2022 Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge
A selection of entries
Spring wildflowers at Memaloose. (photographer: Sharon Philpott)

For the third consecutive year, to celebrate National Poetry Month and International Haiku Poetry Day on April 17, Friends of the Columbia Gorge has hosted a special Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge.

The challenge was originally developed in spring 2020 to provide the public with a way to remain virtually connected with the Columbia Gorge and celebrate its wonders while supporting the temporary closure of public lands due to public safety concerns caused by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Friends has continued the challenge, ever since, as an ongoing public engagement tool to bring people together, through art, to illustrate why it's so important to protect, preserve, and steward the Columbia Gorge for future generations. This year Gorge admirers continued to poetically express their appreciation, submitting more than 155 haiku

As always, the sheer amount of worthy entries left Friends staff with some hard choices about which haiku to highlight. In the end, we selected 22 haiku entries to share for 2022 International Poetry Day that embody the creative avenues available to explore the many ways one can connect with the outdoors and appreciate the wonders of the Columbia Gorge. Thanks to all of those who wrote, submitted, and shared a haiku. We hope you enjoy this year's selections!

“Real haiku is the soul of poetry. Anything that is not actually present in one's heart is not haiku. The moon glows, flowers bloom, insects cry, water flows. There is no place we cannot find flowers or think of the moon. This is the essence of haiku."Santoka Taneda (1882-1940)

Friends 2022 Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge: Some of Our Favorites

Dark green and light bronze
Steep forests and bare basalt
The Gorge surprises.

(Sharon Ross)


Shimmering waters
Frolicking through verdant woods.
Nourishing our souls.

(Steve Carples)


slip off socks and boots
splash on mossy dripping rock
cold brews at sunset

(Julie McQuary)


Daisies nod their heads,
Greeting the morning sun, while
Bees drink sweet nectar.

(Zoe Hoyt)


Winter's icy grip
Gone. Water flows, Gorge awakes
Explodes in colors

(Judy B)

(photographer: Joan Kvitka)

Multnomah Falls hangs
                        like frozen wind--battered in
a gorge of silence.

(Jack Lorts)


Ancient stone and wood
that connects us to our past
The Gorge is our home

(Tyler Love)


Breathe in pure being
Nurtured by rocks, river, sky
Breathe out renewal

(Mary Kay August)


Ancient and new.
Among her splendors we stand,
Breathless in each light.

(Connie Coleman)


Beige and blue cliff sides
Channel heat and cold water
Gusts whip hair and sail

(Julie Denny)


Gorge falls, winds chant hymns
Wildflowers paint canvas hills
I stand, silent awe

(Bradley Hankins)

Bald eagle on the Columbia River near The Dalles Dam. (photographer: Sean O'Connor, Story Gorge)

Below Beacon Rock
sailboards, like bright butterflies
ride with the Gorge winds.

(Mabel Pool)


Columbia carved
deeply moving the Gorge stood
rainfed and shaded

(Susan Saling)


Creek flows to river
As lupines dance on the fire,
Embers that flower

(Maria Elena Wieselmann)


This brilliant gold light -
Rising sun on the river,
Heals my heart and soul

(Alice Weaver)


After months of rain
a rainbow of wildflowers
Winter gives us spring

(Natalie DaSilva)


Big River echoes.
Tipped is the arrow of time,
With obsidian.

(Erik Sandgren)

Bridge of the Gods viewed at dusk from Thunder Island, Cascade Locks. (photographer: Stan Hall)

One heron watches
Over silent ripples for
Columbia lunch.

(Carla Kelley)


Enveloping play
From sheer columnar basalt
Meadowlark's spring song

(The Grahams)


Columbia Gorge.
Aptly named, this landmark, where
senses feast 'til full.

(Christine Slapik)


Immense, dramatic
Falling water, soaring trees
Leaves the soul spellbound

(Scott Mueller)


Maidenhair tears drip
Snowmelt cascades over stones
And then a river

(Becky Chinn)