This years WiK Competition closes in just over a week on March 1, and with time running out for entries we look back on some of the best runners-up from our previous competition in 2016.  Our thanks to all those who submitted, and we hope that their ideas will stimulate new submissions in these closing days for the 2017 Competition. (For details please see the top righthand column under News.)

Maps of Kyoto’s Water:
by Kate Garnett

Eastward, rivers inked
with sakura flow throughout
time. For centuries

they move through ancient
city streets, cleaning deep wounds
of war, dousing shrines

that are asunder,
while tea water, equally
as vital, is poured

into younomi.
This simple act will never
change. Whether whisked by

geisha’s elegant
hands or encapsulated
in vending machines,

even one hurrying
out will always stop to drink—
just as one is stopped

by autumn’s first snow
as it laces the ponds where
koi fish liquesce, just

as spring’s warm rainfall
dissolves into garden lakes
of imperial

castles where even
ancient samurai take brief
reprieve to quench throats—

because that same vein
of water, reflecting glass-
faced towers, scarlet

tori, and sky , are
both the surface and the rain
that inspires it.

STORY SUBMISSION by Mark Schumacher

A sudden downpour stops soon after starting. The water-laden trees shimmer in the radiance of the resurrected sun. The wind caresses the trees, shedding them of their tears. The camellia flower cries in joy, dropping its red petals to adorn the lonely stone path. I descend, not knowing if I remember or forget. Kyoto is such a place. Every stone, every tree, every inch of soil has a story.

           Snow in Kyoto 2015  by Kiyoko Ogawa


this snowless town turning

into a silver world overnight

the yurikamomes are departed

the old river, run slowly, till we end our time


a dingy tiny snowman

standing in the narrow alley


no children in sight fighting snowball

but the ojizo-san is surely watching them


bamboos and aoki trees bent by the snow

sasanquas silent in the garden of a deserted house


afternoon brings the bright sun

melting everything at ultra-high speed


from snow dream

to our Kyoto routine

with splash & bang

TWO POEMS by Travis Roy Venters jr

First poem: Ikkyu Under Shijo Bashi

Every waking, moving moment
His shadow cries. Death. Death is near.
Ikkyu fills anther cup and laughs.
Too bad shadow; I can’t take you with me.

Second poem: Kyoto 2015 AD

Getting into temples costs more
But incense burning is the same.
At Koryuji temple gardeners tel you
The temple moss is also sacred
But there is no clear evidence why.

Tourists from around the world,
Realize all the Buddhas thought
The world of illusion and all that
Unrolled flat like a scroll with the
Center the center of a square.
California was not even a remote
Possibility. Every photo you take of
Kiyomizu-Dera or the tigers in Nanzen-jiI
Is imbued with many, many false memories.
You want Eastern Wisdom to show
The folks back home? Photograph
The ribbons of silk dye rushing by
In the river under Sanjo Bashi.

Kyoto Botanical Gardens in Late October
by Branko Manojlovic

It is the season of high camp:

a monster triptych, anchored

in the lotus pond. A plastic

sylph both smiling and sad,


both looking and staring

at Mount Hiei. To her right

a fifty-foot globe: spike-

beset, turd-coloured.


To the left, a grossness

with electric ruby eyes

vomiting gallons of pond

water back into the pond.


Nearby woods, cameras

with preposterous lenses

waiting in ambush for

an elusive songbird.


They miss a pastiche of ghost

-white: a wedding dress gliding

past nude cherry trees,

the groom ten yards behind.


And by the crocus path

a slender bronze reclining,

worthy of Rodin (no more

than yet another oddity),


four bite-sized dogs scamper

around obā-chan’s legs.

Even the water mill spins

faster than it ought to.