Vicky Rizzardo
Vancouver Winner, 2018 VCBF Haiku Invitational

Playing tag
under the cherry blossoms—
the streetlights come on

Vicky Rizzardo
Vancouver, British Columbia

Congratulations on having your haiku selected as the top winner in the Vancouver category in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s 2018 Haiku Invitational contest. How did you first learn about haiku, and how much writing of haiku or other poetry have you done?

I write haiku every year for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival contest and submit my entries. I’ve read up on haiku and compose them in my head more than on paper!

What was the inspiration for your winning poem?

I live a block away from a street that is lined by cherry trees and I make a point of walking or driving down it every chance I get during cherry blossom season. In my neighbourhood, when my children were young, there were lots of children and they often played as a big group when the weather was good. I was imagining them playing tag when they were younger and reminiscing about the freedom I had as a child to play in my own neighbourhood in the evenings. My mom used to tell us to come in when the streetlights came on. I was picturing in my mind how lovely it would be to be playing with friends under the cherry trees, seeing the sunlight through the blossoms and then as it faded to see the warm glow of the streetlights through them. It would also be a signal that it was time to say goodnight and head for home. There is an excitement in the game of tag and then the bittersweet fact that it was time for the game to end.

Describe the moment when you first learned you had won.

I checked my emails just at the end of a golfing banquet I was at and I was thrilled beyond belief to have had my haiku chosen as a winner! I told my friends who were all happy for me. I also told my family right away and they were thrilled for me too because they know that I love writing haiku every year. Even though they tease me about it a bit they know how much it means to me.

Do you have favourite books or websites relating to haiku that others might benefit from in order

I’ve read the haiku tips on the festival website and have Googled various sites to read other poets’ haiku.

Please tell us more about yourself.

I was a community health nurse and am the mom of three daughters. I like to paint, play soccer, golf, cycle, read, hike, and camp. My husband and I have travelled to many interesting countries but always love coming home to Vancouver.

How does where you live and what you enjoy doing affect the way you write haiku?

I live in a city that has the most beautiful trees. I’m always pointing them out to my family and love the changing seasons. Lovely cherry trees and their blossoms are easily a source of inspiration for writing haiku.