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The Shiki Monthly Kukai

August 2009 Kukai

Dear Haiku Friends,

Here are the results for the August 2009 Kukai, wherein our Kigo subject was Corn or Maize and our Free Format subject was Fasting or Hunger.

Congratulations to Melissa Spurr, winner of our Kigo section and to Collin Barber, 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.

Voters comments are in italics below the respective poems.

August 2009 Results
Kigo Theme:
Corn or Maize
Free Format Theme:
Fasting or Hunger

First Place -- 37 points
late summer
corn stalks closing in
on the scarecrow

Melissa Spurr
(3,7,14) = 37 pts

Besides the lovely visual effect in this haiku, I thoroughly enjoy the gentle irony of the cornstalks "closing in". What a great L2! It also makes me aware that the scarecrow was almost all that could be seen in the field earlier in the year and now, it's almost hidden by the corn.

Second Place -- 21 pts
corn silk--
the baby's hair
holds a spit curl

(1,6,6) = 21 pts

Third Place -- 20 pts
thunderhead moon
shucking dry corn
in the porch light

Ron Moss
(1,3,11) = 20 pts

I enjoyed the atmosphere.

Fourth Place -- 16 pts
early moon--
she pats blue corn masa
into perfect circles

Terri L. French
(3,2,3) = 16 pts

I’ve waked to that predawn slapping many times.

Fifth Place -- 15 pts
a Navajo child
clutches her corn husk doll
the orphanage

Carolyn Coit Dancy
(2,3,3) = 15 pts

Sixth Place -- 14 pts
slice of sky
a prairie wind rattles
the corn maze

Catherine J.S. Lee
(0,2,10) = 14 pts

I enjoy the way we begin by seeing the sky, then are moved from alliteration to the sound of the wind. The use of "rattles" is wonderful, giving me both a distinct sound and a subtle sense of agitation.

I love the animation in this one; liked the choice of the word "slice" here.

Seventh Place -- 13 pts
she combs her hair
rows of tasseled corn
curve with the hillside

Elaine Riddell
(1,3,4) = 13 pts

field of corn -
my girl and I look for
her bra

Andrzej Dembonczyk
(0,3,7) = 13 pts

Eighth Place -- 12 pts
parched field
he bends to straighten
a corn stalk

Warren Gossett
(0,3,6) = 12 pts

On first read, this seems like a simple description, but there are also layers of meaning for me below the surface. I get a sense of an old man, not only parched by thirst but also withered by life itself. And yet, here he is, tending his corn as though his life depends upon it.

I like the contrast here and the appeal to the senses part of which is intimated rather than stated; as well there is a nice crisp attitude in the writing of this haiku; this was my favourite of all but I gave only one point, only because there were so many good ones I also wanted to score.

Ninth Place -- 11 pts
corn maze entrance
about an hour's walk from...
corn maze entrance

Rafal Zabratynski
(1,2,4) = 11 pts

Really excellent! There is a sense of immediacy, sharing with the reader the experience through subtle, yet direct, and economical wording. Perhaps best of all is the Zen humor of however things change they also stay the same.

Tenth Place -- 10 pts
fresh start
she slices a peach
for our cornflakes

tom painting
(1,2,3) = 10 pts

love this one, what is left unspoken. The special touch she adds to the cornflakes representing a recommitment to the relationship.

in the cornfield
a faint cry
of a child

(0,4,2) = 10 pts

the cornfield
in her face

Roberta Beary
(0,3,4) = 10 pts

Eleventh Place -- 9 pts
drive-in theater ...
the warm popcorn box
on my lap

Ramona Linke
(0,2,5) = 9 pts

Twelfth Place -- 8 pts
back home---
the corn higher
pockets empty

John Soules
(1,1,3) = 8 pts

family reunion
bright colored maize
row after row

(1,0,5) = 8 pts

It might need a little polishing but all the ingredients are there for a fine verse.

cornfield kiss -
a secret whispered
to the ears

Alexander "Lex" Joy
(0,2,4) = 8 pts

scattered corn-
shadow of the volcano
on the stone altar

(0,2,4) = 8 pts

the sound of the wind
across the cornfields—
prairie summers

Marylouise Knight
(0,0,8) = 8 pts

Thirteenth Place -- 7 pts
windless night
insects owls and the rustle
of growing corn


(1,1,2) = 7 pts

Fourteenth Place -- 6 pts
fall field—
corn rows
catch her hair

Janet Marxen
(1,1,1) = 6 pts

autumn night --
the meager corn crop becomes
premium moonshine

(1,1,1) = 6 pts

Sounds delicious.

butter slathered
from ear to ear
corn cob cook-out

(0,2,2) = 6 pts

fields of slanted maize yielding whispers _kala (0,2,2) = 6 pts corn planting—
her prayer
in the incense smoke

Ellen Compton
(0,1,4) = 6 pts

state fair-
a gap-toothed boy
buys buttered corn

(0,1,4) = 6 pts

Fifteenth Place -- 5 pts
a pale of husks
a gathering of children
for the magic of dolls

Merrill Ann Gonzales
(1,1,0) = 5 pts

hot summer day
running through the cornfield
naked as a crow

Sjs Stevie Strang
(0,2,1) = 5 pts

Without line three: my favourite.

hide and seek - -
alarmed crows flock
from the cornfield

Terry O'Connor
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

corn moon
the rustle of silk
in his ears

Francine Banwarth
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

through the tall red dancing heads of poppies a corn field

Andre Surridge
(0,0,5) = 5 pts

cold afternoon --
an old toothless woman
roasting maize

stephen macharia
(0,0,5) = 5 pts

A mixture of pathos and wit.

Without “old” worth more.

corn maze . . .
children's voices shade
from laughter to fear

Bill Pauly
(0,0,5) = 5 pts

Sixteenth Place -- 4 pts
My Polish cousin
Eating his corn on the cob -
Neatly - with a fork!

Conrad Sienkiewicz
(0,2,0) = 4 pts

summer night in the corn field –
they share
the last allergy pill

Aalix Roake
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

corn stubble fields
a buggy obscured
in the driving rain

Jennifer Corpe
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

To the horizon
the gentle wave of corn
with the evening sun

Horst Ludwig
(0,0,4) = 4 pts

This is a firm picture in my head and in my heart.

pop of the roasting corn-
I sink my teeth into
the sound of rain

(0,0,4) = 4 pts

corn silk
ancient designs on the
backstrap loom

Allen McGill
(0,0,4) = 4 pts

his smile
from ear to ear ~
corn festival

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


surrounded by silk
two girls laughing on the stoop
husking corn

Shelley Krause
(0,0,4) = 4 pts

A nice playful scene; I like the liveliness in this haiku.

Seventeenth Place -- 3 pts
Scarecrow guarding corn
Springtime problem for blackbirds
Such super villain

Joseph Spence, Sr.
(1,0,0) = 3 pts

Ears of corn
you make love noises
as we eat.

Trevor Camp
(1,0,0) = 3 pts

farmer's market--
sharing a corn earworm's path
with a stranger

aom (tim)
(1,0,0) = 3 pts

on a country road –
an elaborate sculpture
of an ear of corn

Patricia Prime
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

maize roaster --
golden sparks fly
into the dusk

Isabelle Prondzynski
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

ripening corn-
when did they grow up?
our kids...

(0,1,1) = 3 pts

corn maze...
no sign of the elephant
nor its eye

Scott Mason
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

pecking holes
in the corn bag
our festive chook

Barbara A Taylor
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

a boy chews an
abandoned green maize...
late noon

Catherine Njeri Maina
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

Abandoned: it fascinates and repels.

for children
a maze
in the maize

Barbara Campitelli
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

vociferous murmur
from the maize plantation...
August showers

Patrick Wafula
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

First Place -- 42 pts
hunger pangs
the vending machine
eats a dollar

Collin Barber
(3,8,17) = 42 pts

Evokes a common experience.

Second Place -- 34 pts
winter sunset
the beggar's shadow
grows thinner

Melissa Spurr
(1,8,15) = 34 pts

Thinning sunlight, thinning shadows, and a thinning beggar create a powerful image and haiku.

Third Place -- 23 pts
evening walk --
two fasting monks debate
the color of hunger

(1,6,8) = 23 pts

Interesting picture of detachment.

Absurd. And full of real life.

Fourth Place -- 20 pts
three-day fast
a night loon echoes
my emptiness

Francine Banwarth
(1,4,9) = 20 pts

Best of the litter award.

The phrase is beautiful in this haiku! I especially like the link between sound and mood.

Fifth Place -- 18 pts
I swallow the morning star

rob scott
(2,3,6) = 18 pts

Sixth Place -- 15 pts
Bagdad street
child sharing bread
with a hungry dog

Terri L. French
(1,6,0) = 15 pts

Seventh Place -- 14 pts
all day fast
a pair of sneakers
by the scale

Roberta Beary

(0,5,4) = 14 pts I like what is shown to support what is stated.

Eighth Place -- 12 pts
famine lengthens...
she adds more water
to the soup

Ruth Powell
(1,2,5) = 12 pts

The famine stretches across time, while the person (who I imagine is a poverty-stricken mother of several children) tries to stretch their meager meal just a little bit further.

Ninth Place -- 11 pts
cattle motionless
in the dust

Allen McGill
(1,3,2) = 11 pts

Wonderful. The whole long and sad story caught in six words. The poet has been there.

midnight hunger
we spoon each other
ice cream

Terry O'Connor
(0,3,5) = 11 pts

bloodwood moon
a starving dingo paces
the rain shadow

Ron Moss
(0,2,7) = 11 pts

Tenth Place -- 10 pts
the darkness meows
again for food
winter night

David Grayson
(0,2,6) = 10 pts

Eleventh Place -- 9 pts
period of fasting…
I tighten my belt again
one more hole

Jacek M.
(0,3,3) = 9 pts

watching the stars...
a hungry boy forgets
to eat his supper

Catherine Njeri Maina
(0,2,5) = 9 pts

with the buddha ...
today only rain

Ed Schwellenbach
(0,2,5) = 9 pts

Twelfth Place -- 8 pts
starving urchin –
he stumbles upon fasting
holy men

Gautam Nadkarni
(1,1,3) = 8 pts

gibbous moon
the distended belly
of a poster child

Susan Constable
(0,2,4) = 8 pts

Weight Watcher's meeting
we gather for an hour
and talk about food

Harvey Jenkins
(0,1,6) = 8 pts

Great scene, just a bit too overloaded with words.

hunger moon
an auger's whine
out on the ice

tom painting
(0,0,8) = 8 pts

Thirteenth Place -- 7 pts
deer tracks
fill with new snow
hunger moon

Diane Mayr
(0,1,5) = 7 pts

day five fasting
he smells a meal served
on TV

(0,1,5) = 7 pts

Great idea. Unfortunately rather prose than poetry in my eyes.

Fourteenth Place -- 6 pts
fasting ends
each kind of berry
its own aroma

Audrey Downey
(1,0,3) = 6 pts

hunger pains the rumble of war memories

Andre Surridge
(0,2,2) = 6 pts

Hunger pains the rumble of war memories poetic yet still haiku; I love this.

fasting day
dad is throwing crumbs
to the pigeons

Boris Nazansky
(0,2,2) = 6 pts

staff meeting -
the first hunger pang
comes with sound

(0,1,4) = 6 pts

Fifteenth Place -- 5 pts
11 hours drive
when I finally stop for lunch

Bruce Ross
(0,2,1) = 5 pts

forty-hour fast –
I sneak a square
of chocolate

Patricia Prime
(0,1,3) = 5 pts

morning bells--
louder, the cry
of a hungry kitten

(0,1,3) = 5 pts

Sixteenth Place -- 4 pts
morning hunger -
I choose which blossoms
are put on the altar

Bhalachandra Sahaj
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

the thin teats
of a starving sow
her withered piglet

Garry Eaton
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

defiant, she put
three pennies on the counter
"one egg, please"

miriam chaikin
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

the sadhu –
a wooden bowl
his measure of hunger

Gregg Crow
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

There are unasked questions posed here, it's the kind of haiku that leaves one pondering.

fourth fasting day-
the calm
of a rock garden Buddha

(0,0,4) = 4 pts

Seventeenth Place -- 3 pts
ending fast-
a glimpse of the moon,
a glimpse of him

(0,1,1) = 3 pts

Love how the word "glimpse" represents the thinness of the man.

at catfish creek
nothing left
but the bones

carol pearce-worthington
(0,1,1) = 3 pts

Thinking about what has happened makes me nervous.

summer drizzle...
a dog jumps out of a trash bin
with a bone

Kameshwar Rao
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

in the beggar's bowl
an autumn wind provides
his tea

Merrill Ann Gonzales
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

If you would remove a few words, I think you would polish this haiku to a nice shine. Perhaps drop everything but "beggars bowl" in the first line, break the second line after wind, and drop "his" in the third. Just a suggestion, and I voted for your haiku just as it is.

going downstairs
to collect the newspaper
the smell of bacon

Marylouise Knight
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

barbecue party
a chat about dieting
in the future tense

Rafal Zabratynski
(0,0,3) = 3 pts

General Comments:

Too bad I had to eliminate a number of good poems because the prescribed words were not actually used as kigo. Even so, it was difficult to select my top three.

Some really nice ones had to be cut because the kigo didn't apply to the correct season.

I see that I'm not the only participant who had difficulty with this kigo. I'd say a lot of our attempts are sentences, laundry lists, or are so obscure they reveal nothing - mine included!

I enjoyed all of the free format haiku..I really wish I could have picked more.

This month's two themes have really spoken to our Kenya haijin. Maize, the staple food of Kenya. Hunger, the current situation of Kenya, after two years of insufficient rain and empty water reservoirs. The Kenya poets have been suffering hunger, and their haiku this month have been written from direct experience. Thank you both for these two great themes!

Wow, both these contests were tough--too many good poems, not enough points to award! Many thanks!

After reading the free format entries, I can see that everyone gave their best efforts there - myself included. I'm having a hard time whittling my list down!

This one was a lot tougher to find the right ones. There are so many excellent ones in here. The triviality of plenty and the many faces of hunger side by side.

Thank you for participating in the August 2009 Kukai! We will be posting the September Call for Submissions on Sunday, September 6th. See you then!

With much appreciation,

The Shiki Kukai Team

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