The Shiki Monthly Kukai


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The Shiki Monthly Kukai

January 2008 Kukai

Dear Haiku Friends,

Here are the results for the January 2008 Kukai, wherein our Kigo subject was "PLUM" and our Free Format word or phrase was "Short Days".

Congratulations to Audrey Downey, winner of our Kigo section and to Frances McCarthy, winner of our Free Format section!

The haiku are listed in order of total points received from voters. The numbers reflect the number of voters who gave the haiku either three points, two points, or one point -- followed by the total points for all votes.

Those who were given less than three points and who requested anonymity in such a case are so noted.

In the listing below, after each poem the author is listed, and then a three digit code revealing how many 3-point, 2-point, and 1-point points were cast for this poem by the other participating poets.

(214 = 12) would indicate that the poem above received two 3-point votes, one 2-point vote, and four 1-point votes.

January 2008 Results
Kigo Theme:
Free Format Theme:
Short Days

First Place -- 42 points
ink brush
so many ways to draw
a plum blossom

Audrey Downey
(3,8,17) = 42 pts

The moment just before the beginning, full of uncertainties and possibilities.

Second Place -- 27 points
into winter ~
the empty plum tree
and I

Paul Hodder
(0,7,13) = 27 pts

I love the stark simplicity of this one.

The plum tree and the haijin coincide, but each with a hope for future blossom?

Third Place -- 22 points
plum pudding
an old friend warms
a cold night

Jo McInerney
(1,4,11) = 22 pts

21 points
deep winter —
breaking the seal
on a jar of plum jam

tom painting
(1,3,12) = 21 pts

A strong moment. I would have scored it higher if line 1 had been line 3, but that's probably just me.

I like the tension between the "locked in" feeling of deep winter and the breaking of the seal.

Nice evocation of scent without "telling". There were several last jars of plum jam but this one captures a sense of how we try to seal ourselves away from the winter season.

16 points
all that remains
of the tree by my gate
this pickled plum

Barbara Snow
(1,1,11) = 16 pts

13 points
plum branches
in bloom . . .
baby's first kick

Alice Frampton
(0,3,7) = 13 pts

12 points
three year drought
the scream of a chainsaw
in the plum orchard

(1,2,5) = 12 pts

`Scream' is an evocative word and well-placed here. I'm not sure that the season is clear as a dead tree can be cut at any time of the year. Still it's a strong seasonless haiku.

11 points
winter wind
blowing away thoughts
of plum blossom

Jon Baldwin
(2,0,5) = 11 pts

One of those times when season and weather don't coincide, we've all shared this dashed hope of spring.

window light
the dancing edges
of still-life plums

George Hawkins
(0,4,3) = 11 pts

evening breeze …
plum petals flee
the Buddha's ear

Carol Raisfeld
(0,1,9) = 11 pts

An interesting (if slightly forced) image, as I don't see why the 'ear' more than any other body part, or in fact what cause to 'flee' the Buddha at all as they actually would 'sail past' wouldn't they?

10 points
a sparrow flock
settles upon gray limbs--
plum's winter leaves

Sherry Weaver Smith
(1,1,5) = 10 pts

plum kimono
worn bravely against
white mornings

Ruth Powell
(0,4,2) = 10 pts

ice storm:
the builder's plum-line
still in mid

Ron Moss
(0,3,4) = 10 pts

9 points
plum pudding
on her new Christmas apron
the first purple stain

(1,2,2) = 9 pts

the taste of
sour plum a spring later —
no regrets

Elena Naskova
(1,1,4) = 9 pts

Tells a story which the reader can only guess. I like the bitter- sweet taste of that story.

dreams dangling
from bare branches
plum blossoms

Judith Gorgone
(0,2,5) = 9 pts

8 points
fruit vendor —
throws a plum
at a stray dog

Kala Ramesh
(1,2,1) = 8 pts

snowed in —
a dob of plum jam
on each pancake

Susan Constable
(1,0,5) = 8 pts

in rain
plum blossom

Roberta Beary
(0,3,2) = 8 pts

fresh plums
the way she rubs
the sheen off

(0,3,2) = 8 pts

slowly spreading plum jam
with my father's knife

Petar Tchouhov
(0,3,2) = 8 pts

plum-blossom petals
stippling the silent pond
chilly rain

Catherine J.S. Lee
(0,1,6) = 8 pts

blossoming plum
baby girl lifts
her skirt to dance

john tiong chunghoo
(0,1,6) = 8 pts

This one rests solidly on the symbolic relationship between blossoms and human feminine childhood as well on the visual likeness of a blossom to a skirt.

7 points
droning teacher…
students' eyes focus
on plum blossoms

Nancy Smith
(1,1,2) = 7 pts

this is just to say
the plums in the icebox
are for breakfast

Bill Kenney
(0,2,3) = 7 pts

on her lips
plum-flavored lipstick
… winter evening

Ella Wagemakers
(0,1,5) = 7 pts

That'll take your mind off the cold. Taste the color.

overripe plum —
another phone call

(0,1,5) = 7 pts

6 points
ice in the plum trees
she's out there
talking to the stars

Francine Banwarth
(1,0,3) = 6 pts

art class —
picking the right plum
for a nipple

ash of moth
(0,2,2) = 6 pts

Art = nature + artifice.

budding plum blossoms
first ikebana arrangement
of the New Year

Nancy Nitrio
(0,1,4) = 6 pts

Though I didn't consider actual plum blossom to be quite appropriate for this season - according to Bill Higginson "looking for plum blossom" is the early spring kigo - this budding branch is especially brought indoors to force into bloom for a New Year arrangement. This makes it a rare delight.

bowing low -
the weight of ripe plums

Pia Sosua
(0,1,4) = 6 pts

dusty sunset —
the hawker's wheelbarrow
still full of red plums

(0,1,4) = 6 pts

last jar
of mother's plum jelly
morning snow

Ann K. Schwader
(0,0,6) = 6 pts

5 points
old garden
with flowering plum tree …
scent of spring

Jacek M.
(0,2,1) = 5 pts

dried plums
I rest with a hand
on my belly

Meredith Stern Cavalieri
(0,2,1) = 5 pts

plum sauce —
the last eggroll

Mike Montreuil
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

the plum's curve
fits my palm —
her chilling words

Michael Dylan Welch
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

The thought of a plum to throw is so strong for me here I wish that L3 were first to give it a logically linear thrust. Even though cause and effect are not to be sought or explained in haiku, I feel they can sometimes be used to advantage.

4 points
picking plums
her dress
the very same shade

(1,0,1) = 4 pts

my dog's nose
glows in the dark —
into that plum jam again!

Pris Campbell
(1,0,1) = 4 pts

plum pudding
the cosiness
of my unborn child

Katrina Shepherd
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

ray of light
through plum wine
stained glass

(0,1,2) = 4 pts

side by side
two plums, one bitter
one sweet

Neil Muscott
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

in spite of its name
the old plum tree not nearly

Paul O. Williams
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

I like the ingenuity of this one but think it would be better to break L2 after 'tree'.

forgotten Christmas lights
plum tree branches
continue to shine

Harvey Jenkins
(0,0,4) = 4 pts

beautiful neighbor
a taste of ripe plums
in her orchard

(0,0,4) = 4 pts

3 points
for the new owner
bearing fruit for the first time
my little plum tree

marlène Buitelaar
(1,0,0) = 3 pts

snow day —
there's the plum tree
at the bus stop

(1,0,0) = 3 pts

winter plum
under its branches
she stands tall

Beth Powell
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

granny passed away
mold on plum jam surface
reflects moonlight

Boris Nazansky
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

December beach
the last bits of flesh
from a plum stone

paul m.
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

tiny plum buds
on leafless stems
lost in heavy freeze

Jim Applegate
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

winterstorm —
the place of a plum stone
under the snow

Li Ree
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

plum wine
our guests order
a third

(0,1,1) = 3 pts

village in the hills…
the vendor gives me
a plum to taste

K. Ramesh
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

From this one moment I can imagine the whole travel experience myself. Well done!

plums fall
from the tree …
purple rain

Mary Davila
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

new plum-brandy —
the host doesn't reveal
all his secrets

Tom Maretic
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

making plum jam —
two stems and a leaf are
well cooked too

Isabelle Prondzynski
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

This is sweet in its specificity.

I like it when the poet can bring humor to the piece without straying into senryu territory.

Comments in general:

among the plums
William's poem

So many good ones to choose from this month!

First Place -- 43 points
afternoon tea
dusk settling softly
into corners

Frances McCarthy
(3,11,12) = 43 pts

I like the way tea time and waning light both work 'softly' to relax the time of day and tea takers.

A beauty!

This one feels as though early dusk foreshadows the drawing closer of the end of life.

Captures the essence of a moment: subtle and complex.

Second Place -- 28 points
winter day the candle burned flat

w. f. owen
(2,6,10) = 28 pts

Topic and format in harmony.

The haiku format I call "One Breath" is perfect for the 'short day' theme.

winter day —
the paperboy one house
ahead of dusk

Irene Golas
(1,3,19) = 28 pts

Again we have a sense of fleeing from the oncoming dark. L1 is possibly a bit 'throw away' as the time and season are carried in L2 and L3. L1 might be used to say something else.

A glimpse of the human condition: one house ahead of the dusk is about the best any of us can do.

I like the phrasing at the end of this. Of course, there aren't too many afternoon newspapers left in the world.

Third Place -- 26 points
between two nights —
winter day

Dejan Pavlinovic
(2,5,10) = 26 pts

18 points
the talk
we had to have
~ early dusk

Paul Hodder
(2,3,6) = 18 pts

afternoon coffee
scrap of the moon
in my cup

(1,4,7) = 18 pts

17 points
winter solstice —
shadows chase children
home from school

(1,1,12) = 17 pts

Here shadows are almost personified though the metaphorical meaning is clear enough. Somehow for me it reads somewhat amusingly: get those little scamps off the street and home for their homework and supper. Not so much temptation to linger when it's cold and dark.

13 points
5 o'clock shadow
night swallows
the barberpole

Roberta Beary
(1,2,6) = 13 pts

12 points
he sleeps
the cancer moved to his brain
shorter days

(2,3,0) = 12 pts

chill morning
the walk to work
under street lights

Bill Hudson
(1,1,7) = 12 pts

11 points
framing daylight
the comings and goings
of winter crows

tom painting
(0,1,9) = 11 pts

skiing home
shadows lengthen
across the trail

Beth Powell
(0,2,7) = 11 pts

Light, shadow, movement powerfully fused.

sunlight at last
an ice flower blooms
on the windowpane

(0,2,7) = 11 pts

This one grew on me... I came back to it and appreciated it more the second time. Slow blooming.

10 points
long night —
I try to find my clothes
among hers

(1,2,3) = 10 pts

how long this
short day is!
without you…

Tanya Dikova
(1,0,7) = 10 pts

It's been said a million times, but that doesn't make it any less true, and this seems well said.

9 points
early dusk
my father puts on the jersey
inside out

Jacek M.
(0,1,7) = 9 pts

8 points
early dusk. . .
an inch of snow
on a half inch branch

paul m.
(1,2,1) = 8 pts

This one is almost pleasantly sing-song in cadence as the snow doubles the girth of the branch. An interesting observation.

winter blues
the short day a cadence
of jazz notes

john tiong chunghoo
(1,1,3) = 8 pts

7 points
short days —
a new get well card
beside the bed

(1,1,2) = 7 pts

the geranium drops leaves
on the window sill

Carmel Lively Westerman
(0,2,3) = 7 pts

too late
for sunset
rush hour

Bill Kenney
(0,1,5) = 7 pts

6 points
clocking out
commuting home
my face in the window

Ben Gieske
(1,1,1) = 6 pts

Aging eyes
shorter days

(1,0,3) = 6 pts

first-term exams —
waiting in the dark
for her school bus

Susan Constable
(1,0,3) = 6 pts

never seeing
the light of day -
January rain

Mike Montreuil
(0,2,2) = 6 pts

early darkness . . .
the candle will not last
the night

Carol Raisfeld
(0,2,2) = 6 pts

each leaf turned
to the winter light

Neil Muscott
(0,1,4) = 6 pts

Plants making the most of whatever light they can absorb. Though they do this any season we especially notice it on short days, and this could also be leaves turning toward artificial light after sundown.

shorter days
the electric bill
is growing…

(0,1,4) = 6 pts

5 points
Christmas break over
first graders play flashlight tag
at the school bus stop

(1,1,0) = 5 pts

the buddha's shadow
fades at the stroke of four
chilly afternoon

Pris Campbell
(1,1,0) = 5 pts

dusk again…
the shutters
remain shut

Helen Buckingham
(1,0,2) = 5 pts

a pair of swans erase
the horizon

Jon Espen Vassbotn
(0,2,1) = 5 pts

tiptoeing in high heels
my new sweater
inside out

Terra Martin
(0,2,1) = 5 pts

toiling away
whenever I look up —
the moon

miriam chaikin
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

fleeting sunset
the snow and I
steal color

George Hawkins
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

morning coffee —
a sheer darkness
of the window glass

Kala Ramesh
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

4 points
afternoon stroll —
walking into
the sunset

Pia Sosua
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

home from school —
spinning a bike wheel
in the shed

Beverley George
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

dark morning —
boys go single file
through the snow

Marylouise Knight
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

Another suggestive image: that line goes on and on.

frigid dawn
the sun and I both
linger in bed

(0,1,2) = 4 pts

shorter days
the scent of smoke
in my grandson's hair

Jerzy Malysz
(0,0,4) = 4 pts

Another pleasant entry. For me the season here is more that of fall when leaves are burnt though it's possible that the wind may have swept chimney smoke across the boy at another time of coldness. It has a pleasant rhythm.

short days —
the way home
the same

(0,0,4) = 4 pts

3 points
unsnowy day —
kids play hide and seek
hiding in the twilight

Dorota Pyra
(1,0,0) = 3 pts

long before dinner …
I take a nap

Ella Wagemakers
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

morning paper
thuds into darkness
driveway ice

Ann K. Schwader
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

winter morning
the new teacher's jacket
just like her father's

Petar Tchouhov
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

short winter romance —
a dinner and then a breakfast
in candlelight

Elena Naskova
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

short day —
contrail of a southbound jet
still in sunlight

Michael Dylan Welch
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

short days —
longer night chats
at the pub

Tom Maretic
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

early dark
carrying in the night's
ration of wood

Francine Banwarth
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

My woodpile had to last all winter, so I feel this rationing as a sense of potential warmth weighed against expected cold. The heaviness of the logs comes through.

Comments in general:

The best in this month's group are very good indeed.

…some haiku really didn't convey to me what we were asked to express, so this becomes an opportunity for a learning experience for us all.

Thank you all for participating in the January Shiki Monthly Kukai. We will open the February 2008 kukai to submissions on Monday, February 4th.

With much appreciation,

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

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