Friday, September 7, 2012

O-tsukimi haiku

I missed the Haiku Contest final reading, but here is Michael Dylan Welch's report [of  Haiku Northwest, which organized the contest] and his Facebook post regarding the event; he and Tanya McDonald read aloud 28 poems out of the 155 poems that were submitted that night.  aleks (+ my pics to Michael's text)

SJG • 9/1/12 - Tankokai Tea ceremony just ended in Shoseian Teahouse

Seattle Japanese Garden Moonviewing Haiku Contest
September 1, 2012
Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch, Judges

• First Place:
Moonbeams fall
through maple leaves—
moth wings shimmer

Frank Edwards

• Second Place:
moon beams stream
through the open bedroom window
I light your candle

Kerry Campbell

• Third Place:
thirty-five-watt bulb
a bare moon above the sink
warm hand clasping mine

Andrew Savage

You will find additional poems read during o-tsukimi here....

• • • • •

SJG • 9/1/12 - The crowds; people also occupied  all rails of the zigzag bridge,
and more standing wherever they could fit  

From Michael's Facebook post: An amazing thing happened at last night's moonviewing event at the Seattle Japanese Garden, attended by about 600 people. Tanya McDonald and I judged a few hundred entries for the haiku contest, and one of the entries had a surprise extra line at the end of it. I knew immediately that I had to read it when we announced all the awards. 

SJG • 9/1/12 - I waited a long time to get this pic people-less:)
After a full evening of Japanese cultural performances and music, and the launching of candle-boats onto the pond after dark, as the full moon rose over the pines, Tanya and I read a selection of poems, and then announced the top three winners, with much laughter and cheering. 

After that, I had that additional poem to read. I said the person's name first, and asked if he was present. Matthew came up to the front and I asked him privately (everyone could see, but no one could hear) if he definitely wanted me to read what he submitted, and he said yes. This is what I read, his poem about the moon:

I'll light your way
in every phase of life.
My world revolves about you.

Franklin, will you marry me?

And there, in front of 600 people, they hugged intensely while the audience burst into cheers and applause. And Franklin said yes. What's more, completely unscripted, the person who we had just given first place to in the haiku contest was also Franklin. What a wonderful way to end a spectacular moonviewing event!
Michael Dylan Welch

SJG • 9/1/12 - Candle-boats on the pond after dark, my poor camera tried for you...


  1. Great boat photo Aleks, you are too modest. I tried for years to capture what I feel like is the highlight of the whole thing on film without success

  2. What an amazing story! I wish I would have been there, but you do a great job of capturing the event through writing.

  3. What a wonderful story! The last line made the event more memorable. I'm glad that there's a clear photo added because I had been so curious about how the candle boats looked like. Now I can picture the candle boats floating under the moonlight. :-)