Some poems immediately tug at the senses of the reader: others emerge more slowly but convince us of their reality, of being true to the moment, with clear imagery, or evocation of sound or other senses.

There is a place for humour. [email protected] Status Update …’ is such a poem, but I find it utterly convincing. Having seen whiteboards in hotel foyers that daily document the progression of the blossom front, and photos in newspapers that record the first nudge of buds on cherry trees, this poem recalls the near-hysteria, and anxiety, about whether the season will be a good one, or on time. In another wry take on our modern world, cherry blossoms are sent from an iPhone, contrasting with the joy of actually walking under them. The hunk in the construction yard sweeping blossoms presents another amusing, yet realistic image.

I journeyed through the Tohoku Region in November 2010, only months before the tsunami. I do not think this selection would be complete without a tribute to all those who lost their lives and those who mourn them, and the poem in the youth section beginning ‘draw a heart in the mud…’ does this aptly and with sensitive restraint. We mourn, too, but the presence of the blossom predicates hope and slow healing.

I would like to commend the organisers of the Invitational, who presented the poems for judging anonymously and clearly formatted, accompanied by clear guidelines. A great deal of work goes on behind the scenes when convening and presenting the results of a haiku celebration of this size.

I hope the poems selected for ‘Best of …’ and Sakura Awards, or which achieved an Honourable Mention, will rekindle, or convey, the joy of ohanami for those who read them. More importantly, I hope everyone who themselves penned a poem, or silently composed one in their mind, will recall the cherry blossoms of April 2012, and smile.

Pearl Beach, NSW, Australia
President: Australian Haiku Society 2006-10

British Columbia


Sakura Awards (In Order of Merit)

missed the bus again.
cherry blossom petals
weightless in my hands.
                      Monica Wang
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

cherry blossom time
in Vancouver and Sendai.
will both celebrate?
                      Douglas Abel
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

soft-pedalling
along the avenue—
cherry blossoms
                      Mary Franklin
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

sent from
my iPhone—
cherry blossoms
                      Beth Skala
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

blossoms bursting
each tree is a choir
singing to the sun
                      Oz Hershfield
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

cherry blossoms
she forgets she is seven
and bored
                      Harvey Jenkins
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

Honourable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

blind to the petals’ slow dance
I pull her closer
she watches the wind—
                      Jordan Ali
                      Surrey, British Columbia

community garden
new furrows full of
cherry petals
                      Sidney Bending
                      Victoria, British Columbia

morning commute
my wipers on low . . .
cherry blossom rain
                      Elehna De Sousa
                      Salt Spring, British Columbia

cherry blossoms pelt
windshields and pedestrians
take that Vancouver!
                      Mary Duffy
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

fewer blooms
on the windowsill this year
my bonsai cherry
                      Garry Eaton
                      Port Moody, British Columbia

somewhat tamed
by blossom time
the cherry’s wildness
                      Garry Eaton
                      Port Moody, British Columbia

Zoobi Doobi
cherry blossoms fall
on dancing umbrellas
                      Esta Mun
                      Richmond, British Columbia

@YVR Status Update:
cherry blossoms spotted
#collectivesighofrelief
                      Jackie Poon
                      Richmond, British Columbia

falling blossom
the boy waits
with open palms.
                      Yeddanapudi Radhika
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

blossoms scatter in the storm . . .
his withered hands catch
a cherry petal wish
                      Yilin Wang
                      Gibsons, British Columbia

Canada


Sakura Awards (In Order of Merit)

blossoms folded in new snow the paws of a spring hare
                      Patrick M. Pilarski
                      Edmonton, Alberta

untied shoes
in the cherry petals
a homeless man
                      Huguette Ducharme
                      Saint Pie, Québec

weeping cherry—
a petal lands
in my bento box
                      Pamela Cooper
                      Montreal, Québec

supermoon—
gathering cherry petals
in her light
                      Marilyn Potter
                      Toronto, Ontario

blossoms
opening, opening
each face
                      Terra Martin
                      Toronto, Ontario

Honourable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

blowing at me
blowing past me
cherry blossoms
                      Peter Brady
                      Gatineau, Québec

cherry blossoms
at last the chance
to speak to her
                      Peter Brady
                      Gatineau, Québec

under the pink cloud
with my son
hanami time
                      Lyudmila Burdan
                      London, Ontario

falling—
on my wide-brimmed hat
cherry petals
                      Ellen Cooper
                      Montreal, Québec

where his name-tag was—
just a sprig
of cherry blossoms
                      Lin Geary
                      Paris, Ontario

cherry blossoms
against her pale cheek
April rain
                      Jean Jorgensen
                      Edmonton, Alberta

cherry blossoms fall . . .
ask first graders what they love
about yesterday
                      Chen-ou Liu
                      Ajax, Ontario

clutched
in the tiny fist
cherry blossoms
                      Terra Martin
                      Toronto, Ontario

new love blossoms . . .
within each cherry
a stone
                      Roland Packer
                      Hamilton, Ontario

United States


Sakura Awards (In Order of Merit)

construction site—
the hunk in the hard hat
sweeping blossoms
                      Carole MacRury
                      Point Roberts, Washington

cherry petals
gathered around the gravesite
reserved for me
                      Johnny Baranski
                      Vancouver, Washington

that fine line
between blossoms and fruit . . .
again crossing it
                      Angela Terry
                      Lake Forest Park, Washington

one more spin
around the old neighborhood
cherry blossom rain
                      Billie Dee
                      San Diego, California

mid-dream
the puppy’s tail stirring
cherry petals
                      Jennifer Met
                      Troy, Idaho

brief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent
                      Rebecca Drouilhet
                      Picayune, Mississippi

Honourable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

after the news
pink blossoms light
upon her scarf
                      Philip Allen
                      Hartland, Wisconsin

her memory
with every cherry petal
drifting away
                      Brett Brady
                      Pahoa, Hawaii

white cherry petals
filling the cracks of the stairs
to the cathedral.
                      Beate Conrad
                      Waterford, California

cherry blossoms . . .
the unfinished poem
in my pocket
                      Margaret Dornaus
                      Ozark, Arkansas

cherry blossoms . . .
the pregnancy test stick
turns pink
                      Terri French
                      Huntsville, Alabama

cherry grove—
the wordless touch
of a lover’s hand
                      Michelle L. Harvey
                      Hamilton, New York

remission
cherry blossoms
lighten the sky
                      Cara Holman
                      Portland, Oregon

cherry blossom petals
this quiet hour
before dawn
                      Cara Holman
                      Portland, Oregon

Earth Day . . .
the bees feasting on
cherry blossoms
                      Elena Naskova
                      Seattle, Washington

cherry blossoms
with my child
some of my childhood too
                      Stephen A. Peters
                      Bellingham, Washington

cherry blossoms
with my child
some of my childhood too
                      Stephen A. Peters
                      Bellingham, Washington

cherry blossoms
fall only once
first love
                      William Shehan
                      Chicago, Illinois

lengthening days . . .
a whisper of cherry blossoms
in the wind
                      Angela Terry
                      Lake Forest Park, Washington

a young boy
hidden in the cherry limbs . . .
blossom shower
                      Marilyn Appl Walker
                      Madison, Georgia

International


Sakura Awards (In Order of Merit)

a crow
always a crow—
weeping cherry
                      Margaret Beverland
                      Katikati, New Zealand

late spring,
this cherry blossom tree
one flower from darkness
                      Glen Fletcher
                      Maldon, Australia

first year of her death
bees pollinate the blossoms
on a broken branch
                      Ernest Wit
                      Warsaw, Poland

canal bank . . .
each cherry tree touching
its neighbor
                      Marion Clarke
                      Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

first hanami
coaxing the spring child
to smile
                      Chung Hoo Tiong
                      Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

tread gently
upon these cherry blossoms
last year’s lie beneath
                      Quendryth Young
                      Alstonville, Australia

hanami
a last year’s leaf
makes lace
                      Sheila Windsor
                      Worcester, England

Honourable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

even
on a dented beer can
cherry blossoms
                      Sanjuktaa Asopa
                      Belgaum, India

twirling
in the street vent’s heat
cherry blossom
                      Margaret Beverland
                      Katikati, New Zealand

after picnic
the o-bento filled
with cherry blossoms
                      Claudia Brefeld
                      Bochum, Germany

many temptations,
over a cherry blossom
a young bee buzzing
                      Adam Chmielnicki
                      Sosnowiec, Poland

cherry blossoms
after thousands of haiku
still beautiful
                      Frank Dietrich
                      Düsseldorf, Germany

cherry blossom
bonsai – wonder
how to prune it.
                      Cathy Keal
                      Bristol, United Kingdom

their branches almost touching . . .
glass-house cherry tree
and the one outside
                      Anatoly Kudryavitsky
                      Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

new ice cream shop
cherry petals enter
with every customer
                      Maria Kowal-Tomczak
                      Opole, Poland

cherry blossoms—
a basketful of
rice dumplings
                      Doris Plitzko
                      Stein, Germany

ocean of pink—
a blackbird’s yellow beak
among the blossoms
                      Gabriel Rosenstock
                      Co. Dublin, Ireland

playful wind—
a cherry petal
in the popcorn
                      Vania Stefanova
                      Sliven, Bulgaria

earthquake anniversary
kids are building a house
on a cherry tree.
                      Turgay Uceren
                      Mugla, Turkey

moving day
still in bud
weeping cherry
                      Yukiko Yamada
                      Osaka, Japan

Youth


Sakura Awards (In Order of Merit)

draw a heart in the mud
you fill it with tears . . .
top it with a blossom
                      Salisa Jatuweerapong, age 12
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

under a tree
struggling with my homework—
a blossom falls on me
                      Jerry Xu, age 9
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

pink sailboats
lost in the rapids…
young hands craft more.
                      Emma Upsdell-Reddekopp, age 12
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

in the lunchbox
are some rice, pork, a plum,
and a cherry blossom
                      Courtney Cheung, age 11
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

ch er ry bl os so ms
sc at ter
on the picnic
                      Travis Kung, age 10
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

Honourable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

cherry blossoms
all in a nice, neat row
getting blown apart
                      Rohin Ahluwalia, age 10
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

recess, and tag
running with petals on my face
precious pearls of pink
                      Erin Chong, age 10
                      >Vancouver, British Columbia

blossoms are creamy.
it feels much like a wedding.
do you think it does?
                      Kai Hamilton, age 7
                      New Westminster, British Columbia

the show is> about to start—
cherry blossoms wither . . .
just like my voice
                      Adin Kwok, age 13
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

up high in a tree
petals flying all around.
let me watch them fall.
                      Alexa Panusa, age 7
                      New Westminster, British Columbia

eating a sandwich
I look up to see
cherry blossoms
                      Mana Salehiparast, age 10
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

even a cherry blossom
can puncture—
the darkest force.
                      Andrew Sze, age 12
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

ohanami
kin gather
cherished memories
                      Jennifer Wu, age 10
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

one year ago
one country away I stood waiting—
cherry blossoms
                      Sherry Zhou, age 14
                      Palo Alto, California

clicking on the sidewalk—
pick up mud with pink petals.
her stilettos
                      Grace Zhu, age 11
                      Vancouver, British Columbia