But the best poetry has a bit of tension. And a good haiku expresses a certain evanescence.
There were a lot of wonderful entries this year. My favorite was written by Elizabeth Soyster of Gibson Island, Md.:
Like southern belles’ petticoats
Elizabeth can look out at two cherry trees from her home on Gibson Island, a charming little uvula of land that hangs down into the western side of the Chesapeake Bay, not far from the Bay Bridge. Her weeping cherry has just started to bloom. Her big double-blossoming cherry isn’t doing much of anything yet.
That seems to be a common experience this year: confused trees.
Elizabeth is a retired State Department employee. She wrote her first haiku when she was a student at the Madeira School in Northern Virginia. She actually composed her winning poem years ago for a contest she ended up not entering.
She told me she couldn’t remember exactly how it started, but she had that Margaret Mitchell-esque kicker, and it was easy enough to reconstruct the missing syllables.
Congratulations to Elizabeth. And thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Here are some of my other favorites:
Slows to glimpse a heron and
we read about in stories.
— Sarah Yerkes, Washington
— Kazimieras M. Campe, Edgewater, Md.
Drift to the basin. Blossoms?
— Alex Shoup, Alexandria, Va.
Wednesday: snow emergency
— Annette Thomson, Washington
snowflakes drift downward
alighting on fresh blossoms
— Erik Metz, Ellicott City, Md.
waiting for sun and warm air.
— Ann Gaffey, Arlington, Va.
Snow showers open blossoms
Then taunt, “Doors closing.”
The festival planners guess,
to feel warm air on our skin:
Soft, white flakes hide pink
Snow-tinged petals quivering
— Miriam Ruff, Silver Spring
Stone faced soldier listening
Stone monuments pink in tinge
— Lucie Lehmann, Annapolis
the trill of birds — no, Girl Scouts
— Gretchen Smith Mui, Silver Spring
Sunlight, short sleeves, birds, crabgrass,
Spring spawns March Madness,
Do things seem especially mad these days? In tomorrow’s column I’ll share some reader haikus that don’t shy away from tough topics, whether that means an embattled president, terrible traffic or seed-stealing squirrels.