2021 Morioka International Haiku Contest

I had the pleasure of judging the third Morioka International Haiku Contest with Toru Kiuchi in the autumn of 2021. Results were announced 26 December 2021 in Morioka, Japan. Visit the Morioka website for more information or see the results online (PDF). Results also available here (English selections appear at the end). See also contest results for 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023.

Prize Winners and Poems from Haiku Submissions English Section

盛岡国際俳句大会 事前投句英語部門        受賞作品一覧


Judges: Michael Dylan Welch, Toru Kiuchi

Japanese Translation: Toru Kiuchi





Grand Prize   最優秀作


Mona Bedi


summer wedding サマーウェディング

her saree the colour 彼女のサリーの色は

of a red hibiscus 赤いハイビスカスの色


The red hibiscus is associated with Kali, the Hindu goddess, and these flowers are sometimes given as worship offerings. To have a saree of this colour at a wedding suggests a religious reverence. Through its colour, even the saree joins the celebration of this joyous summer wedding. —Michael Dylan Welch




Special Selections   特賞


Barbara Strang


deserted playground 誰もいない遊び場

two cups on the table テーブルの上の二つのカップ

filled with sand 砂が入っている


There are already no babies and small children at the playground. After they finish playing at housekeeping, two cups filled with sand are left on the table. You can imagine that two children were pretending to be a couple and that they enjoyed playing before leaving. —Toru Kiuchi




Jonathan Aylett


evening pond 夕方の池

a leaf falls 葉っぱが落ちる

onto the moon 月のなかへ


The last line of this poem may surprise some readers. Instead of falling into the water, the leaf falls onto the moon. Yet we immediately realize that this is not literally true, because the leaf must be falling onto the moon’s reflection. This altered perception therefore produces the paradoxical meaning of the leaf seeming to fall up as well as down. —Michael Dylan Welch




Anthony Q. Rabang


loud voices 大きな声

of what-ifs だったらどうなるんだの大声

waterfall crashing ほとばしる滝


This should be summer because people are watching the waterfall to seek coolness. They are talking loudly about, for example, what if they plunge into the basin of the waterfall. The poem makes clear the scene of people gathering before the waterfall. —Toru Kiuchi




Eduard Tara


the bounds 境界は

of infinity 無限となる

loon’s call ハシビロコウの鳴き声


If one has ever heard the plaintive call of a loon, as I have in the Canadian wilderness, one knows that it’s a haunting experience. It feels as if the bird’s call summons infinity itself, something beyond the bounds of human experience. The bird’s call takes the listener to a faraway and transcendent emotional destination. —Michael Dylan Welch




John Barlow


autumn chill 秋の寒さ

the bell of a fire engine 消防車のベルが

from a distant carousel 遠くのメリーゴーランドから


In the 1940s a carousel beautifully equips itself with vehicles and horses, especially a fire engine. The poem reminds us of the carousel. It is already cold in late fall, recalling children’s joyous cries and the clamorous sound of a fire engine’s bell from a carousel in the distance. —Toru Kiuchi




Honourable Mentions   選外佳作


Eduard Tara


falling leaf 落ち葉という

a piece of silence 一片の静寂が

changes its place この場所を変化させる


Marion Clarke


winter moon . . . 冬の月

the soft glow 柔らかい光が

from a cottage window 小さな家の窓から


Vladislav Hristov


winter solstice the horse’s eyelashes hold the light



Sandra Simpson


rolling the pebbles 小石を転がす

around in my hand— 私の手の中で

magpie song カササギの鳴き声


Helen Buckingham


dawn chill 夜明けの寒さ

the potter returns 陶芸家は

to her kiln 窯に戻る


Tomislav Sjekloća


October dusk 10月の夕暮れ

my dog lets a stray 私の犬がほかの野良犬に

bring back the stick 棒きれを咥えて持ち帰らせる


Alan Summers


river moon a guitarist’s plectrum in the gleam



Owen Bullock


winter almost over もうすぐ冬が終わる

you’re not enlightened あなたはわかっていないと

she says 彼女が言う


Ramesh Anand


old boathouse 古いボートハウス

the abundance そこには豊かな

of silence 静寂がある


Barbara Strang


first date 初デート

the scent of peaches 桃の香りがする

through the market 市場のなかから


Saumya Bansal


evening smog— 夕方のスモッグ

mistaking the scarecrow 人間と間違えてしまう

for a human 案山子を


Sandra St-Laurent


public park 公共の公園

shopping cart lady ショッピングカートを押す女性が

collecting good mornings あちらこちらでおはようと言う