Katikati Haiku Contest 2016 results

There were 360 haiku entered from 8 countries. The organisers would like to thank all those who entered for supporting the pathway project and Katikati-based King’s Seeds for sponsoring the cash prizes.

autumn moon
eclipsed for a moment
migrating geese

– Tracy Davidson, UK, First

A classic seasonal scene which offers two readings thanks to its pivot line – the autumn moon is eclipsed for a moment by migrating geese; the migrating geese are eclipsed for a moment by the autumn moon. Purists will know that in Japanese haiku tradition ‘autumn’ doesn’t need to be attached to ‘moon’ as ‘moon’ is recognised as signifier of that rich season – and an autumn moon is always a full moon or harvest moon unless otherwise specified. So this haiku has two season-setters – autumn moon and migrating geese – but I don’t find that to be burdensome as the poem is full of sound and movement (geese), calm (moonlight) and subtly asks us to ponder the mystery of the birds’ powerful urge to migrate at a certain time and uncanny ability to do so over long distances. The beauty of the moment is intact and shines as brightly as that moon!

clear sky
a refugee kisses
the café window

– Cynthia Rowe, Australia, Second

From classic to modern – a good demonstration of how haiku can be used for any topic, including Europe’s refugee turmoil. Has the word ‘café’ been chosen deliberately to place this poem in France, possibly even Calais where a notorious refugee camp was recently demolished?

There’s a good deal of mystery in this poem: Why is the refugee kissing the café window? Has s/he just got a job there, heard some good news, is doing something to reflect his/her good fortune at being accepted for settlement? Is the refugee awaiting settlement or has s/he been received into a new home country? Is s/he inside the café or outside? Whatever the answers each reader brings to this haiku – and its zany echo of Pope John Paul II kissing the ground whenever he arrived in a new country – I think we can safely say the future is looking good. The author has carefully chosen the words used – the hard ‘k’ sounds balanced by the soft sounds.

Although the lines between haiku and its cousin senryu are now often blurred or ignored, this poem is more properly a senryu as it’s concerned with the doings of humans rather than nature. Another clue is that there’s no immediately definable season, although online sajiki (list of season words) place ‘clear sky’ as autumn or winter. However, my gut instinct is that this is a spring scene, with ‘clear sky’ and ‘kisses’ combining to produce, for me anyway, an optimistic reading.

autumn garden
 my thoughts
a deeper green

– Scott Mason, US, Third

The surface dichotomy of this haiku puzzled and intrigued me at first – why would the poet’s thoughts in an autumn garden be green? Then the penny began to drop – it might be a reference to environmentally friendly practices. For instance, collecting all those beautiful leaves to make a rich mulch or just raking them over a bed that’s put to sleep for the winter,  or using pruned branches as stakes or to make a ‘bug hotel’, keeping beneficial insects snug for winter. Perhaps the poet is assessing a garden that’s fading and planning fresh plantings for the spring and summer to come. ‘my thoughts /a deeper green’ are very satisfying lines to read and say.

Best Local Haiku

pruning –                                                                    
I leave the twig
with the ladybird

– Catherine Bullock, Waihi (NZ)

Highly Commended

museum –                                                                  
in the artist’s ink stone
ancient  pines

– Andre Surridge, Hamilton (NZ)

unclipped forsythia                                                     
     all children
     can sing

– Scott Mason

hot morning:                                                              
the sister’s peaked hat
is an exercise book

– Robert Alcock, Spain

heavy traffic                                                               
the fragrance of jasmine
crosses the road

– Elaine Riddell, Hamilton (NZ)

Commended

tidal pool sea shapes glide past sea shapes              

– Cynthia Rowe

daytime moon –
the lightness
of plum blossom

– Catherine Bullock

name tapes                                                                
on boarding school clothes –
my mother cuts the thread

– Joanne Watcyn-Jones, Australia

a child                                                                        
hiding in a hayfield
cloud drift

– Elaine Riddell

flight arrival   
the slow descent and taxi
of a pelican

– Jan Dobb, Australia

garden concert
the aroma
of mozart

– Ernest J Berry, Blenheim

Judge’s report by Sandra Simpson.

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A garden of haiku

I’ve spent the past few days immersing myself in our biennial Garden and Art Festival (still 2 days to go!). There’s something magical about walking into a stranger’s garden, exploring its pathways and knowing that it’s waiting to show me its treasures, if only I have the wit to see. A good number of the gardens I visit now are not the gardens of strangers, but that doesn’t dim the excitement one iota – new beds may have been created, interesting new plants put in, new “garden art” or, as happened today, a property may have changed hands.

I shared a bench at lunchtime with an older couple I’ve known for a while. They sold their very large country garden last year and moved into a small town with a decent-sized garden but much, much smaller than they had been used to. Had they ever been back to their old place? No, they said emphatically, and we won’t. They think there’s probably been lots of change (because no one will tell them) but they have decided to be philosophical. That’s life, they said, everything changes all the time. Gardens don’t stand still and nor are they meant to.

nobody rebukes
more softly than blue violets,
nobody louder

– Helene Kesting (translated from Afrikaans)

from The Haiku Seasons by William J Higginson (Kodansha International, 1996)

violet

gentle rain
scent of the seedbed turning
a deeper brown

–  Katrina Shepherd

from Before the Sirocco anthology (NZ Poetry Society, 2008)

summer rain
the poppies keep their thoughts
to themselves

– Sandra Simpson, A Hundred Gourds 2.4 (2013)

rose fence

across a rose fence –
a cat lover,
a cat hater

Kazuo Sato (translated from Japanese)

from Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan (Shambhala, 2008)