The Shiki Monthly Kukai

October 2009 Seventh Annual Poets' Choice Kukai

Dear Friends,

Thank you for making a success out of our 7th Annual Poets' Choice Kukai. Voter turnout was excellent as were the many included comments. We are grateful to all of you who participated and also to all of you who enjoy reading the monthly results!

First Place winners of the Seventh Annual Kukai will receive a subscription for Volume XI of The Herons Nest expected out in April 2010.

Second Place winners will receive publications from Jim Kacian and The Red Moon Press.

Third Place winners will be gifted a patchwork pillow with haiku included, quilted by Debra Bauer.

Each of you will be contacted for arrangements.

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

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

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

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!!

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.

(2,1,4 = 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.

Seventh Annual Poets' Choice Kukai Results
Kigo Poems
Free Format Poems

First Place -- 66 points
autumn fog . . .
the river knows
the way

Francine Banwarth
(11,9,15) = 66 pts

This says nothing about family but its family that comes to mind, those here with us and those who've gone on.

Second Place -- 54 pts
evening stillness
the fog creeps in
pine by pine

Catherine J.S. Lee
(4,9,24) = 54 pts

Third Place -- 37 pts
acorn cap
sometimes all I know
is emptiness

John Thompson
(6,7,5) = 37 pts

With every reading the sensation is undiminished. Of all the final entries, this one speaks to a universal human condition--a child would understand this, an adult will find layers. It's a fine haiku.


late summer
corn stalks closing in
on the scarecrow

Melissa Spurr
(3,9,10) = 37 pts

Fourth Place -- 31 points
raspberry patch
the neighbor boy

tom painting
(2,8,9) = 31 pts

I like the double meaning of red-handed.

Fifth Place -- 30 points
graduation day
dandelion seeds
on the wind

frederick c gier
(3,5,11) = 30 pts

Sixth Place -- 25 points
somewhere in the fog
of my mother's memory
my name

Tom Genovese
(2,6,7) = 25 pts

I like the whole big sad picture it presents of this elderly lady suffering from loss of memory or fuzzy memory. This makes me think of the sadness of Alzheimer's disease and stays with me long after reading it.

Seventh Place -- 21 points
no one called
she gently dusts
her porcelain rabbits

Elena Naskova
(1,3,12) = 21 pts

This is so poignant. I can feel the loneliness and resignation.

Eighth Place -- 17 points
wet snow
another year weighs
on the century oak

tom painting
(0,4,9) = 17 pts

See a century tree and take heart, eh? There may be an equal blend of luck and toughness in getting old.

an owl in the elm
...not in the elm

Melissa Spurr
(0,4,9) = 17 pts

A flash of lightning portrayed so well!

Ninth Place -- 16 points
April Fools
the lake ice
still looks safe

(2,2,6) = 16 pts

Tenth Place -- 15 points
the taste of the dewdrop
before I bite

Dorota Pyra
(1,4,4) = 15 pts

an owl's feather
marks the hare's last track —
midwinter night

Janice Hornburg
(1,3,6) = 15 pts

a gray cat glides
in and out of the fog...
autumn stillness

Janice Hornburg
(1,2,8) = 15 pts

winter garden —
among the beets a quiver
of rabbit ears

Nancy Smith
(0,5,5) = 15 pts

summer house—
the calligraphy
of mildew

j cully
(0,2,11) = 15 pts

Eleventh Place -- 14 points
a jackrabbit springs
from stillness

(1,2,7) = 14 pts

Twelfth Place -- 13 points
corn silk--
the baby's hair
holds a spit curl

(0,4,5) = 13 pts

Thirteenth Place -- 12 points
graduation day
her mother and I
test our civility

tom painting
(1,1,7) = 12 pts

Fourteenth Place -- 11 points
touring the farms
the sun sets in a glass
of elderberry wine

Garry Eaton
(2,1,3) = 11 pts

april fools
the sting of a prank
decades old

Roberta Beary
(2,1,3) = 11 pts

Fifteenth Place -- 10 points
graduation cheer
a flock of starlings
takes the sky

Terry O'Connor
(0,2,6) = 10 pts

Sixteenth Place -- 9 points
April Fools
sending the kids to buy
elbow grease

Carol Raisfeld
(1,0,6) = 9 pts

a harvest moon
the rabbit nibbles a new path
through the garden

(0,2,5) = 9 pts

thrift store painting
a pony dappled
with mildew

Melissa Spurr
(0,1,7) = 9 pts

Reading this and holding the image in my mind's eye, the layers of time and it's markings shift in and out of consciousness: dappled horse, paint on canvas, a representation of nature consumed once again by nature itself. Then, the preciousness of this image still being found valuable enough to put in a thrift store. There is wabi-sabi feeling of haiku, without pretentiousness.

Seventeenth Place -- 8 points
garden path
the old-forest fragrance
of leaf mold

Catherine J.S. Lee
(0,2,4) = 8 pts

abandoned house
mold adds its pattern
to the wallpaper

Rafal Zabratynski
(0,1,6) = 8 pts

Eighteenth Place -- 7 points
thunderhead moon
shucking dry corn
in the porch light

Ron Moss
(0,1,5) = 7 pts

Nineteenth Place -- 4 points
in the glow
of the red maple
autumn's end

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

Sometimes the commonplace is remarkable after all.

Twentieth Place -- 2 points
warm December day
the cottontail feasts
on the snowman's fallen nose

Terri L. French
(0,1,0) = 2 pts

First Place -- 60 points
sleepless night —
the moon shifts
from pane to pane

Janice Hornburg
(5,15,15) = 60 pts

This is all of a piece, fitting beautifully together. Very memorable.

Second Place -- 38 points
bending the fir
to fit the waves

Beth Powell
(3,10,9) = 38 pts

I love the concept of bending wood to the shape of the waves.

Third Place -- 34 points
the night splits
into before and after
the phone call

Barbara Snow
(1,9,13) = 34 pts

Powerful. I doubt there is anyone over age twenty who hasn't lived through a night when they wished a certain call had not come.

Fourth Place -- 26 points
moonless night
the wind whistles into
an empty bottle

Tanya Dikova
(2,5,10) = 26 pts

I can hear the haunting sound and feel the emptiness of a moonless night.

garden wall —
enough moon
to go around

Francine Banwarth
(1,7,9) = 26 pts

sudden rain —
umbrellas mushroom
on the street

Gautam Nadkarni
(0,8,10) = 26 pts

Can't you just see umbrellas springing up like mushrooms?

Fifth Place -- 25 points
settles on the city
starling by starling

Kilah C
(1,6,10) = 25 pts

I’ve had this impression and it exactly captures it.

Sixth Place -- 22 points
homeless man
the postman delivers
a smile

Elena Naskova
(2,4,8) = 22 pts

September wind
a school bus pulls away
from summer

Melissa Spurr
(2,3,10) = 22 pts

Seventh Place -- 21 points
evening walk —
two fasting monks debate
the color of hunger

(0,6,9) = 21 pts

This one is nearly too slick but I chose it because “…the color of hunger” stays with me.

Eighth Place -- 20 points
in the shipwreck
a china doll
with open eyes

Karen J. McClintock
(2,2,10) = 20 pts

family day —
my house too small
for their voices

Gryta Wansdronk
(1,3,11) = 20 pts

winter sunset
the beggar's shadow
grows thinner

Melissa Spurr
(0,4,12) = 20 pts

The light and the beggar both getting thinner.

“beggar” is sometimes done unto death and many haiku using that theme will earn only a passing glance. Not this one. There’s no overt emotionalism, no bejeweled finger. It’s simply put, open to interpretation within its framework, each word on equal footing and strong taken all together.

Ninth Place -- 17 points
first day of school
his backpack
filled with summer

David Grayson
(3,1,6) = 17 pts

hunger pangs
the vending machine
eats a dollar

Collin Barber
(0,3,11) = 17 pts

Tenth Place -- 16 points

Jan O'Loughlin
(1,3,7) = 16 pts

This poem takes the form of a crowded train.

Eleventh Place -- 15 points
spring fog
only the rhythm of wooden boats
knocking together

Kate Creighton
(1,2,8) = 15 pts

Twelfth Place -- 13 points
picket fence
she repaints his dream
each spring

Terra Martin
(2,2,3) = 13 pts

paper parasol
a soft rain
of cherry blossoms

Nancy Nitrio
(1,1,8) = 13 pts

short days
the old woodcarver
goes with the grain

tom painting
(0,3,7) = 13 pts

And what else should we do with what we can’t change and what we can. Is there a name for haiku that also act as maxim?

between the fog
and the fence

Kate Creighton
(0,2,9) = 13 pts

Thirteenth Place -- 12 points
early darkness
the warmth
of her kiln

tom painting
(2,1,4) = 12 pts

combat medals
the times he never
talks about

Catherine J.S. Lee
(0,2,8) = 12 pts

Fourteenth Place -- 10 points
hauling firewood—
the wheelbarrow and I
both wobbly

Terri L. French
(0,3,4) = 10 pts

morning mist
the milkman's voice
from door to door

Jacek M.
(0,2,6) = 10 pts

Fifteenth Place -- 8 points
evening hush
a kayak parts
the duckweed

Susan Constable
(0,3,2) = 8 pts

same gum
under the same desk
repeating the class

Warren Gossett
(0,2,4) = 8 pts

turning cold
an old man asks
what day it is

Bill Kenney
(0,1,6) = 8 pts

I love the disjunction here, the subtle awareness of season and day that both the poet and old man hold, even without being able to pin them down in exactness.

homeless guy
the santa hat finally
in season

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

Sixteenth Place -- 6 points
dusting off
his baby picture —
the convict's mother

John Thompson
(0,2,2) = 6 pts

Seventeenth Place -- 4 points
lightning —
her grip on his umbrella

Zhanna P. Rader
(0,1,2) = 4 pts

show and tell
for the AA meeting —
ship in a bottle

(0,0,4) = 4 pts

Eighteenth Place -- 2 points
the magic of rain
under one large umbrella
three strangers

gerry bravi
(0,0,2) = 2 pts

Nineteenth Place -- 1 point
the old man
watching his cat watch the mouse
falls asleep

Bill Hudson
(0,0,1) = 1 pts

joint custody
trying to figure out
the bus schedule

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


The kigo "fog" produced the haiku I liked best this year -- full of simple observation that speaks to me deeply.

Thanks to all who keep making the Shiki Kukai possible!

Great bunch - very hard to choose!

Thanks for the opportunity of reading the fine poetry!

What a wonderful exhibition of moments. Very hard to judge, very good to get involved with.

Thank you Kukai Team for another challenging and successful year of Kigo poems!

What a great read. I remember many of these great images and clear sense of seasons. Loved them.

(Kigo Poems) 5, 16, 17, 18, 22. Each of these is unique yet very natural, not at all forced. It may be my mood, but each seems to evoke a feeling of melancholy.

Great batch of Kigo poems to choose from. Very inspiring!

I wish I had more Free Format votes to distribute! Very enjoyable process, as ever.

At this level of excellence, choosing between "best" and "second best" is an indulgence in personal taste, not excluding personal quirks and personal prejudices. So here's an objective pat on the back to all the poets in both categories.

The number of outstanding Free Format poems made it nearly impossible to narrow it down to just my 6 favorites!

This collection of winning haiku in the free format shows a tendency to sadness. It is - indeed - a mirror of our time.

Thanks for keeping the kukai alive.

Thank you again, Team, for the year-long inspiration. The monthly Kukai has helped me become a better writer.

No. 22, 29, and 34 Free Format; The starlings, the daffodils and the moon against night sky and fog, all soft light images that captured and drew me in.

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 Sunday, November 1, 2009.

With much appreciation,

The Shiki Monthly Kukai Team

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