I PIHC 2011 – results

1st Polish International Haiku Competition 2011

(book prizes and diplomas)


tidal flats
the white-faced heron wades
into a rainbow

Cynthia Rowe
Woollahra, Australia


Jane Reichhold: I picked this haiku for first place because to me it embodied the ideas and elements of the original idea of a haiku. From my understanding of the genre, a haiku should have dignity, be profound, exhibit a reverence for life, and in its earliest concepts, be from the world of nature. I feel haiku can teach us about the world and its miracles that exist beyond our human realm. This haiku does all of this. The tidal flats are a very magical and mystical place. The way the water creeps back and deepens without our notice is almost spooky and can be scary when one tries to return to shore and some of the rills are too deep and swift to wade. The white-faced heron does still wade the rising waters. Is it white-faced because I would be scared if I were there in that expanse of faceless water? Then the haiku makes a fabulous twist that swings my thinking from this scary stuff and leads me into, of all things, a rainbow! What a delight this is to go from being frightened and uneasy into the joyful colors of that marvel of marvels — a rainbow! Now I can understand the importance of a “white-faced” heron in a new way. From the whiteness (of light) comes the myriad colors. Yet how can this be happening in tidal flats? Then I recall how low mists and fogs will rise over the sea-damp earth and I can remember seeing small rainbows flit and shift as I have walked. This poem deserves first place because every aspect and word does its proper work to complete the impression for the reader.


late summer breeze
vesper bells begin to bronze
the evening sky

Klaus-Dieter Wirth
Viersen, Germany


Jane Reichhold: This haiku, while delightful and very correct, had one element that occupied my thoughts for nearly a week. I find the connection between late summer, when grasses and leaves dry to metallic colors, and the bronze of bells as good and “vespers” and “late summer” relate perfectly. Also the concept of “the evening sky” perfectly coincides with “late summer.” This haiku uses what I call the psuedo-science technique that was employed so well by the Japanese. We know from our experiences that in the evening, and especially in late summer when days shorten, that the sky can take on a bronze color. The haiku technique is to suggest that this color comes from the bronze bell because its sound is deep and bronze-like to such a degree that its very tones can color the sky. Speaking for me, I am very grateful that someone could be so inspired and so sensitive to have this delightful thought and shares it with us so that when I again see a darkening sky or hear a bell, I will experience them in a new way thanks to the poet who wrote this haiku. It took some time spent in pondering to figure out that it was the breeze that spread the bronze over the sky and not just the bell tones.


winter light slides into
my slippers

Bouwe Brouwer
Emmeloord, Netherlands


Jane Reichhold: This haiku beautifully demonstrates the associative technique of haiku — one of the main features of the genre. The connection is between the dawn’s winter light and the author. Both slide into the slippers. This haiku highlights (pun intended) how we as people are like the forces of nature and even offers a slight smile with the idea that the morning light ‘needs’ slippers to go across the (probably cold) room. The author wisely picked “winter light” because in the winter the sun slants in low through the windows and could, only then, reach deep into the slippers.


(in alphabetical order by haiku)

an old typewriter
in the quiet of morning
the woodpecker’s work

Adrian Bouter
Gouda, Netherlands


ashes to ashes
the north star
still burns

G. R. LeBlanc
Dieppe, Canada


election evening
the zigzag flight path
of a firefly

Eryk Margolak
Kielce, Poland


rain forest
the sharp blade of a
parrot’s cry

Wolfgang Beutke
Barum, Germany


the sea spray breaks
into seagulls

Alexander Joy
Amherst, United States


summer rain—
the church bells soothing
my pain

Andra Andronic
Botosani, Romania


summer’s end
wringing the ocean
from her hair

John McManus
Carlisle, United Kingdom


Virgin snow—
that queer urge
to leave traces

Guy Vanden Broeck
Avelgem, Belgium


wading naked
into the mountain stream. . .
the blue blue sky

Margaret Beverland
Katikati, New Zealand


waiting for the bus—
a small boy measures his shoe
against his father’s

Katherine Gallagher
London, United Kingdom



Congratulations to the winners and commended haiku poets on your superb poems!

The first edition of the Polish International Haiku Competition has gathered 304 authors from 41 countries: Australia (14), Austria (2), Bangladesh (1), Belarus (1), Belgium (3), Bhutan (1), Bosnia and Herzegovina (4), Brazil (2), Bulgaria (5), Canada (6), Croatia (31), Denmark (1), France (7), Germany (19), Greece (1), India (17), Indonesia (1), Ireland (5), Israel (2), Italy (3), Japan (3), Malaysia (3), Nepal (1), Netherlands (14), New Zealand (11), Norway (1), Philippines (2), Poland (42), Romania (21), Russia (13), Serbia (18), Singapore (1), Slovenia (1), Spain (1), Sweden (2), Switzerland (1), Trinidad and Tobago (1), Ukraine (1), United Kingdom (9), United States (31), Yemen (1).

We thank you all for such a large interest and invite everyone to participate in the second edition, which will start in August 2012.
The organizers would like to express their gratitude to Jane Reichhold for her immense readiness to help, a great sense of commitment and the time devoted to the competition. She also generously funded all the book prizes with her handwritten congratulations and signature: Basho: The Complete Haiku (1st Prize), Ten Years Haikujane (2nd and 3rd Prize).
The haiku which were not mentioned in the above results can be reused by their authors in any way.
The Polish translation of all the poems and comments — Rafał Zabratyński.

With kind regards — The Team:

Jane Reichhold, Final Judge
Rafał Zabratyński, Pre-Selector
Krzysztof Kokot, Coordinator
Grzegorz Sionkowski, Secretary