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Museum of Haiku Literature Award—Blithe Spirit (1992– )

Through the generosity of the Museum of Haiku Literature in Tokyo, since 1992 the British Haiku Society has received an annual gift in support of an award for the best poem of each quarterly issue of its journal, Blithe Spirit. A selector for each issue is named by the Blithe Spirit editor, although a pattern was established early on that the winner from one issue would become the judge for the next issue. From the outset winning poets have received a £50 prize and a certificate. The chosen haiku, and usually one or more runners-up, are featured and discussed in the following issue of Blithe Spirit.


The table below presents, in reverse chronological order, the winning haiku, its author, the issue of Blithe Spirit in which the poem was originally published, and the award selector.

HaikuPoetIssue / Selector
Blithe Spirit 34:2
(May 2024),
Andrew Shimield
school satchel
the weight of a life
not yet lived
Andrew ShimieldBlithe Spirit 34:1
(February 2024),
Pris Campbell
falling leaf
I learn the gravity
of dying
Pris CampbellBlithe Spirit 33:4
(November 2023),
Carole MacRury
another summer
another notch
in the old rabbit’s ears
Carole MacRuryBlithe Spirit 33:3
(August 2023),
Debbi Antebi
toddler’s bedtime
searching for the moon
room to room
Debbi AntebiBlithe Spirit 33:2
(May 2023),
Gary Hotham
my brother’s grave
dew carried away
on a pair of shoes
Gary HothamBlithe Spirit 33:1
(February 2023),
Michele Root-Bernstein
evening shadows lengthening my strideMichele Root-BernsteinBlithe Spirit 32:4
(November 2022),
Helen Buckingham
bluebells
congregate …
getting there
Helen BuckinghamBlithe Spirit 32:3
(July 2022),
Clare McCotter
standing water
a deer
nosing the moon
Clare McCotterBlithe Spirit 32:2
(May 2022),
frances angela
broken window pane birdsong as i showerfrances angelaBlithe Spirit 32:1
(February 2022),
Tanya McDonald
between hummingbirds our conversationTanya McDonaldBlithe Spirit 31:4
(November 2021),
Kristen Lindquist
hurricane update
the soft adagio
of the crickets
Kristen LindquistBlithe Spirit 31:3
(August 2021),
Kate B Hall
I greet the sun
every morning even when
I can’t see it
Kate B HallBlithe Spirit 31:2
(May 2021),
Phillip Murrell
feeding the stray
I cannot take in
the endless stars
Phillip MurrellBlithe Spirit 31:1
(February 2021)
Susan King
decluttering until my one-eared lambSusan KingBlithe Spirit 30:4
(November 2020),
eddy lee
wind and frogsong
not enough quilt
for my shoulder
eddy leeBlithe Spirit 30:3
(August 2020),
Debbie Strange
prairie town
rusted rails lead us
into sunrise
Debbie StrangeBlithe Spirit 30:2
(May 2020),
Anna Maris
sleet
our promise to stay
in touch
Anna MarisBlithe Spirit 30:1
(February 2020),
David Jacobs
autumn twilight
a bat
flickers past my window
Graham HumphreyBlithe Spirit 29:4
(November 2019),
Dennis Tomlinson
yellow gorse
I push your wheelchair
over hidden bumps
Dennis TomlinsonBlithe Spirit 29:3
(August 2019),
Gary Hotham
the line for coffee curves
the same design
on each cup
Gary HothamBlithe Spirit 29:2
(May 2019),
Steve Dolphy
one daffodil
leans against another—
she would have been one by now
Steve DolphyBlithe Spirit 29:1
(February 2019),
Paul Beech
wisps from a steam iron
coil through time
my young mum sings
Paul BeechBlithe Spirit 28:4
(November 2018),
Debbie Strange
sun spider
I centre myself
in its web
Debbie StrangeBlithe Spirit 28:3
(August 2018),
Mary Weiler
a sea of oats
skinny-dipping
in grandpa’s silo
Mary WeilerBlithe Spirit 28:2
(May 2018),
Phillip Murrell
the dinosaur room
my charge’s tiny hand
slips into mine
Phillip MurrellBlithe Spirit 28:1
(February 2018),
Diana Webb
Sunday morning
just a wood pigeon’s call
and the click of Lego
Diana WebbBlithe Spirit 27:4
(November 2017),
Tecla Schotanus
children’s voices
over the water
once my own
Tecla SchotanusBlithe Spirit 27:3
(August 2017),
Kohjin Sakamoto
spring morning …
ploughing the warm air
into the soil
Kohjin SakamotoBlithe Spirit 27:2
(May 2017),
David J Kelly
red velvet
carelessly unwrapping
new antlers
David J KellyBlithe Spirit 27:1
(February 2017),
Rose Ades
october morning
noticing the changing colours
of your hair
Seán McWilliamsBlithe Spirit 26:4
(November 2016),
Gary Hotham
other lives
a coat of paint
below ours
Gary HothamBlithe Spirit 26:3
(September 2016),
Dietmar Tauchner
quarter moon
the parts of being
in darkness
Dietmar TauchnerBlithe Spirit 26:2
(May 2016),
John Rowlands
vacant seats
on sunbaked sands
plane debris
John RowlandsBlithe Spirit 26:1
(February 2016),
Debbie Strange
split chrysalis
all the ways we learn
to become small
Debbie StrangeBlithe Spirit 25:4
(November 2015),
Colin Blundell
This great sunlit beach
making anger and grief
impossible
Ken JonesBlithe Spirit 25:3
(August 2015),
Ron Woollard
our last meeting—
I still remember
to shut the gate
Ron WoollardBlithe Spirit 25:2
(May 2015),
Colin Oliver
the burn of far lights
all the darkness
listening
Colin OliverBlithe Spirit 25:1
(February 2015),
David J Kelly
first rain
the country lane’s secrets
spoken aloud
David J KellyBlithe Spirit 24:4
(November 2014),
Bill Wyatt
Lingering within it
but the longest day
soon passes
Bill WyattBlithe Spirit 24:3
(August 2014),
Jo Pacsoo
a whole lifetime
into one small room
snow on the hills
Jo PacsooBlithe Spirit 24:2
(May 2014),
John Parsons
lily buds sink
unopened
all those plans I made
John ParsonsBlithe Spirit 24:1
(February 2014),
Ce Rosenow
porch swing my feelings come and goCe RosenowBlithe Spirit 23:4
(November 2013),
Frances Angela
dancing lessons
things i didn’t know
about my father
Frances AngelaBlithe Spirit 23:3
(August 2013),
Colin Oliver
nothing said
the stone axe
weighed in his palm
Colin OliverBlithe Spirit 23:2
(May 2013),
John Parsons
our old garden chairs
held together
by sunlit webs
John ParsonsBlithe Spirit 23:1
(February 2013),
Margery Newlove
the plum tree
full again
with fruit and dark shadows
Margery NewloveBlithe Spirit 22:4
(December 2012),
Edith Bartholomeusz
forbidden love
carved in stone
the weight of longing
Edith BartholomeuszBlithe Spirit 22:3
(August 2012),
Klaus-Dieter Wirth
after the divorce
… could have rag-bagged even
her brand-new bra
Klaus-Dieter WirthBlithe Spirit 22:2
(May 2012),
Leo Lavery
frost
the postman curses
the stuck gate
Leo LaveryBlithe Spirit 22:1
(March 2012),
Humberto Gatica
slowly
moonlight moves
into her silence
Humberto GaticaBlithe Spirit 21:4
(December 2011),
Ken Jones
Ot there on the bar
a line of wild breakers
makes up my mind
Ken JonesBlithe Spirit 21:3
(September 2011),
Graham Duff
crimson tulips
beneath silver birch
the spaces she left
Graham DuffBlithe Spirit 21:2
(June 2011),
Clare McCotter
in freezing fog
what might have been
a light
Clare McCotterBlithe Spirit 21:1
(March 2011),
Maeve O’Sullivan
I blow raspberries
into your tiny palm—
sleepy nephew
Maeve O’SullivanBlithe Spirit 20:4
(December 2010),
Polly Joel
How long does this firefly
stay motionless
on my palm ?
Yasuhiko ShigemotoBlithe Spirit 20:3
(September 2010),
frances angela
summer opening hours
she reads her book
on the library steps
frances angelaBlithe Spirit 20:2
(June 2010),
Keith J Coleman
meteor watch:
sailing down heaven in the wee hours,
a white gull
Keith J ColemanBlithe Spirit 20:1
(March 2010),
Fred Schofield
a lone swan’s
loud wingbeats
half the river’s width
Fred SchofieldBlithe Spirit 19:4
(December 2009),
Malcolm Williams
mountain moon—
sheep’s eyes glow in
the car’s headlights
Malcolm WilliamsBlithe Spirit 19:3
(September 2009),
Graham High
sickle moon—
the cat creeps along a wall
of broken bottles
Graham HighBlithe Spirit 19:2
(June 2009),
Clare McCotter
Snow bent branches
moonlight
slides to the ground
Natalia L. RudychevBlithe Spirit 19:1
(March 2009),
Mark Rutter
Dust motes
in a lexicon of light
the library’s faded colours
Clare McCotterBlithe Spirit 18:4
(December 2008),
Diana Webb
rainy pavement—
our big umbrella
blooms every puddle
Mark RutterBlithe Spirit 18:3
(September 2008),
Felicity Brooksmith
mid-February—
if you were here
I know that you’d listen
and tell me it’s true
that I can hear a song thrush
Felicity BrooksmithBlithe Spirit 18:2
(June 2008),
Graham High
first snow
she runs to every window
just to check
Ron WoollardBlithe Spirit 18:1
(March 2008),
Frank Williams
Oh … the smell
Still a trace of summer
In the autumn night
Humberto GaticaBlithe Spirit 17:4
(December 2007),
Maggie West
southerly flow
the blue heron
hunches his shoulders
Patricia PrimeBlithe Spirit 17:3
(September 2007),
Katherine Gallagher
oppressively seasoned
a taste of Indian
summer

twilight mist
lingering in the valley
last train home
Max Scrag



Edmund Gentle
Blithe Spirit 17:2
(June 2007),
David Steele
(two haiku by young people selected)
Hollow ruins
the keep
filled with winter sun
Ken JonesBlithe Spirit 17:1
(March 2007),
Annie Bachini
in the autumn light
a prehistoric circle
—just bales of hay

money changes hand
when buying the newspaper—
but not eye contact
Philip AshtonBlithe Spirit 16:4
(December 2006),
Andrew Detheridge
(two haiku selected)
how quickly it’s been …
from the shared taxi, to you
pairing my socks
Andrew DetheridgeBlithe Spirit 16:3
(September 2006),
Caroline Robson
two weeks on the geriatric ward
my elderly aunt
now identical to all the rest
Caroline RobsonBlithe Spirit 16:2
(June 2006),
Basem Farid
forty years on
in a different continent
a smell from childhood
Basem FaridBlithe Spirit 16:1
(March 2006),
Leo Lavery
birthday
always Autumn
always leaves falling
Leo LaveryBlithe Spirit 15:4
(December 2005),
Diana Webb
behind the beach hut
my everlasting world
of pebbles
Diana WebbBlithe Spirit 15:3
(September 2005),
Martin Lucas
a rusting ladder
down to the river
autumn clouds
Martin LucasBlithe Spirit 15:2
(June 2005),
John McDonald
lower and lower,
    the daffodils’ heads
       in the rain
John McDonaldBlithe Spirit 15:1
(March 2005),
Andrew Shimield
white fish bones
   scattered among the rocks
        winter sunrise
Ross FigginsBlithe Spirit 14:4
(December 2004),
Martin Lucas
swaying yet unbroken
over the hidden land-mine
a spider’s web

Ružica Mokos Matuka
Blithe Spirit 14:3
(September 2004),
Katherine Gallagher
almost hidden
behind the house—
an ancient orchard in flower
Katherine GallagherBlithe Spirit 14:2
(June 2004),
frances angela
toy shop
little girl
eyeing what I buy
frances angelaBlithe Spirit 14:1
(March 2004),
Janet Blundell
silence—
after the diagnosis
silence
F. Matthew BlaineBlithe Spirit 13:4
(December 2003),
Andrew Detheridge
blue sky:
so full of mountain
so full of silence
Andrew DetheridgeBlithe Spirit 13:3
(September 2003),
Jean Michel Guillaumond
in the land
of the blue sun
eyes closed

Jean Michel Guillaumond
Blithe Spirit 13:2
(June 2003),
Graham High
after the avalanche
kisses
like snowflakes

pink fissure of dawn
the sky slowly lifts
from the land
Graham HighBlithe Spirit 13:1
(March 2003),
Klaus-Dieter Wirth
(two haiku selected)
So great the silence
the mime’s rowing through, he rolls
without any boat
Klaus-Dieter WirthBlithe Spirit 12:4
(December 2002),
Heather Kirk
on the birdbath’s rim
a hesitant blackbird—
    at last the tears
Heather KirkBlithe Spirit 12:3
(September 2002),
Claire Bugler Hewitt
fallen leaves
have narrowed the road
to a pram’s width
Claire Bugler HewittBlithe Spirit 12:2
(June 2002),
David Walker
sound of drizzle
between power lines
a fuzzy moon
David WalkerBlithe Spirit 12:1
(March 2002),
John McDonald
Concave
  against the baby’s head:
    the mother’s cheek.
John McDonaldBlithe Spirit 11:4
(December 2001),
David Cobb
in a darker wind
hands in each other’s pockets—
rhododendron leaves
David CobbBlithe Spirit 11:3
(September 2001),
Ken Jones
From lamp to lamp
a rakish fellow
striding forward, falling back
Ken JonesBlithe Spirit 11:2
(June 2001),
Ama Bolton
frost underfoot
and a ring round the moon
light-years wide
Ama BoltonBlithe Spirit 11:1
(March 2001),
D. J. Peel
The fiddler’s wife
watching his fingers move
knits him a scarf
Kim Paul RichardsonBlithe Spirit 10:4
(December 2000),
Janet Blundell
Singing the storm
our words      hurl
in the spinning drift
Arwyn EvansBlithe Spirit 10:3
(September 2000),
David Steele
Those new glasses
make her eyes look brighter
dog-eared Rubaiyat 
Ross FigginsBlithe Spirit 10:2
(June 2000),
Ken Jones
      Still there
the hills of childhood
   still unclimbed.
W M TidmarshBlithe Spirit 10:1
(March 2000),
Ernest J. Berry
Shaking old leaves
the crow perches
in a low moon
Arwyn EvansBlithe Spirit 9:4
(December 1999),
Helen Robinson
absently
getting up to answer
next door’s phone
David RollinsBlithe Spirit 9:3
(September 1999),
Patricia V. Dawson
           helicopter—
poets glance at the ceiling
Frank DullaghanBlithe Spirit 9:2
(June 1999),
Matthew Paul
Hoar frost—
barbed wire
blossoms
Arwyn EvansBlithe Spirit 9:1
(March 1999),
Stuart Quine
the baby’s come at last—
grandpa congratulates
grandmother
Dick PettitBlithe Spirit 8:4
(December 1998)
Cicely Hill
can’t sleep tonight—
I love the baby
too much
Claire Bugler HewittBlithe Spirit 8:3
(September 1998)
Keith Coleman
Willy-nilly
through her ashes
mother’s daffodils
David LeatherBlithe Spirit 8:2
(June 1998),
Fred Schofield
clouds scudding
                         fast birds
                                        blown over trees
David SteeleBlithe Spirit 8:1
(March 1998),
Dick Pettit
our bare feet
next to each other
next to the ocean
Gary HothamBlithe Spirit 7:4
(November 1997),
ai li

even in my pocket
it is everywhere
this morning’s spring wind
Gilles FabreBlithe Spirit 7:3
(August 1997),
Susumu Takiguchi
virile young men
shooting their semen
out in the trenches
Mirko VidovićBlithe Spirit 7:2
(May 1997),
Caroline Gourlay
The Bon moon
shining over the Tower
of London 
Yasuhiko ShigemotoBlithe Spirit 7:1
(February 1997),
Richard Goring
Herb Robert
growing by the tracks
     rust on the rails
Maggie WestBlithe Spirit 6:4
(December 1996),
Bill Wyatt
evening—
the her heads gatewards
    the traffic thins
Jackie HardyBlithe Spirit 6:3
(August 1996),
George Swede
four legs outstretched
       a turtle floats—
       first cherry blossoms
Tsunehiko HoshinoBlithe Spirit 6:2
(May 1996),
Annie Bachini
Wind tears an old web
insects’ husks spin off
in a last brief flight
Edward D GloverBlithe Spirit 6:1
(February 1996),
Kohjin Sakamoto
this winter night
my only company
an unknown star
Nika [Jim Force]Blithe Spirit 5:4
(November 1995),
Jackie Hardy
smell of last year’s fire
down the chimney
with each autumn gust
Janice M BostokBlithe Spirit 5:3
(August 1995),
David Cobb
in winter silence
oystercatchers swoop down
on the cold sand
Jack HillBlithe Spirit 5:2
(May 1995),
Martin Lucas
after the goodbye kiss
   the sweetness
      of a russet apple 
Martin LucasBlithe Spirit 5:1
(February 1995),
Fred Schofield
        estuary
the artist’s brush
catches the hot sun
Ruth RobinsonBlithe Spirit 4:4
(November 1994)
Tsunehiko Hoshino
Outside the classroom
the bicycles stand all day
in spring rain
David SteeleBlithe Spirit 4:3
(August 1994),
Susan Rowley
In the tiny purplish mushroom,
All of the dampness,
All of the twilight
Of some distant forest floor
Tito [Stephen Gill]Blithe Spirit 4:2
(May 1994),
Cicely Hill
evening hush …
a tabby cat
slips through the railings

cars race noisily
into
the gentleness of drizzle
Martin LucasBlithe Spirit 4:1
(February 1994),
Stephen Gill
(two haiku selected)
Still unopened
The greenish hydrangea flowers:
The taste of tea 
Cicely HillBlithe Spirit 3:4
(October 1993),
George Marsh
a cake of ice
    leaves the shore
        at the touch of my finger
Kohjin SakamotoBlithe Spirit 3:3
(July 1993),
Jim Norton
startled in tall grass
the pheasant’s wings beat
faster than my heart
Jackie HardyBlithe Spirit 3:2
(April 1993),
Dee Evetts
on the fixture list
the name of the groundsman
we buried last week 
David CobbBlithe Spirit 3:1
(January 1993),
Colin Blundell
in a passing car
just in time to see
the batsman, out
Jackie HardyBlithe Spirit 2:4
(October 1992),
James Kirkup

Compiled by the Haikupedia Editors


Sources / Further Reading

  • High, Graham, ed. Barbed Wire Blossoms: The Museum of Haiku Literature Award Anthology 1992–2011. Essex, U.K.: British Haiku Society, 2012.

Blithe Spirit

Museum of Haiku Literature, Tokyo

Museum of Haiku Literature Award—Frogpond (1981– )

Updated on May 26, 2024