Haiku in the Queue

Entertaining Ferry Riders with Haiku

The approach to Vashon’s north-end ferry pier is familiar to every islander who travels to Seattle via the Fauntleroy ferry, and so is the line of cars waiting to board that snakes down the hill toward the water. Around 2003, Kajira Wyn Berry, a calligrapher and member of Vashon’s “Mondays at Three” haiku group, had the idea of offering haiku to the bored drivers in line as they worked their way down the hill toward the ferry. Inspired by the old Burma-Shave signs along U.S. highways, Kaj imagined presenting the haiku as three separate panel signboards—one for each line—spread out a short distance apart along the roadside approaching the dock. The project, known as “Hiway Haiku,” was an instant hit and Kaj, partnering with her good friend and artist Hita von Mende, continued to select and letter the haiku until her death in November of 2021. At that point, Mike Feinstein and his wife Gerry took over the project—now known as “Haiku in the Queue”and have continued what has become a Vashon tradition. They install new haiku regularly and feature poems written mostly by members of the “Mondays at Three” group, interspersed with classics from poets such as Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Shiki. Their old friend Suzanne Moore, a world-class book and lettering artist, offered to paint the haiku on the signboards. Here is a sampling of past haiku.

by Helen Russell

Japanese Masters

by Buson

by Issa

by Issa

by Shiki

by Shiko

by Tōmei

by Jean Ameluxen

by Jill Andrews

by Jill Andrews

by Chris Bollweg

by John Browne

by Barbara Chasan

by Gerry Feinstein

by Shirley Ferris

by Ron Simons

by Ann Spiers

by AnnSpiers