2016 Haiku Invitational Winners presented by Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.

Vancouver

double cherry blossoms
I breathe in
the entire sky
                      Rachel Enomoto
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

British Columbia

first driver’s licence—
showing friends
the cherry blossoms
                      Beth Skala
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

Canada

bowl of cherry pits
my grandson tries to guess
my age
                      Marianne Paul
                      Kitchener, Ontario

United States

soft pedaling
our differences
cherry blossoms
                      dl mattila
                      Oakton, Virginia

International

can’t stop grinning
at pink cherry blossoms
first grandchild
                      Jan Dobb
                      Canberra, Australia

Youth

Beneath the blossoms
hands swinging
letting go
                     Victoria Vieira, age 17
                     Coquitlam, British Columbia

Click here for commentary on winning poems.

All poems are listed in alphabetical order in each category.

Vancouver
Sakura Awards

voices
fading in and out
cherry blossoms
                     Ann Harreby
                     Coquitlam, British Columbia

cherry petal
in an updraft—
Hanyu’s triple axel
                     Vicki McCullough
                     Vancouver, British Columbia

sunlit blossoms
he removes his daughter’s
training wheels
                     Jacqueline Pearce
                     Burnaby, British Columbia

late blooming cherry
we measure time
by the size of her belly
                     Carl Seguiban
                      Burnaby, British Columbia

Just my fingertips
on her rounded belly
cherry petals fluttering
                     Monica Wang
                     Burnaby, British Columbia

Vancouver
Honourable Mentions

Cherry blossom petals
Girlhood secrets
Whispered breathlessly
                     Karen Drexel
                     Richmond, British Columbia

cherry petals
dancing
the leaf blower’s tune
                      Garry Eaton
                      Port Moody, British Columbia

into the air
handfuls of pink petals . . .
my old husband!
                     Diana Kason
                     Vancouver, British Columbia

first blossom day
the sweet cherry
loud with warblers
                      Vicki McCullough
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

morning commute
cherry petals pass me
in the carpool lane
                     Jacqueline Pearce
Burnaby, British Columbia

home from the hospital
the cracks in the sidewalk
filled with cherry blossoms
                     Liz Ann Winkler
                     White Rock, British Columbia

British Columbia
Sakura Awards

early morning stroll . . .
puddle gazing
into cherry blossoms
                     Elehna De Sousa
                     Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

without you
the cherry blossoms a memory
of cherry blossoms
                     Tom Drescher
                     Rossland, British Columbia

cherry petals
a bit of cheer
for the busker’s cup
                     Dan Curtis
                     Victoria, British Columbia

note by note
cherry
blossoms
                     Tom Drescher
                     Rossland, British Columbia

morning dew
a garden snail sports
a blossom
                     Nika
                     Victoria, British Columbia

British Columbia
Honourable Mentions

In the absolute silence
of morning
cherry blossom petals drift
                     Cheryl Ashley
                     Nanaimo, British Columbia

an improv
of falling petals
cherry blossom jazz
                     Dan Curtis
                     Victoria, British Columbia

paper boat parade . . .
a cargo of cherry petals
floating downstream
                     Elehna De Sousa
                     Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

champagne on ice
waiting, waiting
cherry blossoms
                     George Dueck
Sechelt, British Columbia

NO RICE NO CONFETTI . . .
janitor sweeps up
cherry blossoms
                     Beth Skala
                     Nanaimo, British Columbia

her birthday
my graduation
our cherry tree blooms
                      Gregory Skala
                      Nanaimo, British Columbia

Canada
Sakura Awards

first baseball game
our grandson bats
at a cherry petal
                     Marilyn Potter
                     Toronto, Ontario

planting the garden . . .
the hammock fills
with cherry petals
                     Ellen Cooper
                     Montreal, Quebec

pink blossoms
in her white hair . . .
Mother’s birthday
                     Joanne Morcom
                     Calgary, Alberta

“cherry blossom”
in my borrowed tongue
lingering scent
                     Chen-ou Liu
                     Ajax, Ontario

Canada
Honourable Mentions

handmade paper—
a few cherry petals
into the mix
                     Pamela Cooper
                     Montreal, Quebec

no need
for my straw hat—
blossoming cherry
                      Pamela Cooper
                      Montreal, Quebec

a box of crayons
in shaded sunlight
cherry blossoms
                     Chen-ou Liu
Ajax, Ontario

one star
becomes a galaxy
cherry blossoms
                      Katherine Munro
                      Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

tail up!
petal
on the cat’s back
                     Christine Nelson
                     Edmonton, Alberta

wedding toast
petal
stuck to my nose
                     Christine Nelson
                     Edmonton, Alberta

we see
small birds in the nest
first cherry blossoms
                      Isabelle Neveu
                      Varennes, Quebec

baby boomers
every dried cherry was once
a blossom
                     Marianne Paul
                     Kitchener, Ontario

sakura
in the garden centre
we choose her name
                     Debbie Strange
                     Winnipeg, Manitoba

International
Sakura Awards

the struggle
to find meaning
last cherry blossom
                     Mel Goldberg
                     Ajijic, Mexico

for the first time
I don’t feel overweight
cherry blossoms
                     Engin Gülez
                     Ankara, Turkey

workday’s end
the shifting pink
of petals
                     Polona Oblak
                     Ljubljana, Slovenia

cherry festival
a toddler eats
petal after petal

                     Iliyana Stoyanova
                     St Albans, United Kingdom

International
Honourable Mentions

petals fall . . .
all her birthdays
come at once
                     Helen Buckingham
Wells, England

this side
for the sakuras . . .
commuting
                     Mary Gunn
Dublin, Ireland

fallen petals—
the bride tip toes
across the aisle
                     Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

loneliness—
the scent of cherry blossoms
fills the silence
                     Marek Kozubek
Bangkok, Thailand

out of the dust
of a stone quarry
cherry blossoms
                     Gerard Krebs
Helsinki, Finland

one by one filling
with sunlight,
wet cherry blossoms
                     Anatoly Kudryavitsky
Dublin, Ireland

fifty years on—
a spray of cherry blossom
at her bedside
                      Natalia Kuznetsova
                      Moscow, Russia

en plein air
she adds cherry blossom pink
to her palette
                     Vanessa Proctor
Sydney, Australia

pink petals
on the service dog’s nose . . .
city park
                     Maria Steyn
Johannesburg, South Africa

picnicking
under the cherry blossom
nonagenarian
                     Andre Surridge
Hamilton, New Zealand

sakura festival
even the wind
wears pink
                     Maria Tomczak
                     Opole, Poland

cherry blossoms
appear and disappear:
white headlights
                     Tanvi Velankar
                     Sydney, Australia

USA
Sakura Awards

cherry blossoms
I lift the cover
off the birdcage
                     Carole MacRury
                     Point Roberts, Washington

rightsizing
the universe
drifting cherry blossoms
                     Gary Hotham
                     Scaggsville, Maryland

cherry blossoms
dreams beneath
the baby’s eyelids
                     Agnes Eva Savich
                     Austin, Texas

cherry blossoms—
rows of ruffles
on her princess dress
                     Carol Judkins
                     Carlsbad, California

USA
Honourable Mentions

black coffee—
a sparrow sipping
cherry nectar
                     Elaine Andre
Tacoma, Washington

scant pulse . . .
the pink petal drift
of his birth
                     Jan Benson
                     Fort Worth, Texas

cherry blossoms
my pregnant daughter tracing
the baby’s head
                     Marjorie Buettner
Chisago City, Minnesota

spring picnic
braiding cherry blossoms
into our hair
                     Susan Burch
                     Hagerstown, Maryland

cherry blossoms . . .
a soft breeze carries
grandma’s song
                     Sandip Chauhan
                     Great Falls, Virginia

over my shoes
under my shoes
cherry petals
                     Vijay Joshi
Monroe, New Jersey

leaning on me
Mom talks about Dad
first blossoms
                     Gregory Longenecker
                     Pasadena, California

cherry blossom blizzard
petals reshape
my shadow
                     Joyce Lorenson
Greene, Rhode Island

tentative steps
cherry blossoms fill
the empty wheelchair
                     Ann Magyar
                     Brighton, Massachusetts

hopscotch path
cherry blossoms
fill a void
                     Susan Mallernee
Dover, Ohio

al fresco
in the curve of her spoon
a cherry blossom
                     Susan Mallernee
Dover, Ohio

transitioning . . .
she whispers her new name
to the cherry petals
                     Tanya McDonald
Woodinville, Washington

the cadence
of the professor’s voice
cherry blossoms
                     Agnes Eva Savich
Austin, Texas

the cement handprint
that I’ve outgrown
yesterday’s cherry blossoms
                     Michelle Schaefer
                     Bothell, Washington

retirement party
longer day’s light
through new petals
                     Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff
Dubuque, Iowa

Youth
Sakura Awards

blowing through the temple
blossoms dance to the music
of silence
                     Pieta Bayley, age 10
                     Christchurch, New Zealand

pink blossoms flutter to the ground
cancer has come and gone
freedom
                      Nathan Cheng, age 10
                      Vancouver, British Columbia

When everything
seems unlucky
a cherry blossom lands in my hand
                     Abbey Hollingsworth, age 10
                     Vancouver, British Columbia

her seventieth birthday
cherry leaves brighter
than before
                     Barbara Strang, age 10
                     Christchurch, New Zealand

bird song . . .
cherry petals
dam the stream
                     Sarah Sakura Welch, age 10
                     Sammamish, Washington

Petals fall
like confetti
as we win a championship
                     Chloe Yip, age 13
                     Vancouver, British Columbia

Youth
Honourable Mentions

Blossoms Drift away
Blanketing the riverside
Snow in mountains
                     Paige-Rose Barrington, age 13
Christchurch, New Zealand

On the swing
Away from the world
Silky pink petals stuck in her hair
                     Stephanie Berringer, age 12
Vancouver, British Columbia

soft spring winds
leave a picture of blossoms
on the temple floor
                     Paige Bowman, age 12
Christchurch, New Zealand

childhood home—
on the cradle in the yard
cherry petals
                     Nadin Ghileschi, age 14
                     Botosani, Romania

all alone
a wisp of wind
a single cherry blossom
                     Sophia Hambleton, age 11
Vancouver, British Columbia

Me
in the tree
reading with blossoms
                     Zakariya Hasan, age 10
Vancouver, British Columbia

Pink rain
Fluttered down
Onto cupped hands
                     Jade Holness, age 10
Vancouver, British Columbia

My mind
ancient monsters
calmed by newborn blossoms
                     Bubble Jatuweerapong, age 12
Vancouver, British Columbia

Cherry blossoms falling
Like shooting stars
Time to make a wish
                     Kevin Lim, age 13
Vancouver, British Columbia

Sakura petals
Fall like snowflakes
Waltzing on my French horn case
                     Holly Liu, age 17
Vancouver, British Columbia

first light
in the spider’s web
cherry blossom
                     Ghileschi Nadin-Mihaela, age 14
                     Botosani, Romania

the long road ahead
blossoms falling around me
so little time
                     Sophie Oldham, age 10
Vancouver, British Columbia

At the river
the cherry blossom lantern
helps me find home.
                     William Sherborne, age 8
                     Christchurch, New Zealand

writer’s block—
cherry petals
tapping at the window
                     Sarah Sakura Welch, age 10
                     Sammamish, Washington

day break
her face lights up
a cherry blossom opens
                     Amy Wells, age 15
                     Dunsandel, New Zealand

One girl alone
Looks up to see
Friends dressed in pink
                     Jordan Wyder, age 10
                     Vancouver, British Columbia

Some Suggestions for Writing Haiku They may look simple, but writing outstanding haiku requires much dedication and craft.  Here are a few pointers that may help.

  • Be clear. The best haiku present clear images that everyone can understand. Of course, deeper meanings may take many readings to fathom, but you’ll make a great start by focusing on sensory images – things you can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste.
  • Be suggestive. A haiku should hint at some sort of emotion or point of view rather than naming or analyzing it. Usually a haiku will have two parts, and deeper meanings or emotions often arise out of the unstated relationship between the two parts.
  • Read widely. Reading published haiku will help you learn new techniques, spot what works and what doesn’t, and deepen your understanding of the genre. As a start, the VCBF website presents all the top haiku from previous years, and we have provided additional information and links for you on our About Haikuand Teaching Haiku
  • Seek feedback. Sharing your poems with friends and family or other poets can help you spot weak lines and unclear writing that you may not see yourself.  Both Haiku Canada and the Haiku Society of America have regional chapters through which you can meet or correspond with experienced poets in your area, many of whom are happy to help others improve their work. For the Haiku Canada regional coordinator for British Columbia & the Territories, contact Vicki McCullough at pacifi-kana@haikucanada.org. In the Lower Mainland, the Vancouver Haiku Group (VHG) meets most third Sundays of the month at the Britannia Community Services Centre. For more information, please contact VHG facilitator Angela J. Naccarato at angelan@telus.net.
  • No poet has ever written a top-notch haiku without writing dozens of forgettable ones first. Keep a notebook where you can jot down haiku as the inspiration hits and then review them at your leisure.
  • Most of all: have fun!

For more information, please visit our About Haiku and Teaching Haiku pages. Click here for additional notes on capitalization and punctuation.

Programs subject to change.