fishing the shallows
A beautiful picture.
just darker than the sky
Reminds me of Basho's ducks sounding faintly white. A subtle observation conveying the mood at dusk.
Though Sylvia Plath is writing of the blue-black time just before sunrise, I recall her powerful opening of 'Ariel: Stasis in darkness'. Then the substanceless blue 'Pour of tor and distances'. In this haiku, too, a lovely just-caught blue-black.
I recently viewed such a scene of an open field . It was fascinating to see so many butterflies rise so quickly and so high into the sky.
The image of butterflies being "unkempt" is perfection!
from imperfect people
The play of imperfect/perfect is interesting here, and compelling, if we don't let ourselves get too over-involved in the intellectual game behind it.
Planting roses —
It makes me wonder if the farmer's father and possibly grandfather sang the same old love song. A nice story in few words.
Somehow, I can understand that farmer's song . . . the poem puts me right under his skin.
How nice to be able to sing while working.
So many layers to this one: the farmer is young, the song old, the activity of planting roses older yet, and the emotion of love as old as humanity. I wish the first letter of the first word were lower case: it would make discerning whether this is a haiku or senryu harder.
migrating birds —
Israel López Balan
This is a welcome sight. Those traffic lights can be so trying.
A lovely tribute to much more than falling leaves. Like Shakespeare who honored well the passing of time in our lives.
Impossible not to smell both the leaves and the dog in your mind's nose.
getting to know him —
Great comparison and tree choice. My oak tree doesn’t give up its leaves very readily. This might turn out to be a long courtship.
My favorite! I like the sense of revelation as nature does ever so imperceptively in a haiku moment. I'm not content with my vote but poor as I am with a only a loonie [coin]for a treasure, I must get on.
Another good nature haiku.
high up in a tree
Reminiscent of Basho. Keen observation, captured simply.
An exquisite image.
Kurt R. Westley
Good use of contemporary elements, the figure of the meter reader; this could not have been written in medieval Japan.
Somebody has keen hearing.
The auditory image lasts longer than the length of a haiku.
A gust of wind
Reminds me of the saying: We are what we eat.
I love the image-within-an-image with the same theme in this poem. It appears to be autumn; the kernel is left behind after the harvest. It is the dying time of the year. That crows live and eat in corn fields intensifies the theme. But the kernel of corn also suggests the potential rebirth in the spring. I wish the first letter of the first word were lower case and that there were no period: this poem risks seeming too much like a sentence even without those two issues.
A great surprise. I love that this haiku makes me feel both young and so very old.
the hawk also waiting
August moon —
Michael Dylan Welch
The moon seems responsible for so many things but heat is a new one for me.
I always like it when there's more than one meaning.
Elinor Pihl Huggett
stifling heat —
autumn morning —
Israel López Balan
first day back
Yep, another senryu in the mix, as in the Free format group. Just so, it's memorable and makes its observation in a classic manner.
This also suggests the lovely color and softness of a pear.
first sun —
Israel López Balan
Tough to put into words why this one sticks with me, but "stick" it does; its meaning and resonance, for me, are somewhere deep in the psyche, in the part of the mind and consciousness that processes, and holds on to, the symbolic.
A wonderful picture.
leaning papyrus —
Refreshing to find a haiku only about nature.
planting rice —
Earl R. Keener
I absolutely can feel this.
cherry blossom —
Michele L. Harvey
I love the cross-over references to shadowand chuck, as well as the implied contrast of one exiting a hole and others filling holes. Lovely.
wind takes the seeds
I wonder how long this took?
General Comments for the Kigo Section:
Wonderful series this past year.
It was a great pleasure to read these poems anew.
I had an interesting struggle when choosing how many points I'd assign each poem. I gave 2 points each to the poems that were complex, rather than being snapshots, even when the complex ones had technical problems and the snapshot poems were technically perfect. While I think it's appropriate to value the message over technical matters, I am not entirely comfortable giving fewer points to poems that are just snapshots. Buson was a master of painterly poems, and is one of my top two of the fab four Japanese poets. I wish I had a couple extra points for the latter two, or that I could eliminate one of them. Thank you for this pleasant challenge.
This was hard-- there were so many great haiku to choose from!
I remember all of these haiku. It was so hard to narrow the list to just six!
Great to review these annual prizewinners again -- always an extra pleasure.
My sincere congratulations to the winners!! These three haiku: bare foot/ stirring/ the whole Milky Way, August moon . . ./from imperfect people/perfect shadows, andfishing/a rainbow/out of the blue, are among my favorites and I’m glad see that they are in the top.
Sorry, I don't have time to make any specific comments, but these are all wonderful poems! Although I find it difficult to compare the serious with the humorous, it's lovely to read the variety of approaches in dealing with the selected subjects.
What struck me about the poems is that more and more nature is human nature. The Kigo poems seem to be more inclined to incorporate human nature into nature than the Free Verse poem.
window moon —
the quiet sound between
tick and tock
You sent me back to T.S. Eliot's The Four Quartets. Time past, time present. Lovely evocation.
I can still hear the tick and tock. Beautiful poem!
along the shore
waits its turn
A reminder that everything has its order.
homeless shelter –
her wrinkled brochure
Catherine J.S. Lee
So sad and yet full of hope. Some dreams never die.
in the garden
A powerful, simple memorial, expressed beautifully -- the third line "birdsong" is brilliant here.
Gardens and birdsong.....who needs more, except memory.
night sky —
I can still see the eye, the thumb and the moon. Beautiful poem!
still leaving the porch
Always living in the moment of return. Beautiful suspension in this haiku.
A great example of letting the reader participate in the haiku by filling in the blanks.
I can still hear the church bell. Beautiful poem!
Ann K. Schwader
Captures perfectly the transition between Halloween and winter.
still no word . . .
Exquisitely simple slice-of-life; this is real haiku.
This so economically and so completely evokes a ritual from my youth. For years, the last thing my father did before going to bed, when visiting the cottage in winter, was to stir the embers and fill the stove with wood. You can feel the warmth radiating from this poem.
Simple and beautiful. I think a colon might work better than a comma, here.
the parking ticket machine
Is it haiku? There ARE examples of this kind of poem from the Japanese masters; its subject and style puts it on the outer margins of the haiku genre. That being said, it is a fine example of the pithy truths of that end of the genre, surprises us with its wisdom in a memorable way.
one silk thread . . .
To my mind, the outstanding haiku of this annual collection. All round wonderful!
Persistence. Renewal. Hope. Lovely.
quiet breakfast —
A moment when parents are adjusting to their child having grown up and moved on.
rain . . .
whistling across fields
A mother talks to her son? Precious capture.
thick fog —
So vivid, yet so speculative. Is she ill (how badly)? Is she dieting? Does the fog imply the pills are for a mental disorder - or, perhaps, recreational use that has gotten out of hand? So many questions.
moving day —
Israel López Balan
I know this experience deep in my heart. I have saved my mother's fur jacket, and every so often, I go to a special closet and bury my nose deep in her smell.
Wonderful analogy - both lake and coffee, being warmer than their morning surroundings, emitting vapors. In contrast, one images chills, while the other warms.
I find this enormously comforting.
change of address . . .
moving day -
One of those images/juxta-positionings that conveys whole stories with simple grace and natural imagery.
Three changes in three lines in one moment.
summer picnic —
Normally I don't go for anthropomorphism, even in senryu. But I had to break my rule on this one.
I love this image--even though I am not fond of ants.
Ann K. Schwader
I enjoyed the humor and humanity of this; strictly speaking, this is senryu, but the poem still scores high for me.
ah! the midnight moon
Anne Zooey Lind
Take the time to really visualize this one from the words given -- a classically beautiful image.
morning bake shop
Catherine J.S. Lee
night time harmony
evening walk —
winter romance —
General Comments for the Free Format Section:
It's all worth repeating....Wonderful series this past year!
A wonderful chance to revisit these and to see them as standalone poems. Thanks to all that participated throughout the year. You have been inspiring!
This was the first time I've ever had more points than I needed. I gave one point each to two poems I wasn't super-enthusiastic about because I didn't want to give any of the others more points than I already had.
I was surprised at just how little nature figures in these poems. I was also surprise by just how little mystery is incorporated in the writing. So many of these almost feel like Senryu to me. Wonderful depictions of the human condition. Yet, I miss the mind-opening quality of a good haiku.
Another hard call! What wonderful haiku were written this past year. I can't wait to see what comes next!
This was a very unforgettable year filled with many wonderful haiku. Very inspirational and very observant. I hope to continue to learn as I compete with these wonderful poets!
8th Annual Poet's Choice Kukai 2010
Congratulations to Michael McClintok, winner of the Kigo category and Angéle Lux, winner of the Free Format category.
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