DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Here in Washington, D.C., tomorrow, it's the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. The pink flowers are in full bloom, everywhere you look. Petals are covering the streets. And since Washington's first cherry trees were a gift from Japan, we figured what better tribute than a haiku. The tiny poems have five syllables on the first line, seven on the next line, and five syllables on the last line. Our call-out on Facebook for blossom haikus yielded hundreds of spring poems. And with help from the Haiku Society of America, we found a few favorites and we called up the poets.
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CHRISTINE COLON: When I just wrote down the lines, I just thought about how the cherry blossoms are not out for us, but we're being let in to their natural beauty. The sun's light caress opens the cherry blossoms and lets us all in.
TIM O'MALLEY: On Jefferson's watch, pink cherry blossoms reflect at the water's edge.
JUDY TOTTS: Street lamps in the haze; this morning the stone lions catch cherry blossoms.
PAUL CONNEALLY: We haven't quite got cherry blossoms out yet. The weather's so bad. I live in Loughborough, which is in the midlands of England. I've been writing haiku about 20 years. For me, haiku are exactly capturing moments.
Park bench takeaway, the sky and cherry blossoms, in a cup of tea.
PEYTON PRICE: Well, as someone who writes haiku every day, I'm also inspired by the cherry blossoms, and I appreciate how people are inspired by them. But I also think it's funny to see the haiku kind of come and go with the blossoms. So you'll see a big bloom of haiku on Twitter, when the cherry blossoms bloom. And then so many people - that's it. That's their haiku for the year, and then they're moving on to other things. As pink fades to green, 1 million haiku poets put away their pens.
GREENE: That was Christine Colon, in San Diego; Tim O'Malley, in Scranton, Pa.; Judy Totts, in Medina, Ohio; Paul Conneally, who sent us a poem all the way from England; and Peyton Price, from the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Now, if you'd like to see the gorgeous flowers these poets are writing about for yourself, you can head to our website. We've put together some videos inspired by some of these haiku, at NPR.org.
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