a creek with melting snow

The Solitary Daisy – Issue 22

Melting Snow and Contest Update

Because of our first Annual Haiku Contest, we didn’t receive many responses to our prompt. We’ve decided to hold over the haiku we did receive for our next issue.

But because we promised, here is a haiku series by Sally and Michele from their trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs near Nelson, BC.

The Ainsworth Series
by Sally Quon
and Michele Rule
wolf moon-
the fog hangs low
over the valley 
351 kms from home
bodies soak up 
strange minerals
in natural hot springs…
the lightness of being 
January night
columns of steam block the sign
at Ainsworth Hot Springs 
the healing water
of ancient springs
breathing peace 
cold plunge
how long before the hot springs
warm up my feet? 
steam rises
from the hot spring
my breath still frozen 
steam rises
between bobbing heads
whiff of sulphur 
from the roof of the cave
ghosts glisten 
smell of hot springs
      fog lingers 
   across the lake  
greek lunch
the happy sounds
my mouth makes  
midwinter – 
sun hangs in
a frozen sky 
mountain summit
following the snowplow

Michele’s Musings

I hope some of you were able to take part in the Upaya Zen Center haiku sessions last weekend. I enjoyed the ones I was able to attend but my favourite was with Sensei Kaz, a haiku master in his 90s. He always has something interesting to talk about. In this session he introduced a woman haiku poet named Chiyo.

Chiyo was born to a relatively average family in Hakusan City, Ishikawa Prefecture in 1703. She had the reputation of being a beautiful poet at a young age and was said to have written her first haiku at seven. Sensei Kaz shared this gorgeous haiku by Chiyo:

becoming blossoms
becoming drops
this morning’s snow

What he shared next really interested me as I hadn’t heard it before. He called out attention to the flatness of his tone when reading the haiku as opposed to the undulation of the tone we often use in other poetry, stressing one word or another. Sensei Kaz said this level tone was thought to make the haiku more elegant.

He then went on to share another of Chiyo’s more famous haiku:

freeing my hands
from doing hair –
the foot warmer

This haiku only makes sense if you know that in later life Chiyo became a nun. She shaved her head, thus saving all the time needed to do her hair in elaborate styles and giving her more time to sit idly with her feet in the foot warmer, a common Japanese household amenity. Now you understand the delight expressed in the haiku. Sensei Kaz said that in a case like this, it would be reasonable to add a head note to the haiku.

Chiyo continued to write haiku all her life, with a stunning 1,900 haiku being attributed to her already. There is a lovely compilation of her haiku available in the Haiku Foundation Digital Library if you are interested in reading more haiku from this wonderful poet.

Member News

David Brydges will have a haiku appearing in the Haiku Canada Members Anthology. I don’t want to post it, as Haiku Canada has first publishing rights. We will happily share the haiku here once the Anthology has gone live.

And we have this offering from Jerome Berglund:


Sally Quon completed her quest to write at least one haiku per day for the month of February, although that extra day nearly broke her. She also attended The Way of Haiku through the Upaya Zen Center and was surprised and thrilled when Beth Howard picked up a copy of Frogpond and read her haiku to everyone!

If you are a member of the Federation of BC Writers, the Writing Circle “All Things Haiku” co-hosted by Michele and Sally, is now an open group! Drop-ins are welcome.

Sally’s Notebook

Today is the final day to enter our First Annual Haiku Contest!

I’d like to take a moment to talk about the judging process for the contest. Neither Michele or I claim to be experts in the art of haiku, but we both love it enough to know what constitutes a good haiku, even if we don’t always write them!

The submitted haiku have been going to Frithjof, our web expert and Michele’s husband. He is also the sponsor of the prizes for the top three haiku. Thank you, Frithjof! Once the contest closes, he will make copies of all the entered haiku, without names, for Michele and I to read. So yes, this is blind judging. We will each read every haiku submitted and give it a rating between 1-5, with 5 being the highest. Once that is done, we will add the scores together and the highest scores will become our long list. We will redo this process until we have shaved the list down to the top ten. From there, it will be a discussion regarding which haiku speak the loudest to us, and the winners will be decided.

Please remember that all judging is purely subjective and if your haiku is not chosen, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good enough.

Our aim is to have the winners decided and announced by our March 30th issue. Because of the overwhelming response to this contest (452 at the time of writing), it may take a little longer, in which case, the results will be published in the following issue on April 13th.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their haiku with us. Michele and I are looking forward to reading what appears to be an entire book’s worth of haiku!

Upcoming Deadlines, Openings, and Readings

Opened yesterday, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational runs until June 1. But it’s never too early to start writing cherry blossom haiku. Get to it, folks!

Tsuri-Doro is open now for submissions, but only until March 10.

March 15 is the deadline for submissions to:

Modern Haiku

The Heron’s Nest

The Enchanted Garden

How to Haiku with Michael Dylan Welch is a two-part series available on YouTube. This link is part one. Part two is found on the top right of your screen.

The March 2024 edition of The Heron’s Nest is available to read on-line. (This link is different than the one for submissions.)

Have you ever wondered what the difference between haiku and senryu is? I thought I knew, and then I came across this book of senryu from the editors of Prune Juice.

And finally, you’ve heard mention of the Asahi Haikuist Network. Here is their latest release. When you get to the bottom of the page, you will find the biography of editor David McMurray along with a prompt and submission information for the upcoming edition. Below you can access past editions.

This Week’s Prompt

For this week’s prompt, you can either write a melting snow haiku or spring clouds. Send your haiku to sally_quon@yahoo.com or kelownalady@hotmail.com

There is only one art, and that is the art of living.

J.B. Yeats
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