Haiku at Filoli

the birds in winter
arrive like a thunderstorm
refreshing and threatening

Filoli is known for its flowers, and winter has been thought of as a slower and quieter time. Yet the staff recognized what a special time winter is at Filoli. The bare branches, the grey skies, the just-about-to-blossom magnolias. Beauty in a winter garden is spare, resonating. Haiku with its similarly spare form and focus on nature seemed like a perfect way for Filoli to showcase the beauty of winter. Since 2020, a total of over 2,000 haiku poems have been written about Filoli’s winter garden. Here are this year’s winners and finalists.

— Hilary King, Filoli Public Programs Coordinator

In the white petals,
crinkled cups holding yellow
centers, a bee dines.

— LiAnn Yim (First Place)


Child of winter—
I hold between my hands
your pink camellia face

— Monica Korde (Second Place)


The soft hum of wings
darting among the flowers
seeking winter blooms

— Lydia Becker (Best Under 18)


Have you ever walked into
the foliate womb of a mother redwood
wanting to be unborn again

— Preetika Anand (Under 18 Finalist)


The sky wept softly
over hedges rust, poppies white
such grace in fallow times

— Heather Bourbeau (Finalist)


Fragrant air
narcissus pushing through
the rich earth

— Garry Gay (Finalist)


The trees blow and breeze
baby blue eyes push through dirt
pink camellias bloom

— Kennedy Marek (Under 18 Finalist)


Hedges watch over
buds birthed by barren branches
winter’s young emerge

— Julie Rogers (Finalist)


The shape
of sky
under a blooming magnolia

— Sharon Walter (Under 18 Finalist)


Down the garden path
wild turkey’s feathers shimmer
in the winter sun

— Alliana Lili Yang (Under 18 Finalist)

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