Friday, September 20, 2019

2019 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest Winners

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi

by Michael Dylan Welch
pics by Tony, except the very top and bottom ones (by aleks)

2019 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

         Judged on Friday by Michelle Schaefer and Michael Dylan Welch
         Judged on Saturday by Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch

In 2019, for the first time, the Seattle Japanese Garden’s annual moon viewing festival took place over two nights instead of one—on Friday, September 13, and Saturday, September 14, 2019. We received 80 entries the first night, and 96 the second night, for a total of 176 entries. The moon itself, our honored guest, seemed content to stay hidden behind clouds. The following are our selections for both nights. On the Saturday evening, many participants wrote about a heron that perched on stones at the pond’s edge for an hour or more, sometime preening. We selected poems for their clarity, freshness, sometimes humor, and for evocatively portraying the moon, even if we couldn’t see it. First prize both nights was a garden membership and T-shirt. Second prize was a T-shirt and garden postcards, and third prize was postcards. Our congratulations to each of the winners, and to everyone who tried their hand at writing haiku, and our gratitude to the Seattle Japanese Garden for its ongoing support of haiku through these annual contests.

For more information about Haiku Northwest, which meets monthly in the Seattle area, and holds an annual haiku retreat, please visit

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi

Friday, September 13, 2019

First Place

the harvest moon
inspires us to come out—
whether it does or not

         Bill McGee                                                                                             

Second Place

paper lanterns glow
I’m walking with you tonight
hoping for moonlight

         Tim Flowers                                                                                          

Third Place

mouths open—
orange and black koi
wait to swallow the moon

         Meg Pearson                                                                                        

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi. Very large Indigo Array, a site specific collaborative installation  by Spit Shot Collaborative ( and Botanical Colors ( An array of fabric planes dyed with botanically derived indigo is suspended high in the pines of SJG and backlit with high-powered lighting, evoking a celestial phenomenon of unknown origin

Honorable Mentions
(in alphabetical order by last name)

these fireflies dance
on a stage of cloudy skies
a hundred small moons

         Victor Aque

wind ripples the moonlit water
I stroll in a dance
with my shadow

         Barbara Blakistone

faces upturned to catch
the shining glow from the moon
disappointed by gray clouds

         Stacey Giard

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi

summer nights . . .
children playing
moon watching

         Tarun Gopinath

full moon looms large and gray
above Seattle’s clouds
—I assume

         Iain Heath

you on one continent
me on another
see the same moon

         Zanny Milo

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi. Okinawan Music and Dance by Mako & Manjuru

bright silver above—
the scent of water heavy
in the cooling air

         Stephanie Morris

grey skies—
the promise of the moon
waiting to be uncovered

         Paul Pietromonaco

we waited all week
to gaze upon the full moon
but alas the clouds

         Laura Templeton

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi

Saturday, September 14, 2019

First Place

the heron grooms—
he must look his best
for the harvest moon

         Erica J. Thomas                                                                                  

Second Place

music coaxes
the moon
heron closes his eyes

         Gwen Stamm                                                                                       

Third Place

another moon viewing
and only
cloud viewing

         Joan Stamm                                                                                         

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi

Honorable Mentions
(in alphabetical order by last name)

cedar and hemlock
whispering in the moon’s light
their silent secrets

         David Blatner

treetops rustle   gentle wind
beckoning moonbeams,
come out to play

         Jeanne Boland

red moss seems fragile
friends whisper while walking near
we see our moon bright

         Michelle Hanson

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi

in autumn I mourn
the slow dimming of the light
oh moon, take over

         Marilyn Layton

ripples skitter
beneath the heron’s wings
the moon hides her face

         Brooke Leary

mid-autumn night—
the moonlight
flowing through my fingers

         Ying Lou

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi. Boat launching: boats made by our Gardeners and Jessa

why does the moon hide
behind the clouds
maybe because it’s shy

         Lucy Pierson (age 7)

even the heron
the moon

         Joan Stamm

tea bento and boats
watching the lonely moon sigh
making new friends

         Aiswarya Vegaraju

spider eggs—
like tiny moons
clustered on the leaves

         Brandon Wagner

SJG - 9/13/19 - Moon viewing - otsukimi. Participants of the Tea Ceremony launch boats afterwords...

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