this spring night...
suddenly my desires
are very simple

—Marjorie Buettner

This is the first place winner of the April 2003 tinywords haiku contest. The author will receive several prizes from our sponsors: a copy of Yoshiko Yoshino's book Tsuru from Deep North Press, a one-year subscription to the haiku magazine haijinx, and a one-year subscription to the haiku magazine bottle rockets.

From the judges' comments: "This is an appealing haiku with good seasonal feeling and a nice connection between nature and human nature. ... it takes a fresh look at 'spring night' as a season word--that is, it adds something to the traditional seasonal understanding." ... "With this haiku I get that wonderful, energizing feel of the first few warm spring nights when all plans and responsibilities get put on hold." ... "There is a transparency here that lets the reader into the moment directly. It reminds me of many Japanese haiku, for example some of Shiki's on 'tranquility' -- a spring kigo."

About the author: Marjorie has recently won First place in the Tinywords haiku contest, 2003, Third place in the first Hoshino Takashi Award 2003, and Honorable Mention in the first Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition, 2003. In 2002, she won First place in Harold G. Henderson's Haiku Society of America contest. Marjorie also writes book reviews for North Stone Review, Modern Haiku and the World Haiku Review on line.


Responses to the haiku for 2 May 2003 by Marjorie Buettner

    Michael Meyerhofer
    2003-05-02 15:46:18

    It seems strange to say this, but I thought this poem left TOO much room for interpretation, by not attaching itself to a single moment in time. The image of a spring night clarifying--or intensifying--one's particular desires is a very attractive concept, but without any idea of what those desires are (romantic, sexual, intellectual, artistic, etc.), it seems to me that the reader is left with the responsibility of becoming the poem (by plugging in their own memories or desires to finish it), rather than simply enjoying the poem.

    I know it's a very narrow line between giving the reader too little, and giving them too much. This poem seemed the former in my opinion, but of course everyone's free to disagree! :)

    Regardless, congratulations to Marjorie (and everyone else) on the contest, and I definitely look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

    2003-05-02 16:47:11

    Very nice work, good thought. - Deborah

    Tad Wojnicki (wojnicki at aol dot com)
    2003-05-02 20:25:04

    I'm amazed at the judges' unison appreciation of a haiku which appears to be nothing more than raw stuff. As a greenhorn haijin, I'm left with my jaw hanging,,, who'd taught me all the wrong things about what a haiku was?

    One thing hit me: This haiku lacks a haiku moment. What moment makes this night different than any other night? We don't know. It's not clear. Not transparent. A moment is a moment, and this haiku doesn't illuminate one. Sorry.

    d' Abrigeon J. Louis
    2003-05-03 02:12:32

    Je vous remercie de ne plus me faire parvenir de poèmes à l'avenir.

    Je me permets de vous signaler, que le choix du haïku gagnant ( Marjorie Buettner ) n'est pas judicieuX. "Ne fait pas partir au pays des songes..." ( niveau insuffisant bas pour un premier prix de concours...)

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-05-03 23:26:06

    to think i was by myself on rejecting what others felt to be "brilliant", not true.
    abrigeon, tad, and michael voiced my opinion.

    clarity, here, was certainly dimmed, as i mentioned before, upon reading the second place haiku, i felt this was where the judging exhibited a pivotal move, better said, "an about face".

    my only regret was abrigeon didn't translate their comment for those not nurtured in the french language.

    i would do a remake of the comment, however to this, i leave it up to abrigeon, for something may be lost in the translation.

    2003-05-04 12:18:52

    This is truly a grand piece; the word 'suddenly' in Line 2, does so much for the mood of this poem, and says so much, as a bridge between the kigo and the experience.
    Spring long awaited; has come and the change it brings...
    A lovely piece

    John R. Snyder (jsnyder at pobox dot com)
    2003-05-05 07:10:02

    Like the spring night it mentions, this is a simple, lucent piece that offers transformation to the discerning reader.

    A good choice by the judges.

    Marlene Egger
    2003-05-05 09:42:03

    What a disarming haiku!
    It has a beautiful tone and great haiku spirit. It focuses the reader on an experience we have all had but perhaps not put so eloquently into so few words.

    Bilingual (English/Japanese) haijin are creating new bridges between how we learned to write haiku in English and how haiku are written in Japanese, and this haiku is in the same spirit.

    2003-05-07 01:23:54

    I did get a "haiku moment" out of this haiku. This moment said "blah".

    2003-05-13 16:02:20

    sex sells. A shining example.

    Elizabeth Errol-Downing
    2003-05-24 10:01:51

    I am disappointed at the choice for winner (Marjorie)in this contest. I wonder if there existed too few entries? This poem lacks intellect and artistic temperament.

    2003-07-21 08:20:54

    What a bunch of confused comments, especially the negative ones.

    no "haiku moment" - Huh? The stuff about a haiku moment in haiku is just a bunch of malarkey that we English haiku poets inherited from some early English books on haiku, especially those that overemphasized the importance of Zen in haiku.

    "sex sells" - that comment probably says more about Phil than it says about Marjorie's very fine haiku.

    About the haiku itself: Spring is a time of renewal and change -- sometimes gradual, and sometimes dramatic. Here someone's desires have also changed suddenly. That suggest a quick change in the Spring weather as well.

    About sex? Hah! Sex is never simple IMHO. Reading a haiku is as much about reading BETWEEN the lines as reading the surface of the words. For this haiku the simple desires are just for a fresh peach. If it is about sex at all, it is probably about the warm fuzzy feeling one gets from cuddling with a long-time companion on a crisp Spring night.


    Arlene Trudelle
    2003-09-04 09:08:43

    I was very recently introduced to haiku... fell in love instantly... even entered the Harold G Henderson contest this year. About Marjorie's winning entry, I feel the haiku moment to be an internal one, in this particular selection; every bit as real as a described external instant! Well done & congratulations, Marjorie.

    john tiong chunghoo (bagiruang at yahoo dot com)
    2004-01-05 08:52:35

    visiting friend
    the loneliness
    in her kitchen

    d' Abrigeon Jean Louis
    2004-04-02 00:20:38

    Madame, Monsieur,

    Il serait souhaitable que le niveau des haïku présentés, tel celui-ci soit revu à la hausse...

    Il ne faudrait pas prendre ses désirs pour des réalités !

    Gros progrés à faire...
    Salutations poétiques!

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-04-02 05:37:03

    il entendait son coeur battre. ah!!! pourquoi, pourquoi ne marchait-il pas docilement avec les autres sur la route ? y étes-vous? on ne sait jamais.

    avoir hiver