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Haiku poems composed during the Imperial Pilgrimage Route tour May 2007

Drive a narrow road
Drunken monk says ‘Good and bad'
Is this Nirvana?

(voted best haiku)

Japanese translation of winning haiku


hosomichi zo
‘guddo ando baddo'
satori kana


Millions of children
The temple stands serenely
Japan 's Disneyland ?

Take off my slippers
Put on my tiny slippers
Tall guy bangs his head

Mike Keesee


Ancient sculptured stone
Zigzag pattern on a rock
Gillian's footprint

Terraced paddy fields
Blanketed under pine trees
Ancestral ghosts weep

Fresh green leaves through steam;
Hot spa water clouds my brain
Shall I sleep again?

Eyes fixed on the path
Blood pounding in my temples;
Please Bob, let's stop now.

John Vernon


From the forest floor
Camelia in her hand
Drinking up the sweat

John Vernon and Gillian Higenbottam


Like Basho's lady
I search but cannot hear you

Listening in vain as I walk
Through the cypress trees

Green temple garden
Thick grey clouds fill the sky – then,
Wind from the mountains

Sound of pilgrim's bell
Ahh … so apologetic
Now hear the pine wind

Gillian Higenbottam


Nightingale aloft
And quietly underfoot
Japanese birdsong

Monkeys cross the road
But Mike sees nothing, nothing
Reggae in the van

Jonathan and Jane
Mike, Mignon, Gillian too
Eat Japan with Bob

Geisha girls dancing
The plot seems quite elusive
Hike Japan ending

Jonathan Mould


On nightingale floors
We tiptoed past golden screens
A shoguns castle

Through whispering pines
A mossy stream meanders
And a lone frog croaks

Take off my boots dear
And both my socks, darling
Cherry blossom love

Jane Mould


Eat , not ‘Hike Japan '
Ball of algae in my soup
Crunchy eel backbones

Everywhere you look
Decorating the tall trees
Wild wisteria

Hear nightingales' call
As we walk through the palace
Engineering ‘feet'

In stiletto heels
And over-the-knee socks
Kyoto Lolas

In the Nara Mall
There is a jazz bar
With fifties furniture

Birds announce the dawn
Tatami mats smell like grass
Better than camping

Combed and elegant
Sandcastles in the garden
Are silver temples

Hard hiking
We walked thirty-thousand steps
To a waterfall

Tiny pink azaleas
Shift to orange and ocean blue

Mignon Marks


Lost in my dreams
Flutter by a butterfly
Who is dreaming who?

Little millipede
If I had as many legs
I should surely trip

We've covered some ground!
Mostly climbing up and up
And downed a few

Green, green, green, green, green
Children at Nanzenji … rain …
Sound of the ocean

Bob Heffill


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