2014 Haiku Invitational Winners presented by


Top Winners


subway platform
she brushes cherry petals
from her black umbrella
                      Garry Eaton
                      Port Moody, British Columbia

British Columbia

rusting baby buggy
fills with pink
cherry blossom petals
                      Cheryl Ashley
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia


Wild Horse Shakes its Mane
the Tai Chi group moves
through cherry petals
                      Harvey Jenkins
                      Winnipeg, Manitoba

United States

without thinking . . .
she brushes cherry blossoms
from a stranger’s sleeve
                      Julie Warther
                      Dover, Ohio


bridge crossing . . .
the full moon sprinkled with
cherry blossoms
                      Helen Davison
                      Lismore, Australia


cherry blossoms
her fairytale
                      Andreea Cirligeanu, age 12
                      Botosani, Romania

The haiku that resonate with me the most are very often those for which I cannot explain the reason. They touch me on a level that lies deeper than the more obvious, cerebral level. They give me the shivers, even if I am hard pressed to tell you why. For the 2014 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, most of my selections seem to fit this category, and I invite you to discover if some of them (it is a very personal reaction) might give you the shivers too.

The VCBF Haiku Invitational received 1,099 entries this year, and it was a challenge for me to make selections. I read each entry many times on four different days to try to make the best selection possible. I encourage everyone who participated to do so again next year. Until then, I invite you to enjoy this year’s selections. Congratulations to each of the winners.

Click here to see commentary on the winning poems.

Marco Fraticelli
Pointe-Claire, Quebec

All poems are listed in alphabetical order in each category.

Sakura Awards

first tea with her—
cherry blossoms cloud
the skylight
                      Alegria Imperial
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

letter from home—
pressed cherry blossoms
between the pages
                      Jacquie Pearce
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

to the property line
cherry blossoms
                      David Randen
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

Honourable Mentions

Beneath the snow-capped mountains
cherry blossoms
welcome home
                      Rita Ager
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

waiting for the bus
beneath a cherry tree
we watch the petals fall
                      Christine Chiu
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

On a crowded bus,
people look at sakura
through the shared windows
                      Emily Chong
                      Richmond, British Columbia

Cherry blossom petals
The wind carries them away
Taking me with them
                      Sean Condon
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

under white blossoms
small talk with a neighbour
foreign accent in our words
                      Rachel Enomoto
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

Headlights sneak up the darkened driveway
The meeting ran late
Cherry petals in his hair
                      Morna Gregory
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

train station
playing for change
and cherry blossoms
                      Ann Harreby
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

The clock ticks away
Petals fall freely outside
Nimble fingers type
                      Malina Malla
                      Abbotsford, British Columbia

trapped in the classroom
we crane to the window—
petal drifts free our hearts
                      Debbie Matheson
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

May Day festival—
blossoms flutter past the eyes
of our newborn son
                      Jennifer Pownall
                      Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

before cancer took him
they brushed petals from their shoes
after each evening stroll
                      Jennifer Pownall
                      Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

bare trees
the rain wets
blossoms on the car
                      Yeddanapudi Radhika
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

In the cold
I breathe again
The blossom rain
                      Apis Teicher
                      Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

Two years after cancer
The cherry blossoms
Bloom anew
                      Apis Teicher
                      Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

Each face on the bus
turns towards the windows
A row of cherry trees
                      Monica Wang
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

British Columbia
Sakura Awards

Cherry blossoms
Rain-soaked I wait
                      Gerald Cawdell
                      Victoria, British Columbia

cherry blossoms fall
our first kiss
                      Elaine Harvey
                      Victoria, British Columbia

cherry blossoms
by a blue wall—
pedestrians pause
                      Beth Skala
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

cherry blossoms—
grandmother is placed
by the window
                      Beth Skala
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

Honourable Mentions

Caught up in tangles,
petals in her dark hair share
their blush with her cheek.
                      Susan Alexander
                      Bowen Island, British Columbia

charity race
competing against
cherry petals
                      Sidney Bending
                      Victoria, British Columbia

cherry blossom martinis—
so many lies
to light up the room
                      Terry Ann Carter
                      Victoria, British Columbia

spaces between
his cherry-blossom breath—
shakuhachi player
                      Terry Ann Carter
                      Victoria, British Columbia

Won’t you come visit
To view my cherry blossoms
In my sake jar?
                      Gerald Cawdell
                      Victoria, British Columbia

a cherry petal
caught in her hair—
witty aside
                      Dan Curtis
                      Victoria, British Columbia

moving in . . .
a garland of cherry blossoms
from the child next door
                      elehna de sousa
                      Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

thirty years together
today, the tall plum tree
is thick with blossoms
                      Philip Gordon
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

Sakura Awards

among the pink blossoms
a wrinkled cherry
                      Ann Goldring
                      Leaskdale, Ontario

petal shower
the black dog
                      Ann Goldring
                      Leaskdale, Ontario

ten-year reunion
some thinner and some wider
school’s cherry trees
                      Harvey Jenkins
                      Winnipeg, Manitoba

I sidestep fallen
                      Terra Martin
                      Toronto, Ontario

whispering girls
by cherry blossoms
                      Viktors Vairogs
                      Saint-Pie, Québec

Honourable Mentions

Pacific promise
cherry blossoms on the wind—
I will change
                      Lori Austen
                      Kingston, Ontario

prairie traveller
a blizzard of cherry blossoms
at the airport door
                      Sharron Bertchilde
                      Winnipeg, Manitoba

cherry-blossom bouquet
in the guest room
away from the cats
                      Huguette Ducharme
                      Saint-Pie, Québec

swept in an updraft
scattered cherry blossoms
on her bridal veil
                      Jeanne Jorgensen
                      Edmonton, Alberta

his flowery advances
amid cherry trees—
                      Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

spring closing date—
because of the cherry tree
we buy the house
                      Marianne Paul
                      Kitchener, Ontario

cherry petals—
the ornery mechanic
kissing my cheek
                      Marilyn Potter
                      Toronto, Ontario

United States
Sakura Awards

perfectly still—
a baby watching
pink blossoms sway
                      Barbara Kaufmann
                      Massapequa Park, New York

first communion
cherry petals
in everyone’s hair
                      Scott Mason
                      Chappaqua, New York

spring rain
cherry blossoms
in the watercolor
                      Carolyne Rohrig
                      Fremont, California

white blossoms
one crayon missing
from the box
                      Michelle Schaefer
                      Bothell, Washington

Honourable Mentions

cherry blossoms peak—
we take turns
exchanging cameras
                      Meik Blãttenberger
                      Hanover, Pennsylvania

with cherry blossoms . . .
whispering strangers approach
the foot of my bed
                      Brett Brady
                      Pahoa, Hawaii

blind date—
falling blossoms frame
our selfie
                      Mark E. Brager
                      Columbia, Maryland

offering me
a baby cherry tree
my pregnant neighbor
                      Susan Burch
                      Hagerstown, Maryland

Fukushima friends . . .
asking if the oldest
cherry tree yet lives
                      Julie Cain
                      Sturgis, Mississippi

old friends
cherry blossoms
                      Julie Cain
                      Sturgis, Mississippi

cherry blossoms
on the verge
of my undoing
                      Michele L. Harvey
                      Hamilton, New York

no snow
but children catch petals
on their tongues
                      J. Todd Hawkins
                      Crowley, Texas

past one cherry tree
past another, the butterfly
leaves Home Depot
                      Tzetzka Ilieva
                      Marietta, Georgia

fading blossom—
forgetting her grandchildren
one by one
                      Barbara Kaufmann
                      Massapequa Park, New York

blossom time—
we leave the petals
where they fall
                      Carole MacRury
                      Point Roberts, Washington

first blossoms
past the finish line—
Boston Marathon
                      Marion Alice Poirier
                      Boston, Massachusetts

cherry blossoms—
meeting the neighbor
who saw me naked
                      Chad Lee Robinson
                      Pierre, South Dakota

cherry-blossom rain
ready or not
I am a father
                      John Stevenson
                      Nassau, New York

grandma’s ninetieth
cherry petals drifting through
the birthday song
                      Marilyn Appl Walker
                      Madison, Georgia

Sakura Awards

first date
white blossoms all over
her black hair
                      Vessislava Savova
                      Sofia, Bulgaria

Fukushima commemoration
the cherry blossom petals
between the cobblestones
                      Heike Stehr
                      Moers, Germany

temple blossoms
the distance between
your god and mine
                      David Terelinck
                      Pyrmont, Australia

Cherry blossoms—
the baby in my arms
stops thumb-sucking.
                      Frans Terryn
                      Kortrijk, Belgium

spring grasses . . .
so many pathways end
in cherry blossoms
                      Sasa Vazic
                      Zemun, Serbia

Honourable Mentions

cherry in bloom
old painter mixes colours
again and again
                      Magdalena Banaszkiewicz
                      Krosno Odrzańskie, Poland

crowded bus station
at the side of my boot
a cherry petal
                      Adrian Bouter
                      Gouda, Netherlands

blossom shower . . .
carefully I clear
only his name
                      Claudia Brefeld
                      Bochum, Germany

the first Holy Communion
cherry blossoms
in her hair
                      Daniela Liăcrămioara Capot
                      Gala, Romania

she loves me
she loves me not . . .
the blossoms fall
                      John Carroll
                      Sydney, Australia

cherry blossom
running fingertips
over names
                      Steven Clarkson
                      Taupo, New Zealand

still no call
just blossoms
                      Bernadette Duncan
                      Rottweil, Germany

after crocusses
—the song of the neighbour
and cherry blossoms
                      Rob Flipse
                      Amsterdam, Netherlands

fire escape—
cherry blossom petals
hang on to my soles
                      Damien Gabriels
                      Nord, France

Vernal equinox—
heavy snow upon the
blooming cherry trees
                      Zornitza Harizanova
                      Sofia, Bulgaria

the crows cawing
in the cherry’s crown
neighbors arriving
                      Midhat Hrmäœiät – Midho
                      Sanski Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina

over the yard
intertwined fragrances of
the grill and cherry
                      Branka Vojinovi Jegdi
                      Podgorica, Montenegro

morning dew
following me back inside
the cat and cherry petals
                      Mark Miller
                      Shoalhaven Heads, Australia

small railway station—
out of the blue
cherry petals
                      Dorota Pyra

evening star
a bouquet of cherry blossom
on my front porch
                      Cynthia Rowe
                      Sydney, Australia

walking meditation . . .
my mother stops
at the cherry blossoms
                      Samantha Sirimanne Hyde
                      Sydney, Australia

even cherry’s shade
makes our yards
common property
                      Bozidar Skobic
                      Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina

swallow in flight
behind the cherry
last year’s nest
                      Dimitrij Skrk
                      Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia

Picking cherries.
A chance touch of hands
in a full basket.
                      Tatjana Stefanovi
                      Belgrade, Serbia

cherry blossoms—
my neighbour’s wheelchair
so light
                      Eduard Tara
                      Lasi, Romania

she wouldn’t say
why she called me
cherry blossom
                      Ernest Wit
                      Warsaw, Poland

cherry blossoms falling
with them
                      Quendryth Young
                      Alstonville, Australia
green buds crawling across
dry cherry branch
                      Verica Zivkovic
                      Starčevo, Serbia

Sakura Awards

Not a word exchanged
Only her cherry blossoms
Fall into my yard
                      Mark Elliott, age 18
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

delicate blossoms
fall softly off the branches
brushing children’s skin
                      Dania Grant, age 10
                      Surrey, British Columbia

Crow caws over sleeping city
soars onto dark branch
lush blossoms fall.
                      Taylor Scott, age 11
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

a gentle breeze—
I tuck a cherry blossom
into my hair
                      Sarah Welch, age 8
                      Sammamish, Washington

cherry blossoms—
my father’s camera
clicks again
                      Sarah Welch, age 8
                      Sammamish, Washington

Honourable Mentions

cupped hands
waiting for money
blossoms instead
                      Stephanie Berringer, age 11
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

Each one beautiful
Each cherry blossom unique
But coming from the same tree
                      Isabella Cho, age 13
                      Seoul, Korea

Hopeless with my story
my mind is blank
a blossom falls on it
                      Ali Chong, age 11
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

piles of pink blossoms
saturate your garden
we rake up the mess
                      Nicole Johnstone, age 17
                      Coquitlam, British Columbia

Sakura blooming
City noise left far away
Students write haiku
                      Max Kral, age 12
                      Seoul, South Korea

The cherry blossoms
are so pretty. Wind makes the
blossoms prettier.
                      Ethan Lauritzen, age 9
                      New Westminster, British Columbia

walking with my dog
in the moonlit evening
cherry blossoms blow
                      Jeslyn Ma, age 10
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

cherry blossoms . . .
the day she came into
our life
                      Tanvi Nishchal, age 17
                      New Delhi, India

clouded sky
the cherry blossoms
soothing my sorrow
                      Pocris Sabin, age 12
                      Botosani, Romania

playing tag at school
crash into the tree: you’re it
blossoms fall: I’m it
                      Philip Shi, age 12
                      Surrey, British Columbia

Two-thousand fourteen
We hashtag cherry blossoms
Global unity
                      Christine Suh, age 12
                      Seoul, South Korea

Socially wimpy,
Botanical remedy,
Cherry blossom trees.
                      Johnziel Gonzaga Ubas, age 16
                      La Carlota City, Philippines

in the open grave
he sleeps, silent as the wind
as the blossoms fall
                      Richard Wong, age 12
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

A boy
opens a book
filled with love and petals.
                      Jerry Xu, age 11
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

reaching to catch
the same stray blossom—
first handshake
                      Sherry Zhou, age 16
                      Palo Alto, California

More About the Judge

Marco Fraticelli was born in Montreal in 1945 and he has been writing haiku for almost 40 years. For most of that time he has served on the executive of Haiku Canada. Among his books of haiku are Night Coach and Voyeur (Guernica Editions) and Drifting (Catkin Press).