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Posted at 03:01 PM ET, 03/21/2012

And the haiku winner is . . .

The cherry blossoms are bursting, and the Washington area is consumed by all things spring. We’re not immune here at the Going Out Guide; in fact, we created a haiku contest to honor the Japanese flower.

After sorting through nearly 200 entries, we teamed up with area poets Venus Thrash and Jose Padua, who are performing at the Split This Rock poetry festival this weekend, to pick a winner. Their top choice? The following haiku by Stephen McClurg of Birmingham, Ala., who receives a beautiful new coffee table book, “Cherry Blossoms,” the official book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

This blossom, though small
Is flush with the full force of
These one hundred springs

Thrash said by email that McClurg’s haiku “captures that brief moment when the delicate bloom of the cherry blossom is at its brilliant peak, overwhelming and stunning, yet unassuming in its role as a steadfast sign of spring.”

Padua, too, was impressed by how the poem “moves from a ‘small blossom’ and onto something huge and powerful that has withstood the test of time. As with a lot of the best haiku, there’s an epic poem hinted at and hidden somewhere behind the seventeen syllables.”

Padua and Thrash also picked four honorable mentions. Read them after the jump.

Flared on dark branches
Like clustered stars, white-flaming,
Joyous in freefall


Above the fallen
Cherry blossom Spring winds dance
To greet the morning


Quiet hum of bees,
Limbs stir, a whispering breeze
Gentle pink shower


Dear Son at Georgetown
Cherry blossoms our excuse
To show up! Surprise!


You might also like:

National Cherry Blossom Festival events

Blossom-viewing: Tips on getting there and avoiding the crowds

Podcast tour of the Tidal Basin

Guide to the National Cherry Blossom Festival

By  |  03:01 PM ET, 03/21/2012

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