Snow Kukai

The Snow Kukai event held on March 8th turned out to be a very pleasurable afternoon. 14 poets gathered in the gorgeous pond-side setting of Shusuitei villa in Kyoto Gyoen to share and discuss snow-themed haiku submitted by no less than 24 different people.

David McCullough won first prize for his snow haiku. With 8 votes, it proved the most popular of those entered:

snow falls softly
onto the river —
last train passing by

Runners-up, both with 6 votes, were:

endless snow… …………………………………… Excavated remains —
I break the froth ……………………………….. into the postholes,
in a cup of cappuccino ………………………. snowflakes
….. (Yaeno Azuchi) …………………………………… (Keiko Yurugi)

Next, two poems that received 5 votes:

daybreak… …………………………………………. In the freezing rain
the muffled sound ……………………………… an old man living alone
of a raging snowstorm ………………………. picking peach blossoms
….. (Duro Jaiye) …………………………………………. (Yoshiharu Kondo)

And 3-pointers:

silky snow ………………………………………….. Lunchtime strollers
left on old tree — ………………………………. squint into the sun’s glare —
the clouds begin to break …………………. first snow flurries
….. (Akihiko Hayashi) ………………………………. (Jun Tsutsumi)

a morning of the cottage
everything with snow —
a straight track by a tiny hare
….. (Teruko Yamamoto)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Poems that got 2 votes were:

oh no ……………………………………………………. snow vanishes…
snow in the deck-chair again ………………. as though an hour ago
insisting it’s winter ………………………………. never existed …..
….. (Ann Mari Urwald) ……………………………….. (Branko Manojlovic)

Twilight Venus
over the mowed garden —
the first snow
….. (Kiyoko Ogawa)

Poems with 1 vote were by: William Sorlien, Tito, Hisashi Miyazaki, Hiroko Nakakubo, Ursula Maierl, Kyoko Nozaki, and Eiko Mori. Alas, we didn’t have enough time to talk about these.

The event was well organized by Yaeno Azuchi and Tomiko Nakayama. Tito introduced the kukai, using snow haiku by Shiki, Meisetsu and Issa, and later gave the prize, a handmade Indian book for writing haiku. Branko Manojlovic debuted as discussion coordinator. He came up with the following haiku written during a tea break:

Still pond
touched by sunlight —
sharing snow haiku

5 Responses to “Snow Kukai”

  1. Photos in the slideshow were supplied by David, Masako, Branko and me. Perhaps Yoshiharu (with his ‘freezing rain’ haiku) was lucky – hardly snow! Shusuitei proved to be a great venue, and in spite of the corona virus scare, we went ahead with prominent alcohol hand-sterilizing bottle and masks! Rain later turned to sun. Next time perhaps a Moon Kukai, everyone? Thanks, Branko, for getting the goods up here so quickly and coordinating nicely on the day.

  2. Congratulations David. Great last line to leave me alone, to enjoy a magically quiet night scene of snow falling on water. For me it is dark, and the river is flowing ever so slowly.

    I am surprised that reading these snow poems strangely provided a temporary comfort during these uncertain times amidst the Coronavirus scare. That comfort was most felt in Yaeno’s poem. We are forced to slow down and fully enjoy the small comforts we can make within our homes.

  3. Yoshiharu Says:

    Thank you very much to the participants in the Snow Kukai. I am very lucky to have got some votes. I always feel a combination of mystery and fun in the kukai format, which brings others’ sensitivities into contact with my own. (Comment slightly edited by Tito after receiving an explanatory Japanese email from YK)

  4. Wonderful haiku as always.
    I especially enjoy the slide presentation.
    All those smiling faces!

    • Thanks, Bandit. But quite a lot of masks, too. On 8 March, the virus scare was in its infancy. Smiles are more difficult to detect today (but still there in some smiling eyes).

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