so many petals
falling in pink profusion
but so little time
That’s my very spontaneous attempt to write a haiku about the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, a collection of celebrations running from March to May in honor of the city’s 37,000 glorious cherry trees that bloom each spring. Cherry-themed happenings include special guided tree walks, the Cherry Jam concert, film screenings and bike tours of Vancouver’s blossoms. But one of the most popular and unique events has to be the annual Haiku Invitational, which invites participants to get poetic about Vancouver’s signature cherry trees.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Haiku – or just can’t remember all the details from back in grade school – it’s a form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines, usually of five syllables, seven syllables and five syllables each (As I just learned on Wikipedia, however, the number of syllables per line can actually vary quite a bit). Traditionally, haikus are about nature and reflect on the ephemeral quality of the natural world.
This is the sixth year that the Haiku Invitational will form part of the Cherry Blossom Festival. In past years, poems have come from as far away as Bangladesh, Israel and Romania. Seasoned poets and first-time writers are invited to submit haikus on the fleeting beauty of Vancouver’s cherry trees. Entries will be judged by a recognized poet and winners published in a variety of outlets, including the festival website. But even cooler is the fact that the best poems in the five main categories (youth, B.C., Canada, United States and International) will be plastered across SkyTrains and buses all over Vancouver (Isn’t that a great idea? I’d love to be reading about cherry blossoms come the middle of a cloudy December).
To submit your poem, just visit the Haiku Invitational website starting March 1. The contest runs until May 31. To get you inspired, here’s the winning BC entry from last year’s contest (and a very powerful entry, at that):
Laryalee Fraser, Salmon Arm, British Columbia
Anybody feel like practicing your cherry blossom haikus?
Please feel free to freestyle haiku in the comments section below (This isn’t part of the contest, but I’m sure our readers will enjoy seeing your work).
And here’s a map of where to see the cherry blossoms, courtesy of www.vcbf.com.