2021 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

The following are the winners from the 2021 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest held at the Seattle Japanese Garden on 10 and 11 September 2021 for its annual Moon Viewing Festival (the festival was not held in 2020). These results were also posted to the Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog and the Seattle Japanese Garden Blog (10 September and 11 September), both with photos, six of which are shown here (first three by Slickpix Photography, last three by Peggy Garber).

Judged on Friday by Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch

Judged on Saturday by David Berger and Michael Dylan Welch

The Seattle Japanese Garden’s annual moon viewing festival returned again for two nights on Friday, September 10, and Saturday, September 11, 2021. This was after a break in 2020 when the festival was not held because of the coronavirus pandemic. For 2021, both nights were sold out to a maximum of 250 attendees, and everyone wore masks—and so did the moon both evenings, masked by clouds and thus unseen. This year we limited entries to one poem per person (we had welcomed up to two in previous years), which sped up and simplified the judging process. We received 44 entries the first night and 47 the second night, for a total of 91 haiku (compared with 176 in 2019, when two poems were allowed per person). The following are our selections for both nights. As before, we selected poems for their clarity, freshness, sometimes humor and timeliness, and for evocatively portraying the moon, even if we couldn’t see it. No prizes were available this year, but we believe that everyone “won” simply by taking a moment to write about their moon-viewing experiences. One of the honorable mentions was by a poet who said it was his birthday that day, so when we shared his poem, we led the entire audience in singing “Happy Birthday.” Our congratulations to each winner, and to everyone who tried their hand at writing haiku. Our gratitude to the Seattle Japanese Garden for its ongoing support of haiku through these annual contests.

Friday, September 10, 2021

First Place

wonder how to dress

for a moon viewing party?

the koi wear white, gold

David Takami

Second Place

the air is still—

suddenly three birds launch

searching for the moon

Paul Pietromonaco

Third Place

we change, earth changes—

I look up at the same moon

my ancestors did

Aaron Morton

Honorable Mentions

(in alphabetical order by last name)

it’s a moon viewing

in the grey . . . it’s beautiful

anyway . . . the garden

Brady Curtis

northwest moon, hiding

with the gods, behind gray clouds

holding back the rain

Robert Diaz

koi beneath the bridge

bonsai balancing moonlight

pines piercing the sky

Larry Hubbell

moon’s first glimmer

long across the water

first soft kiss of a new night

Nick Kreucher

we gathered to see

Lady Luna hides her face

the clouds make her shy

Dana Pietromonaco

cloudy evening

trace of moonglow

autumn’s coming

Doug Santoni

Honorable Mentions (Youth)

gentle moonshine—

draping the walls in silver

balancing the world

Piper Belfiore (age 14)

the moon climbs the sky

the earth is under my feet

the sun is far gone

Reed (age 11)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

First Place

red-tipped leaves

every moonlit meeting

blushing deeper

Laura Lorenz

Second Place

clouds obscure the sky

is the rabbit in the moon?

the gardens still glow

Setsuko Hosoda

Third Place

in my treasure box

another moon viewing

lived through

Aleksandra Monk

Honorable Mentions

(in alphabetical order by last name)

new year upon me

so much to look forward to

family, friends, and . . . new moon!

Mark English (on his birthday)

the leaves are turning

finally! the moon sighs and

turns away again

Chris Fronek

koi gulp the moon’s reflection

pellets scatter as my Dad

laughs with children

Elizabeth Martin

let us see the harvest moon—

in person please

not on Zoom

Bill McGee

fresh-cut grass

candlelight singing

the crowd sighs

Tamara Power-Drutis

visualizing the silver moon

portent of changes for fall

wearing a cloud mask

Bill Rumpf

I know you are there

the clouds won’t always mask you

moonlight exists inside

Max Schneider

Honorable Mentions (Youth)

rabbit of the moon—

is it cheesy where you are

like cheddar bunnies?

Max Curran (age under 18)

dusk settles in

moonlight glows the darkened sky

peace at night

August Eby (age 14)