M, N, O of haiku

If you feel inspired to make your own alphabet, please share the link in the Comments section.

M

morning meditation
the white cockatoo
just doesn’t get it

Glenys Ferguson, Windfall 6, 2018

 

autumn moon
eclipsed for a moment
migrating geese

Tracy Davidson, Katikati Haiku Contest winner, 2016

 

N

hotel laundry
the weight the maid carries
down to the Nile

Ingrid Baluch, The Mamba #5, 2018

 

distant wren song …
the brown river
slowed to green

John Barlow, The Heron’s Nest 7.4, 2005

 

O

Okavango delta —
dawn climbs slowly
from rhino to rhino

Lysa Collins, Under the Basho, 2017

 

swallow

swallow loops
a farmer clambers onto
his old tractor

John Barlow, paper wasp 13.3, 2007

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.

Halloween Haiku

We don’t do Halloween in this house because it’s not a New Zealand “tradition”. We see it as simply another import from America designed to make money for retailers and a way for kids to torment their parents. Yes, I’m not afraid to admit it, I am the Grinch of Halloween.

I have experienced Halloween in the US and the novelty made it fun especially as, say,  your supermarket checkout operator was a witch or a pumpkin or somesuch. The friends we were staying with had no children but bought in bags of “candy” to pass out to those who came knocking. I asked one kid what he was dressed as –  his reply made no sense to me, yet he was looking at me as if I was from Mars! Someone had to explain what a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was. I fear I’m just as out-of-touch with today’s cartoon favourites.

Halloween
the face in the pumpkin
winks at me 

– Tracy Davidson (UK), A Hundred Gourds 2:1, 2012

If you’ve ever read any of Ed McBain’s 87th precinct books that are set around Halloween, you’ll know of the nasty “tricks” his cops have to deal with on All Hallows Eve. Many churches in New Zealand now offer Light Parties on October 31 to counteract the “negative” side of Halloween.

Halloween party —
after a few drinks
the masks come off

– David Grayson (US), Frogpond XXVIII:3, 2004

Halloween Night
something orange
parked in our place 

– Helen Buckingham (UK), A Hundred Gourds 1:3, 2012

All Souls’ Eve –
tipping the spirit level
this way & that

– Sandra Simpson (NZ), A Hundred Gourds 3.2, 2014