kindling the flame

The first time I entered the monthly Caribbean Kigo Kukai was in April 2010, and I have only missed a few since then. In February, Gillena Cox held the CKK First Poets’ Choice awards, with 100 of the top three place haiku from kukai spanning the period from April 2009 to September 2011. I am pleased to have had the following four haiku of mine on the ballot, which together garnered 6 votes:

strains of Mendelssohn
the groom fiddles
with his carnation


after the thunder
then birdsong


twilight shadows–
the flash
of a bluebird’s wing


kindling the flame–
one candle
lights another


Around the Table

When I first saw that the topic for the November/ December 2011 Sketchbook thread was “candle(s)”, I wondered what I could possibly write about. But then I got into it and submitted four haiku, and probably could have thought up a whole lot more if the holidays weren’t upon me. There is just something about the flickering light of a candle’s flame. All of my haiku were selected as Editor’s Choice by Karina Klesko, John Daleiden, or Bernard Gieske, and one was chosen by all three and was favorited by John, with a very thoughtful write-up, which can be read here (scroll down). It’s special to me, as it was written about the last Thanksgiving I spent with my parents.

around the table…
three generations
in the candles’ glow

My other haiku for the candle thread:

early dusk
the candle melts
into itself

birthday candles
too many tree rings
to count

rice paper moon
another candle
on the cake

November/ December 2011 Sketchbook

It’s always a treat when the new issue of Sketchbook comes out. And of course before perusing the issue in its entirety, I have to sneak a peek to see how I did in the kukai and the haiku thread. I was very happy to see that I took 1st place in the kukai this month. “Autumn leaves” is a topic I can expound upon at length. We have a seemingly endless supply of them around these parts. A second haiku took 4th place.

The haiku thread topic was “cemetery”, and although not my favorite thing to think about, it is (sadly) another topic I can go on about at length. As a child, I remember thinking cemeteries were kind of creepy places, but now I find them peaceful, if a bit melancholy. I hope to pay my respects to my parents next week when I am in California. Three of my haiku were selected “Editor’s Choice” by John Daleiden, or “Guest Editor’s Choice” by Bernard Gieske. I found Bernard’s essay on haiku techniques (using the thread haiku as illustrations of various techniques) especially helpful, as I am still getting the hang of how to write an effective jux into my haiku. And consciously thinking about technique from time to time never hurt anyone’s haiku writing!

The kigo topic for January/ February 2012 is “old calendar”, and the thread topic is “candle(s)”. Anticipating how busy this month will be, I already sent in my entries. The new thread can be read here.