The Hokku Winners


A FEW COMMENTS by the Judge of the Contest

By Kwaw Li Ya (Aleister Crowley)

Vanity Fair, December, 1915, Vol. 5 No. 4, p 47

Decorations by Gordon Aymar
Decorations by Gordon Aymar

Most delicious Mr. Editor:

I am altogether delighted to see that upon this occasion the golden-tongued poets of the Occident were able to confine their Hokku birds to the cage of thought. nearly all of them, in their Hokkus, suggested the subject, a maiden deciding between love and duty, and basing her decision upon the omen of a bee alighting upon a rose.

But alas! The arrangement of short and long syllabic quantities is still very puzzling to the Vanity Fair poets.

For example, Miss Winifred Waldron, 1219 Randolf Street, north Glendale, Cal., wrote as follows:

“Bringer of pollen,
Tender task is thy love-flight!

Love is my duty.”

What phrase magic! How like a spider’s web glistening with dew in the early morning sunlight! But one syllable is long where it should be short,—the word “flight.” What a pity! For the solution of the girl’s indecision between love and duty is so cleverly managed.

B. A. Keiser, Washburn House, Northhampton, Mass., also saw the same solution but in his verse, too, there is a faulty line—the last.

“Love is my duty—

Give, O Heart to the king-bee,

Whine of thy deep soul.”

And so, Mr. Editor, I have decided to give the first prize to Miss Alice Maxwell Appo, 11 Dominick Street, New York. She has caught the delightful spirit of Hokku-concentration and she has the feeling for quantities. Her choice of duty over love is sweetly suggested. She said:

“Toiler of ages,

Culling sweetness with labor,

I thy disciple”

The second prize is awarded to Arthur Powell, of Stratford, Conn. His Hokku, too, is very Hokku-worthy.

“Passionate flower,

Yielding sweets to thy lover,

God smiles upon thee!”

Honorable mention goes to Winifred Waldron, A. J. Gude, T. L. Ryan, B. A. Keiser, Helen F. Driver and Kenneth F. H. Underwood.


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