2013 Haiku Invitational Winners presented by


Top Winners

British Columbia

a crow’s nest—
the wind drops
white blossoms
                      Julie Emerson
                      Vancouver, British Columbia


waiting for the blossoms
the birds are still
up the magician’s sleeve
                      Marco Fraticelli
                      Pointe-Claire, Quebec

United States

lighting a path
for the cherry blooms
first grade teacher
                     Robert Michael Drouilhet
                     Picayune, Mississippi


this side of winter
tuning the mandolin
to mountain cherry
                     Leah Ann Sullivan
                     Nagoya, Japan


a bird bath
under a tree
filled with cherry blossoms
                     Iris Liu, age 12
                     Vancouver, British Columbia

The mission of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, which is the largest of its kind in Canada, is to sustain and renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage while educating and actively engaging diverse communities in local arts and culture. With over 40,000 cherry trees generously gifted by Japan in the 1930’s, Vancouver has declared the months of March and April as a time to celebrate the fragile beauty of the iconic cherry blossom in poetry, art, music, design, film, dance, crafts, photography, and cuisine.

Linda Poole, the festival’s founder and organizer has surrounded herself with likeminded aficionados who have assisted in building the festival to its present size. The Haiku Invitational Contest is one strand in the web of her design that includes the Cherry Jam Downtown Concert, Blossom Bollywood Dance, Sakura Days Japan Fair at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, the UBC Botanical Sites, Blossom Maps, Tree Talks and Walks, Plein-Air Painting Sites, the BC Blossom Watch Photo Contest and more.

As judge of the 2013 Haiku Invitational Contest, I was honoured to be entrusted with the work of so many poets across British Columbia, across Canada, across North America, across the globe. I read and re-read hundreds of poems trying to find just one to represent the different categories. This is a very challenging thing to do, for so many were in close competition. I am happy that the sakura awards and the honourable mentions are able to name the work of fine poets. Because the judging is blind — I, too, await the announcement of the authors—and revel in the connection of poems with poets.

It seems as though the cherry blossom haiku fall into two camps: the happy to be alive and noticing the blossoms camp, and, the blossoms are here and then they die so do we all camp. Something about the winners carried their haiku even higher than these two distinctions. Lighting the trail for the future of haiku (and humankind), birds waiting in the magician’s sleeve, petals in a birdbath, the wind dropping white petals, and tuning the mandolin to mountain cherry  were images that were fresh, evocative, surprising. I loved the resonance and implications of these poems…the fusing of motion and stillness, the hallmark of excellent haiku. And such fine sensory images from sakura winners and honorable mentions, calling us to pay attention, once again, to this lovely spring phenomenon.

I would like to thank all of those who entered this year’s contest and encourage them to participate again, next year, not only in the Haiku Invitational, but the myriad of activities outlined in the gorgeous website of the festival: v1.vcbf.ca. I would encourage teachers to send student poems and to send some themselves. I am hoping that families might have haiku competitions around the dinner table, that teens might teach us all about blossoms and technology. Finally, I would like to thank all of those connected with the contest who provided clear outlines for judging; there is such a great amount of work behind the scenes in a contest of this size. Kobayashi Issa was correct: “there are no strangers under the cherry tree”.

Terry Ann Carter
Victoria, British Columbia

(in alphabetical order)

British Columbia

Sakura Awards

oh weary traveller—
shrine lanterns light
cherry blossom petals
                                  Cheryl Ashley
                                  Nanaimo, British Columbia

jostling the hive
a swarm of
cherry petals
                                  Sidney Bending
                                  Victoria, British Columbia

spring’s rejuvenation
petals casting their shape
on my tattooed skin
                                  Chris Clarke
                                  North Vancouver, British Columbia

dappled sunlight,
serving cherry blossom tea
to her dollies
                                  Ann Harreby
                                  Coquitlam, British Columbia

one full year
in remission
cherry blossoms
                                  Harvey Jenkins
                                  Nanaimo, British Columbia

cherry trees
at the Cancer clinic
still, she smiles
                                  Angelika Kolompar
                                  Nanaimo, British Columbia

I woke up to snow
piled in drifts along the street—
just cherry blossoms.
                                   Genevieve Michaels
                                   Vancouver, British Columbia

when i come home from school
the petals cling to my boots—
fragile as skin
                                  Genevieve Michaels
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

Laughing in the cherry blossoms
We make angels
In pink snow.
                                  Jill Warner
                                  Surrey, British Columbia

Honourable Mentions

cherry blossoms
thousand butterflies
in my heart
                                  Michele Blanchet
                                  North Vancouver, British Columbia

empty park bench—
cherry blossom petals
on the ground
                                  Margaret Farquhar
                                  Mission, British Columbia

awash in pinkness
a city unfolds its arms
in salutation
                                  John Greenaway
                                  Port Moody, British Columbia

double shift
cherry blossoms arrive
                                  Harvey Jenkins
                                  Nanaimo, British Columbia

the drone of bees
in the Cherry blossoms
reminds me of home
                                  Stu MacDonald
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

through granite and gusts
blossom pink plum and cherry
among Garry Oak
                                  Suzanne Moreau
                                  Victoria, British Columbia

a veil of petalled branches
on Nitobe’s log bridge—
I dream the cool day
                                  Jeff Nulty
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

one last goodbye—
a sprig of cherry blossoms
on auntie’s casket
                                  Elehna de Sousa
                                  Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

cherry petals
I burn my lip
playing harmonica
                                  Jessica Tremblay
                                  Burnaby, British Columbia

a blanket spread
under the cherry blossoms
teens work their iphones
                                  Naomi Wakan
                                  Gabriola, British Columbia


Sakura Awards

third funeral this month
the cherry blossoms come
                                  Marco Fraticelli
                                  Pointe-Claire, Quebec

Prendre la route
des cerisiers en fleurs
vers la vieillesse
                                  Liettte Janelle
                                  Boucherville, Quebec

cherry petals
on my cheek
I turn the other
                                  Chen-ou Liu
                                  Ajax, Ontario

alone at dawn
amid cherry blossoms
a butterfly’s dream
                                  Chen-ou Liu
                                  Ajax, Ontario

Honourable Mentions

after rain
cherry blossom footprints
all through the house
                                  Patricia Benedict
                                  Calgary, Alberta

robin redbreast
sing open these tight buds
future cherry blossoms
                                  Tamara De Domiicis
                                  Burlington, Ontario

Jour du mariage
le cerisier porte
son chapeau fleuri
                                  Liette Janelle
                                  Boucherville, Quebec

United States

Sakura Awards

pink blossom
the bionic parts
of my breast
                                  Roberta Beary
                                  Bethesda, Maryland

cherry blossoms
holding on till it’s time
to go
                                  Michael Henry Lee
                                  Saint Augustine, Florida

through the moon
cherry blossom
                                  Gerald A. McBreen
                                  Auburn, Washington

under a blanket
of cherry blossoms. . .
her headstone
                                  Nancy Nitrio
                                  Orangevale, California

her hand in mine
the cherry blossoms
on both sides of the street
                                  Stephen A. Peters
                                  Bellingham, Washington

one child
out of single file
stray blossom
                                  Michelle Schaefer
                                  Bothell, Washington

the due date
circled in pink
new blossom
                                  Michelle Schaefer
                                  Bothell, Washington

cherry blossom petals
on my fedora brim
so dapper, so spring
                                  P.L. Wick
                                  Empire, Colorado

Honourable Mentions

spring breeze. . .
the scent of cherry
tobacco pipe smoke
                                  Johnny Baranski
                                  Vancouver, Washington

unfolding my mind. . .
the origami
of spring kanzashi
                                  Julie Cain
                                  Sturgis, Mississippi

sipping saki
under the sakura tree. . .
a haiku blossoms
                                  Andrea Dietrich
                                  Pleasant Grove, Utah

family picnic
under the cherry tree
one more than last year
                                  Nan Dozier
                                  Shreveport, Louisiana

earth day
the knell
of cherry blossoms
                                  Donna Fleischer
                                  Bloomfield, Connecticut

morning jog
cherry blossoms
shape the wind
                                  Tom Painting
                                  Atlanta, Georgia

playing together
on the swings—cherry blossoms
and wind
                                  Julie Warther
                                  Dover, Ohio

taking off
my pink bloomers too
cherry blossoms
                                  Kathabela Wilson
                                  Pasadena, California


Sakura Awards

blossoming cherry—
old mosque courtyard
and a stone catafalque
                                  Smajil Durmisevic
                                  Zenica, Federation of Bosna and Herzegovina

cherry blossom. . .
the baby—powder scent
of her skin
                                  Jo Mclnerney
                                  Boolarra, Australia

breaking light—
the pale vibrato
of cherry blossoms
                                  Mark Miller
                                  Shoalhaven Heads, New South Wales

homeless child—
painting a cherry tree
on the bomber
                                  Rita Odeh
                                  Nazareth, Israel

she hasn’t forgotten
the cherry blossoms
                                  Minh-Triêt Pham
                                  Paris, France

cherry blossom
the shape
of their kiss
                                  Andre Surridge
                                  Hamilton, New Zealand

just for today
the blossom that was
never mine
                                  Hansha Teki
                                  Wellington, New Zealand

we’ll soon have to part—
cherry blossoms
                                  Sasa Vazic
                                  Batajinica, Serbia

spring fever . . .
the cherry tree blooming
                                  Sasa Vazic
                                  Batajinica, Serbia

Honourable Mentions

stepping back
cherry petals
on the abandoned farm
                                  Owen Bullock
                                  Katikati, Bay of Plenty

widow’s birthday—
no one but the wind bringing
bitter cherry flowers
                                  Lavana Kray
                                  Iasi, Romania

cherry blossoms—
the scent bridging
the long river
                                  Pravat Kumar Padhy
                                  Vadodara, India

finally Spring
the old Sakura in the backyard
in full bloom
                                  Kristjaan Pannemam
                                  Lelystad, The Netherlands

weeping cherry
tiny coffin lowered
into soft ground
                                  Nicky Phillips
                                  Near Stevenage, England

as a sweet memory
the cherry blossoms
hold the snowfall.
                                  Eliza Taddei
                                  Montpellier, France

so this
is how it will end—
cherry blossom
                                  Alan Taylor
                                  Worcester, United Kingdom


Sakura Awards

my friend in the hospital
I give her
a branch of cherry blossoms
                                  Courtney Cheung, age 12
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

pink in the sunset
pink of the cherry blossom—
together as one
                                  Garett Hessels, age unknown
                                  Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Sakura Sakura
blooms our frailness
                                  Holly Liu, age 14
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

all cherry petals fell off
she belongs
to another man
                                  Gabriel Sawicki, age unknown
                                  Wroclaw, Poland

a breath of warm wind,
blossoms spiral downwards
far sweeter than rain
                                  Elizabeth Szalajko, age 17
                                  Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Grandma is dying
she lays still then she sees
cherry blossoms fall
                                  Richard Wong, age 11
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

glide in the early morning
—sound of peace
                                  Jennifer Wu, age 11,
                                  Coquitlam, British Columbia

Honourable Mentions

the wind swirled in the sky
and made a pink tornado
I danced inside
                                  Caitlin Ambrose, age 9
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

first blossom of the year falls
in a sea of green
                                  Kristie Chan, age 13
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

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

the cherry blossoms
fall from the umbrella
like a waterfall of pink
                                  Lauren Fotheringham, age 11
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

it was cold and grey
when the cherry blossoms came
falling like spring rain
                                  Jasper Nidoy, age 16
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

beat down from bully
physical and verbal
while cherry blossoms fall
                                  Richard Wong, age 11
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

a single blossom
clings to the cherry tree
hope is here
                                  Jenifer Wu, age 11
                                  Coquitlam, British Columbia

the frappuccino
with cherry blossoms in it
sat in my cold hands
                                  Andrew Yang, age 12
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia

cherry blossoms
like many beautiful girls
dancing on the street
                                  Eric Yang, age 15
                                  Vancouver, British Columbia