Bumper-to-Bumper Haiku

Back in April, we invited readers to submit haiku appropriate for bumper stickers. Word of the contest spread, aided by the Internet, and more than 900 poets responded. We received nearly 3,000 poems! That made our haiku contest one of the biggest in the United States. Poetry came from across the US, as well as from Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and Japan. They were judged by haiku poets Carol Purington and Larry Kimmel, and Poetry Editor Elizabeth Lund. Everyone who entered will receive a copy of the first-prize sticker. Second- and third-place winners will receive color designs of their haiku. Honorable mentions also appear here. Many thanks to everyone who participated!


FIRST-PLACE POEM: The judges loved the way this entry gracefully captured a mood, a moment, and a season, the criteria for all good haiku.


summer traffic

my shadow rides up

a stranger's neck

- John Stevenson


SECOND PLACE: This haiku also creates a striking image, the judges said, and hints at the connection between humans and nature.


stalled traffic...

a solitary hawk


- Marianna Monaco


THIRD PLACE: The judges found the humor here irresistible. The poet captured the 'personality' of the meter.


parking meter

sucking in coins

still skinny

- Del Turner


Traffic Haiku


smiling for

the highway speed-trap


--Kris Kondo,

Kanagawa, Japan


in the afterglow

the rush-hour roar

swallows my footsteps

--Gyo Nishimata,

Chiba, Japan


Mechanical geese

We migrate in formation

Bumper to bumper

--Amy Berrier,

Tamworth, N.H.


Rush-hour traffic,

heavy clouds begin to pour.

Instant brake-lights sea.

--Carol Hample

Bozeman, Mont.


The Commute

Stop-and-go morning.

Bleary eyes and yawns musing

their stop-and-go night.

--Norm D. Bloom



big city street;

men eyeing women,

women, their feet

--Charles P. Trumbull,

Evanston, Ill.


Traditional Haiku


Stopping by a Farm

Cattle eyes round and dull

by the fence. Two quick cats

watch our wheels.

--John McBride,

Bettendorf, Iowa


the smile of a passing hiker

my uphill

his downhill

--Marianna Monaco,

San Francisco


empty inlet


bleating, bleating

--Jimi Weiss,

Tulsa, Okla.


Hush! you fisherman on

Miamas River.


--Mary Virginia Lucas,

New Canaan, Conn.


cat and ice cube

summer hockey:

puck soon puddle

--Barbara Beth Whitewater,

Mesa, Ariz.



on the leaves


--Alexis K. Rotella,

Los Gatos, Calif.


Haiku by Younger Poets


As he whizzed by,

A flash of red caught my eye -

And the officer's.

--Alex Dixon

Franklin, Penn.

Grade 5


Highway lane divider

White-line Morse code -

Always dashes

--Justin Stone,

Redding, Conn.

Grade 4


On the interstate

In the brightness of the moon

Fly through outer space

--Alyssa Meinberg

Coppell, Texas

Grade 8


Golden arches stretch

toward the heavenly sky.

The car heads to McDonald's.

--Erica Lindgren

Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Grade 8

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