lingering cold

It’s always fun to take part in the Shiki Annual Poets’ Choice Kukai. For the 3rd year in a row, I’ve had a haiku in the contending. It had very special meaning to me this time around that my haiku tied for 3rd place in the kigo category, as I was visiting California and staying just miles from where my parents are buried when the results came out. It is always bittersweet to visit California, but on the balance, I’d say I’ve had more good times than bad ones over the years I spent either living or just visiting there.

lingering cold
the long ride home
from the cemetery

 The full set of results can be read here.

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.

At Peace

For the day 5 prompt of the Poet Asides PAD Chapbook Challenge, I wrote a shadorma, since I was in the mood for counting syllables again. The shadorma is a 6-line poem with syllable counts 3-5-3-3-7-5. The prompt was to write a “broken poem”, and I immediately thought of the pioneer cemetery I visited last month, when I was at Seabeck for a haiku retreat. It took a few tries to make the syllable count come out right, but I finally got it.


At Peace

the last rays
of afternoon sun
fall upon
the broken
pieces of headstone lying
amongst wild salal

Cemetery Haiku Thread

 The Sketchbook thread for September / October is “cemetery”. As a kid, cemeteries were always kind of spooky places for me, but now, I find in them quiet peace. My haiku for the thread:

I brush aside leaves
to read their names…
cold granite
# 11.

autumn leaves— 
grave markers blanketed
in heavy fog
# 67.

graveside service
the whisper of wind
through the pines
# 69.

pioneer cemetery
soft moss clings
to the headstones
# 71.

The entire thread can be read here.