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Haiku poems composed during the Early Spring Imperial Pilgrimage Tour
March 2005

We cross three bridges
As snow falls. The great cedars
Sing mute, ageless hymns

(voted winner)

Japanese translation of winning haiku

san no hashi
sugi ni yuki furu
eien no kyo

Enticing aromas
Rainbow colors. Gay shoppers.
Fish fry in a pan

Petals fall softly
Upon still water. A sudden breeze!
A dog barks in fear

Udo on a plate
We eat together and laugh
How soon we will part

‘Neath the still water
Secrets appear, hide once more.
A thrown stone splashes

Peaceful mossy glade
An ancient oji stands mute
The monk's laughter peals

Tiny pink dancers
Upon a silver plain. My heart
Saddens to their song

Ernest Alabaster


Mossy covered steps
Beseeching En no Gyoja
Joy and pain combine

Seeking in Japan
Understanding difference
Weary legs move on

Snow etches
Devotion and desires
Buddha and kami observe

Spring green willows lit
Explodes with exuberance
Comes the vernal equinox

Mountain monk proclaims
Smoke and fire carry wishes
Nature heals all souls

Paula Verson


So far from Phoenix
Snow falls on the temple
Where is the sun's warmth?

Late at night we write
Haiku, to hold our visions
For the saké prize

To the hot springs
With my honey by my side
Hot inside, cold out

Many pink sakura
Can be found throughout the land
On billboards everywhere

Hike Japan arrives
We stop awhile and take baths
Eat and bathe some more

Walking the long trail
Up, up we climb, wondering
Will we ever get there?

Dawn through the temple
Answering the dragon's fire
The monk comes running

We find sakura
Lit up for our night viewing
Phones capture the sight

We climb the stairs
Stoop and enter a small room
Dinner is waiting

The conch shell roars out
To the green moss-covered shrine
The monk guides our path

Carol Albaster


What's with all those trees?
Why can't I know the answer?
Where? How? When? What? Who?

Bob san, our guide,
Smiling, always good ideas,
Patient, even with me

Walking with cold toes,
Hiking over sacred mountains
Sharing monk's passion

Alan Verson


Five cups of saké
The afternoon feels warmer
Springtime in Nara

Revealed by the monk
The tiny white flowers of
A spider orchid

Spring in Kyoto
A phone call from Paris at
Five in the morning

Maya sits watching
The fire ceremony
Mother beats the drum

Harbourside sushi
Raw Harley Davidson sound
Our chef on his bike

Delicious ayu
Woodsmoke on a cold spring night
Walking through the mountains

Bob Heffill



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