The Irmo Cherry Blossom Festival announces the haiku contest winner

The Irmo Cherry Blossom Festival announces the winner and honorable mention in their 2023 haiku contest.

Writers were asked to submit their traditional Japanese haiku poems reflecting upon the cherry blossom what it means to them. This year’s poetry judge was City of Columbia’s Poet Laureate, Jennifer Bartell Boykin. Selecting from over 20 haiku submitted from as far away as France and Poland, Boykin chose a poem written by Sarah Mills as the winner:

Faces flush with pinks,

Centuries blossom as one –

The heart’s hanami.

Boykin commented: “Full of alliteration, this haiku captures the enduring legacy of the cherry blossom with the “Centuries blossom as one” and ends with a heart flowering as symbolized by the hanami.”

Honorable mention was written by Eduard Tara:

the old cherry tree –

after the last braille lesson

touching the blossoms

Boykin explained, “A focus of the haiku is image from nature. This haiku focuses on “seeing” through touching with the blossoms paralleling the braille lesson.”

The haiku, a three phrase poem with lines containing a 5 , 7 and 5 syllable pattern, originated in Japan.