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5th Annual Poets' Choice Kukai

Dear Haiku Friends,

Thank you for making a success out of our annual Poets' Choice kukai. Although voter turnout was lower, many included comments and for that we are grateful!

First Place winners of the Fifth Annual Kukai will receive a subscription for Volume IX of The Herons Nest expected out in April, 2008.

Second Place winners will receive a copy of the 5th edition of A New Resonance: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts, Red Moon Press.

Third Place winners will receive a copy of the latest Acorn or Bottle Rockets. You'll be contacted for arrangements.

We feel fortunate to be able to present these awards and hope all of you have visited their web sites:

Acorn -- http://home.earthlink.net/~missias/Acorn.html

Bottle Rockets -- http://www.geocities.com/bottlerockets_99/index.html

Red Moon Press -- http://redmoonpress.com/index.html

The Heron's Nest --http://www.theheronsnest.com/

We will be contacting all the winners no later than November 1.

Remember as you look at the votes below that EACH of these poems has already been declared a winner during the past year. Congratulations again to all of them!!

NOTE: An entry was pulled at the author's request.

Congratulations to Ron Moss, winner of our Kigo section and to Kala Ramesh, winner of our Free Format section!

VOTE COUNT EXAMPLE: (0,2,7) = 11 THIS MEANS: No voter gave 3 points, 2 voters gave 2 points, 7 voters gave 1 point = for a total of 11 points.

5th Annual Poets' Choice Kukai Results
Kigo Poems
Free Format Poems

First Place -- 37 pts
starry night . . .
what's left of my life
is enough

ron moss
(5,7,8) = 37 pts

A wonder-full sense of melancholy and satisfaction.

An effective use of personal statement set against the broad expanse of a starry night sky. A very open haiku that takes our eyes heavenward and then back to complete agreement with the poet. This is what haiku is all about to me; the fact that on any certain moment one can be suffused with the feeling that right now, this moment is all I need. There is the sense of connection and complete fulfillment.

The warm and satisfied immediacy of this realization contrasts with the cold distance of the stars.

This one stood out for me among all the entries during the past year, and I have often returned to it in thought.

This is just how I feel in a beautiful summer night. I will quote this again and again. Thank you for putting it in words.

A Zen-like moment of appreciation and acceptance.

It is tough to get philosophical in a haiku, this is well done, subtle and effective!

When something is too beautiful for words, I'll remember this haiku.

Second Place -- 28 pts
spring dusk —
the earth's fragrance
after the plow

Mary Lee McClure
(2,2,18) = 28 pts

My farmer father used to say he could pour cream on it and eat it.

It’s always nice to see the sense of smell used, the word fragrance is a great choice because it tells us so much about this rich soil.

Third Place -- 27 pts
crocus . . .
the balloon-man returns
to the park

Carol Raisfeld
(1/6/12) = 27 pts

The allusion to e.e. cummings' 'balloon man', whether intended by the poet or not, makes this poem more enjoyable for me.

Beautiful imagery!

I love the shape of the crocus/balloon, the start of a new season, the bright purples and yellows, not mentioned, but implied.

Fifth Place -- 26 pts
spring wind —
the moon slips by
the open door

hortensia anderson
(1,3,17) = 26 pts

I see the season, the wind, the moon, and time itself slipping past, but sense the narrator's enjoyment of every moment.

Fifth Place -- 24 pts
the barber's attention
not all mine

Bill Hudson
(2,3,12) = 24 pts

Does it snow in Seville? The forced wonder at what the barber is thinking is marvelous.

A haiku that makes me a bit nervous, hoping that the person in the chair doesn't lose anything more than hair!

Sixth Place -- 20 pts
dandelion fluff
a new mother caresses
her baby's head

Carmel Lively Westerman
(1,4,9) = 20 pts

I can feel and see these images beautifully, based in reality, very tender comparison.

Seventh Place -- 19 pts
summer's end
the morning glories
enter the mailbox

(1,5,6) = 19 pts

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of summers end against the unchecked growth of the morning glory. The mood of this moment provides various interpretations that would depend on how one felt about the end of summer. Despite the fact it portrays the end of a season, there is something liberating about the morning glory finally reaching the top of the mailbox. Or, perhaps it's a lonely feeling. Perhaps the mail box has been empty all summer with no one to open it allowing the morning glory free reign; a focused image that allows the reader to fill in the blanks.

taking the combs
out of her hair
Spring wind

carol bleichert
(1,4,8) = 19 pts

Sensual, maybe she also feels some sap rising.

Eighth Place -- 18 pts
blizzard . . .
the garden Buddha's
enduring smile

Nancy Smith
(1,4,7) = 18 pts

This gives me such a serene haiku moment, thank you...I'd give more points if possible!

Ninth Place -- 17 pts
morning glories
in the chain link fence
an inmate's finger

Josh Wikoff
(2,3,5) = 17 pts

I love its ambiguity.

If the key element of good haiku is the juxtaposition of the two images, then this one does a great job by contrasting of the soft beauty of flowers against the harsh chain link. An inmate’s finger is a great line because it lets the imagination fill in the details of this inmate: male or female? Clutching the fence or trying to touch the flowers? Or beckoning you to come closer?

Tenth Place -- 16 pts
father's day —
teaching him to walk

(0,5,6) = 16 pts

In seven words, a lifetime of relationship.

Eleventh Place -- 14 pts
a dew drop
of autumn light

Helge Torvund
(1,2,7) = 14 pts

sharing my plan
to travel the world -

Cherie Hunter Day
(0,2,10) = 14 pts


I like this one about the ambitious dandelion, a note of humor.

Twelfth Place -- 13 pts
spring dusk
she would have stopped here
to smell the lilac

(0,3,7) = 13 pts

flea haiku ~
I scratch
my head

Paul Hodder
(0,5,3) = 13 pts

autumn light —
the smell of tomato vines
on my fingers

(0,1,11) = 13 pts

A breathtaking moment of oneness...a twin to the haiku of "earth's fragrance after the plow".

Thirteen Place -- 12 pts
first crocus
I make a promise
I can't keep

Tom Painting
(1,3,3) = 12 pts

starry night
the fox's eyes
in the headlights

(0,4,4) = 12 pts

counting the ways
I could have said goodbye
~ starry night

Paul Hodder
(0,3,6) = 12 pts

starry night . . .
hot popcorn
in white paper cups

Carol Raisfeld
(0,2,8) = 12 pts

All five senses in this neat little sketch from nature.

A very sensual haiku: seeing stars, feel the heat of the popcorn through the paper, the smell of butter and salt, but it lets the reader fill in the location, perhaps a country fair or the drive-in.

Fourteenth Place -- 11 pts
Father's Day —
fresh forget-me-nots
on a soldier's grave

Zhanna P. Rader
(0,3,5) = 11 pts

either side
of the privacy fence

tom painting
(0,3,5) = 11 pts

Wonderfully understated! I am always in awe of a haiku that allows me to finish the thought myself. I envy the freedom of that healthy weed that has no need for privacy fences and in fact, seeds itself despite them.

Fifteenth Place -- 10 pts
starry night . . .
she adds another name
to the family tree

Francine Banwarth
(1,0,7) = 10 pts

sand fleas
the bites don't stop
at her tan line

Susan Constable
(0,3,4) = 10 pts

Great sense of humor and predicament.

spring wind
I catch
. . . my hat

Collin Barber
(0,2,6) = 10 pts

new neighbors —
blue morning glories
in the weed pile

(0,1,8) = 10 pts

autumn light ...
squeak of an empty swing
in the breeze

Boris Nazansky
((0,1,8) = 10 pts

Sixteenth Place -- 8 pts
Father's Day...
a cigar band
on her doll's ponytail

Scott Mason
(0,0,8) = 8 pts

Nicely indirect way to comment on his day.

Seventeenth Place -- 6 pts
taking a bow
in the late autumn light

Karen Briggs
(0,0,6) = 6 pts

Eighteenth Place -- 5 pts
the hair
between the cat's toes
autumn light

---Autumn Moon
(1,1,0) = 5 pts

autumn light —
the onyx heron
turn to amber

-- Karen Cesar
(1,0,2) = 5 pts

flea market
the bargainer stops
to scratch his head

(0,1,3) = 5 pts

starry night
breathing deeper
and deeper

Grzegorz Sionkowski
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

in grandmother's hand
spring again

Dany Fisher
(0,0,5) = 5 pts

A mixture of show and tell that puts, for me, the light and sparkle of memory on to the face.

Father's Day
without him . . .

w. f. owen
(0,0,5) = 5 pts

Nineteenth Place -- 2 pts
spring dusk
scratching the first
mosquito bite

Bill Hudson
((0,0,2) = 2 pts

Twentieth Place -- no points
blizzard . . .
in the knitted throw
the scent of Mom

Alice Frampton

A great crop and a hard choice!

Such a great selection of haiku made voting extremely difficult. I think they're ALL winners!

These are certainly worth a second look.

First Place -- 36 pts
mountain bridge —
I pass through
the clouds

Kala Ramesh
(4,5,14) = 36 pts

A haiku I have remembered since it first appeared. An example that I try to aspire to.

Second Place -- 23 pts
in every direction

Bridget Cougar
(2,6,5) = 23 pts

It takes me there.

Such a potent scene, five words and I am there with the writer, beautiful.

Beautifully depicted in perfectly simple words. I'm right there.

Third Place -- 22 pts
old dog
up the stairs
in my arms

Roberta Beary
(1,5,9) = 22 pts

Fourth Place -- 20 pts
bird song
the motionless shadow
of the cat

Petar Tchouhov
(2,5,4) = 20 pts

long weekend.
the gardener cultivates
his shadow

Nancy Smith
(0,3,14) = 20 pts

An evocative juxtaposition between 'long' weekend and 'cultivates his shadow'. There is the sense of time stretching out, shadows stretching out, until one can not escape one's own shadow.

Nice play on the visual image of how he stands with his shadow.

In reading this haiku, I hope that both gardener and garden will continue to grow and flourish.

Fifth Place -- 19 pts
the book she knows
by heart

tom painting
(2,1,11) = 19 pts

I just love this one.

bedtime —
a yawn travels
around the room

Zhanna P. Rader
(1,4,8) = 19 pts

Ah-h-h-h-h-h, yes.

I'll never watch a traveling yawn again without remembering this!

Sixth Place -- 17 pts
his guide dog
bolts from room to room -
funeral day

Mary Davila
(0,4,9) = 17 pts

dreary day —
only a gravedigger

(0,3,11) = 17 pts

It is the word "only" that does it! A fine image.

How can something so sad be so lovely?

Seventh Place -- 16 pts
packing .
unpacking .
weekends with dad

Nancy Nitrio
(2,1,8) = 16 pts

home run ~
my two year old cheers
the wrong team

Paul Hodder
(1,3,7) = 16 pts

This clearly goes to show how judgmental adults can be and with time, we only get worse!!!!

Eighth Place -- 15 pts
white breath
nothing between it
& the moon

Ann K. Schwader
(2,2,5) = 15 pts

Ninth Place -- 14 pts
fifteen below
a man with ski mask
enters the bank

Richmond Williams
(2,2,4) = 14 pts

A classic senryu with a nice touch of visual humour.

jazz festival . . .
the glint of a sax
at sunset

Carol Raisfeld
(1,3,5) = 14 pts

after a storm
the rainbow bending over
what's left

Bill Kenney
(1,2,7) = 14 pts

A different rainbow, often reduced to the cliché warm fuzzy feeling, here the rainbow looks down, almost personified, over the devastation that follows a storm.

Very effective!

icy mustache
the last rusty lug nut
begins to turn

(0,3,8) = 14 pts

Oh yes, THE moment captured as sharply as the frigid breath.

A great image of having a flat tire in winter weather. My fingers and toes almost feel cold while reading this.

Tenth Place -- 13 pts
autumn stillness —
rainbow trout
bump my waders

John Healey
(1,2,6) = 13 pts

old man on the bridge —
his still face
in the flowing water

Gosia Zamorska
(1,2,6) = 13 pts

Another fabulous juxtaposition. The first line opens with a broad image of a bridge with an old man looking over the edge then zeros in to focus on the reflection of his face. I find it poignant when I realize this man's approaching the end of life, yet the river keeps flowing, flowing, flowing. A profound haiku.

A touching haiku with so much implied by the images: flowing water as the unstoppable river of time; bridges we all cross as old age approaches; the still face could be deep thought, a touch of melancholy day-dreaming or perhaps an acceptance of time/death.

All Souls' Day
I open my father's
black umbrella

Petar Tchouhov
(0,5,3) = 13 pts

This has haunted me since the first time I read it. It has, on second view, lost none of its power.

Eleventh Place -- 12 pts
even the moon snuggles
under a cloud

--Karen Cesar
(1,1,7) = 12 pts

Will there be no end to beautiful haiku on the moon?!

hanging bridge...
only the stars
from side to side

Dorota Pyra
(1,2,5) = 12 pts

Twelfth Place -- 11 pts
dusty seashell
the words he whispered
in my ear

(1,1,6) = 11 pts

This makes me think of the shape of the ear and the seashell, and how we hold onto memories.

the arc
of his line at sunrise
rainbow trout

Susan Constable
(1,1,6) = 11 pts

double rainbow
her second wish
a small one

--Irene Golas
(1,1,6) = 11 pts

I am completely captivated by the human aspect of this haiku. It's as if the wisher is afraid to spoil things by asking for too much, so she makes one big wish, then thinks maybe a double rainbow allows for another one. She doesn't tempt fate though, and chooses a small wish. I like the sense of humbleness to this haiku and of course it opens with a broad vivid image of the double rainbow.

Thirteenth Place -- 10 pts
rainbow's end. . .
the trawler's gillnet
drawn tight

Carole MacRury
(1,1,5) = 10 pts

bedtime —
she asks if her doll can stay
awake a little longer

Kala Ramesh
(0,2,6) = 10 pts

Fourteenth Place -- 9 pts
old songbook
the faint stain of whisky
on a farewell song

(0,1,7) = 9 pts

Fifteenth Place -- 8 pts
narrow bridge ~
the distance
between us

Paul Hodder
(0,3,2) = 8 pts

This one speaks volumes, yet still provides an interesting setting of the narrow bridge and the two people on it who seem unable to bridge their differences. Wonderful juxtaposition.

hazy moon —
a love song
lost to static

Collin Barber
(0,2,4) = 8 pts

gran's handwriting
I email my daughter
her recipe

-- ushi
(0,1,6) = 8 pts

dreary day . . .
he tells me all of it

Francine Banwarth
(0,0,8) = 8 pts

Perhaps not only bad news being told, but also a statement about the narrator's mind. Dealing with dementia is difficult; the repetition of bad news even worse.

Sixteenth Place -- 7 pts
the sweeping arch
of the pitcher's curve
summer solstice

tom painting
(0,2,3) = 7 pts

Seventeenth Place -- 6 pts
sudden downpour
bleeding on a concrete sky
the chalk rainbow

Laura Orabone
(0,0,6) = 6 pts

Eighteenth Place -- 5 pts
dreary morning...
the taste and texture
of powdered eggs

ed markowski
(0,0,5) = 5 pts

Nineteenth Place -- 3 pts
bedtime . . .
a half-moon cradles
the crow's nest

sheila windsor
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

the cat already sprawled
where my feet should go

Beverley George
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

Twentieth Place -- 2 pts
the Yankees lost —
his hesitation
to answer the phone

Audrey Downey
(0,1,0) = 2 pts

How to choose when they are all so excellent!!

It is so enjoyable reading these haiku again, thank you for this wonderful idea!

Thanks to all of you for participating throughout the year. We appreciate it. Please look for the release of the next Call for Submissions on or about Monday, November 5th.

With much appreciation,

Robert and Jennie, co-secretaries.
Gary Warner, web host.

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