Cherry Blossom Rain

First published in Woodnotes #31, Autumn 1997, page 53.

Cherry Blossom Rain edited by Mary Fran Meer with Dean Summers and Marc Thompson. Illustrations by Lidia Rozmus. Haiku Northwest, 1997, 32 pages, paperback, 5½ by 8½ inches. $7.50 postpaid from Mary Fran Meer at 1128-108th Avenue SE, Bellevue, Washington 98004 [address no longer correct]. One challenge facing groups such as the Northwest region of the Haiku Society of America that produce an annual membership anthology is to make each anthology distinctive. Such anthologies usually find their distinctiveness in the details of the poems themselves. Yet further distinctiveness comes through in Cherry Blossom Rain from the four seasonal illustrations by Lidia Rozmus. In keeping with their tradition, the 1997 anthology sports the group’s trademark indented cover, the cutaway edge of which reveals the book’s bright red endsheet. The cover itself is a pleasing recycled paper flecked with multicoloured accents, including red ones, echoing the endsheets in a pleasing visual unity. After an introduction from the editors, the book offers the title poem from Carol Edson, then 61 other poems by 36 poets in four seasonal sections. A few real gems pepper the proceedings, including the following four standouts by Robert Jenkins, Marilyn Sandall, Marc Thompson, and Randal Johnson:

leaning out

from the porch rail

the smell of rain

the waiting room—

catching up

on old news

the crab boat

we saw last summer

still for sale

through midwinter haze

a tug pulls to the sawmill

a long shaft of snow