Stars and Night Sky

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Stars and Night Sky

***** Location: Kenya
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Heavens


It all started with a challenge from Alan Summers to the members of Kenya Saijiki on 2 March 2007 :

Can I ask something?

Can I in fact, challenge you?! ;-)

I don't know how much clear night sky you can see, because of city lights, but where I live, in Bradford on Avon, because I am near the country, there are fewer street and house lights and I can see the Milky Way, and Orion's Belt, very clearly, can you see them?

Do you have different words for stars and groups of stars?

I would love to get to see haiku that involve the stars, from very local names to regional names, maybe your own names for stars too.

I hope it is okay to set a challenge?

Your fresh haiku is very inspiring to me, and that is how every person who writes haiku should be, constantly inspired by their neighbour's haiku.

Thank you very much for allowing me to share in your haiku,



Alan’s challenge was greeted enthusiastically, and the members of Kenya Saijiki set themselves a deadline of 30 March to submit their STARS and NIGHT SKY haiku, so that the best could be chosen and awarded prizes on 3 April 2007.

Submissions were sent to Kenya Saijiki anonymously, the identity of the students or adults only known to the authors, their Patrons and myself. Finally, all 142 haiku were handed over to Alan (backed by Gabi Greve in Japan and myself) for selection and evaluation.

The student prize winners of the Stars and Night Sky Challenge

The adults and students greeted the results at their meeting of 3 April 2007, and the happy prizewinners were cheered enthusiastically. It is encouraging that half the prizes were won by students in Form 1, who had been writing haiku for only two months or less. They have the benefit of support from their older schoolmates, who started last year, as well as from the experienced and dedicated Patrons of their haiku clubs. They are also making good use of their time in Form 1, before exam pressures begin to bite hard, particularly in Forms 3 and 4!

The prize winning haiku are to be found below -- enjoy!

Text and photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


Total Eclipse of the Moon

While the Challenge was taking its course, many parts of the world were treated to a spectacular total ecliupse of the moon on 3 March 2007. News of this event reached Kenya too late, but those members of Kenya Saijiki who were at that time outside Kenya, enjoyed one of the most spectacular eclipses in years.

Isabelle Prondzynski

WKD : ECLIPSE and Haiku

Photo © Gerry Lynch
Eclipse and Haiku


McNaught Comet

We also enjoyed information about the Comet McNaught, which had been visible in many parts of the world in January 2007 :



The second URL takes a while to open -- it contains beautiful photos and haiku about McNaught sightings around the world.

Our no. 12 prizewinner, Walter Otieno, was one of those who saw the comet and admired its long tail -- see his haiku below.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Alan was so enthusiastic about the first entries received, that he could not resist reading some of them at the Destination : World event at the University of the West of England on 16 March 2007!
University of the West of England


The Prizewinners

Students :
With the comments of Alan Summers :

around the bonfire --
a shooting star

~ Anne Njoki (Bamboocha, Form 1)

Storytelling is such an important part of culture in any country, and here we have other strong words that carry so much weight, in "bonfire" and "shooting star". What a lovely atmosphere is evoked here, and that is a very important part of haiku, evoking (showing) not telling, not putting everything onto the page, yet it's all there to be read if you look for it.

pointing at the full moon --
the baby stops crying
as she watches the moon

~ Catherine Njeri Maina (Bamboocha)

The other person doesn't need to be mentioned in any more words, because we can all imagine it is either our older brother or sister, an aunt, an uncle, or a parent, sharing the wonder of the moon with a child. Wonderful!

a thief stealing
from our neighbour's shop --

~ Caren Cheptoo (Bamboocha, Form 1)

This has a good allusion to a classic haiku, and I can imagine more than one meaning here. It could be a straight meaning of a thief stealing or trying to steal from a shop at night, or a thief "window shopping" at night and all he can steal is the moonlight. A good haiku is where readers can take different meanings from the poem and add a little of themselves, so a haiku is not only the shortest poem in the world, but when people share their own
meanings it also becomes the longest poem in the world!

dark night --
people sleep
and snore

~ Felix Ogutu (Falcon)

This is packed with sounds and movement, and has that lovely sense of gentle humour that a haiku can have!

starlit night
staring at the crescent moon
as I light the jiko

(jiko is Swahili for a brazier used for cooking and heating)

~ David Caleb Mutua (Peacock)

Ah, light on light! Wonderful. We have the starlight, and the author is about to "light" another light (the jiko) which also heats and cooks, and all the time, the author is also staring at the light of the moon!

a woman's song --
over her garden stand
the Scorpion

~ Samuel Ndung’u (Bamboocha, Form 1)

Good simple haiku, with layers of meaning if you want to hunt for them. Of all the constellations, the author has chosen the Scorpion, intriguing, and using the great teasing serious humour that a haiku can hint at.

late evening,
on the bumpy road --
stars in the side mirror

~ Irene Akoth (Bamboocha, Form 1)

This haiku has all the ingredients to make it a "micro novel"! The language is simple, it shows, rather than tells, which is a good thing to do with haiku, and all this without any verbs too. Remarkable!

I get sounds, smells, I'm jolted on a journey, and it reminds me of my time travelling through the Australian Bush in the Northern Territory!

in a trough --
a moth flaps its wings
shaking the stars

~ Raymond Otieno (Bamboocha)

I love "shaking the stars"! This haiku contains an important part of haiku, and that is the life / death cycle, and what better choice than a moth, but not one burnt in a candle, but in water, flapping, and shaking the stars. Many levels to appreciate here on re-readings too!

silent night --
no noise apart from light
from the moon

~ Joan Barasa (Peacock)

We may not really "hear" the moon, or even the stars in the night sky, but I love "no noise apart from light from the moon"! There is in fact a sound we can pick up by scientific means, but a poet always does the same without needing them!

spread over the sky,
showing Abraham’s descendants --

~ Leonard Imboyoka (Falcon)

This is quite a different style of haiku, and I like "Abraham's descendants", very original. After all, aren't we all one people, and as numerous as the stars? A very good original haiku.

slowly, lovers
walking in the darkness --
a falling star

~ John Mwangi (Bamboocha, Form 1)

Good use of grammar. I am transported immediately, and feel an empathy, a sharing, of the experience.

across the clear sky --
the long glowing tail
of a comet

~ Walter Otieno (Bamboocha)

What a wonderful image and sense of atmosphere this conjures up.

dark-blue sky,
full of twinkling stars --
barking dogs

~ Anne (Falcon)

I like the fact that it is both a fact there are barking dogs, but that I could also think of the stars as barking dogs! Great metaphor, whether intended or not, it's something that occurs in a well written poem.

children playing
outside without fear --
full moon

~ Mary Obwamo (Bamboocha, Form 1)

Very beautiful!

the donkey braying
on the narrow path --
starry dawn

~ Vivian Adhiambo (Bamboocha, Form 1)

Very real!


Adults :

Adult prizewinners of the Stars and Night Sky Challenge

a twilight girl
running on the street --
glittering stars

~ James Macharia (Bahati)

I love the stunning "a twilight girl" which falls headlong into a great poem!

moon and stars
the only witnesses --
two lovers eloping

~ Patrick Wafula (Patron, Bamboochas)

Very very atmospheric!

clouds move
some stars are covered
it darkens

~ Adelaide Luvandale (Patron, Peacocks)

A very chilling, moody, atmospheric last line, I love it!

clouds move slowly
unveiling a lone bright star
in the west

~ Anne Nechesa (Patron, Peacocks)

I really like that word choice of "unveiling" which extends the poem, an important technique in such a short poetry form as a haiku.

Congratulations to all!


Other entries

Students :

pale dawn --
the Scorpion paving
way for the sun

my brother jumping
on the corridor,
clapping at Gemini

~ Anne Njoki (Bamboocha, Form 1)

comets around
shining moon --
wakes the crickets

twinkling stars --
fireflies glow around
full moon

~ Depporah Mocheche (Bamboocha)

under the flowers --
cry of crickets and
twinkling stars above

over our house --
round face of the moon
peering between clouds

~ Raymond Otieno (Bamboocha)

in the sky --
round face of the moon
among twinkling stars

the moon behind
dark clouds, few stars --
more darkness

dark-blue sky --
moon rising from
behind cypress trees

a young boy gazing
at the glittering stars --
full moon

a cold breeze
under the twinkling sky --
a shooting star

~ Catherine Njeri Maina (Bamboocha)

out at night,
looking towards heaven --
the Gemini

twinkling stars,
pattern in the sky --
the Orion

at night
over the shop
light of Scorpion

twinkle twinkle,
little star in the sky --
I wonder what you are

I see light,
no lamp around --
but the moon

what is that
above the sky --
shooting star

my brother talking
in his sleep -
ray of moonlight

opening the door at night --

~ Samuel Ndung’u (Bamboocha, Form 1)

shooting star
across the dark-blue sky --
silent night

bright moon,
Orion blinking --
peaceful night

glowing stars
on a cloudless blue floor --
sound of crickets

bright night,
Orion sparkling --
sleeping dogs

~ Cyprian Awino (Bamboocha)

singing and playing
in the wheat field --
the southern cross

late from trip,
we yawn and laugh --
the crescent

warm bright night -
charm and splendour
from the stars

~ Irene Akoth (Bamboocha, Form 1)

in the lawn, parent giving
advice to her young ones --
a shooting star

streak of lightning,
cutting across the dark sky --
night rain

bats flap their wings
across the full moon --
children singing

~ Mary Obwamo (Bamboocha, Form 1)

a shooting star,
interrupting the dark night --
lighted faces

~ Francis Mwangangi (Bamboocha, Form 1)

an aeroplane
passing in the sky --
glittering stars

washing cloths outside --
shooting star

a child crying
somewhere in the darkness --
glittering sky

looking up the sky --
a half moon

~ Caren Cheptoo (Bamboocha, Form 1)

story time --
children laugh at fireplace
as moon shines

jumping up and down,
children admiring the bright moon --
hour before dinner

~ Frederick Mwale (Bamboocha, Form 1)

beautiful sky --
glittering stars spreading
throughout the heavens

~ Caroline Wanjiru (Falcon)

a clear sky,
stars twinkle brightly --
morning star

the sky is blue
like still water in a lake --
glittering stars

~ Carolyne Wangui (Falcon)

up the sky --
stars twinkle and shine
forming beautiful patterns

~ Beatrice Wanjiku (Falcon)

a dull sky
with no moon -
dull night

~ Milly Wambui (Falcon)

the sky at night --
falling stars twinkle

~ Joseph Musombi (Falcon)

high stars shining,
round-shaped moon --
children playing outdoors

watchmen well armed,
light shining from the sky --
chilly night

~ Margret Wanjiru (Falcon)

bright blue sky,
studded with diamonds --

~ Joyce Ng’amure (Falcon)

cloudy sky,
stars not twinkling --
cold night breeze

~ Hillary Indako (Falcon)

blue sky,
stars twinkle high--
half moon

~ John Okwaro (Falcon)

shiny tiny dim lights,
scattered all over the blue sky --
play song of children

children cheering
at spectacular cluster of stars --
their play song

~ Boniface Mutua (Falcon)

a serene sky --
yells and screams break the silence,
waking Jane

bats gnash their teeth,
searching for their dinner
under the night sky

~ Patrick Gakuo (Falcon)

clouds in the sky,
storm is about to strike --
thunder bolt

~ Lucy Maina (Falcon)

in a bright sky,
moon hanging lonesomely --

~ Nancy Akinyi (Falcon)

stars twinkle
producing light
that shines in the sky

~ Hamza Shaban (Falcon)

the blue sky
glittering with stars --
silent night

when darkness knocks,
stars open and glitter --
night splendour

~ Rebecca Syokau (Falcon)

the moon
looking through blue eyes --
flashing diamonds

~ Jane Njeri (Bamboocha Form 1)

dark clouds
blocking the moonlight --
night drizzle

~ Mercy Wangui (Peacock)

at night --
the dog barks at
the shining moon

~ Josephine Wanjiku (Peacock)

husband and wife
arguing loudly --
starry night

~ Anne Wairimu (Peacock)

people chasing
cattle rustlers --
starry night

~ Stephen Nzomo (Peacock)

the watchman
lighting a fire --
full moon

Kioko bathing
in cold water at night…
the stars

~ Sarah Adero (Peacock)

stressed Grace
crying in her dark room --
bright stars

~ Irene Muthengi (Peacock)

in the morning,
my brother preparing to go to school --
morning star

at night
our young brother crying --

~ Grace Nyambura (Peacock)

the bright moon
and few glittering stars
on a cloudy night

from the cardinal points
lays the dull sky with
very shiny stars

it is very silent
clouds seem to be moving
and the stars glitter

quietly the moon shines
as the stars glitter beautifully
making the sky wonderful

how wonderful
is the sky with millions
of glittering stars

the sky is clear
stars make it wonderful
as they glitter

meteorites shift
from point to point --
dim moom appears

cloudish sky --
stars glitter in the distance,
where is the moon

clear sky
with cloudish patterns --
beautiful stars glitter

the moon doesn't
appear its late but stars
still glitter silently

silence in the sky
stars glitter quietly making
the sky beautiful

~ Hussein Hajji (Peacock)

after the sunset
crickets make a lot of noise
welcome the bright sky

on the shiny stars
lighting up the whole village
business continues

attracting the eye
one in the midst of many
sharing to light up

~ Loise Wangeci (Peacock)

it is at night
moon shines brightly
a wonderful night

~ Jacinta Minoo (Peacock)

the twinkling stars
shining on a blue broaad sky
many stars shining

~ Barrack Elungata (Peacock)

silent bright sky
the night is beautiful
there is no rain

~ Anonymous (Peacock)

how cold is today
the cloud covering the sky
signs of rain

where are the stars
clouds hiding them
a lot of darkness

area with light
coming from stars
the light in the streets

how lightful is the moon
a lot of light from
it and stars

beautiful clouds
hiding the stars --
the moon shines

stars everywhere
shining and glittering --
stars are beautiful

how bright is the moon
glittering a lot of light --
moon is bright

~ Sebastian Kimeu (Peacock)

the night is bright
the stars are glittering all over
there is silence

the sky is bright
the moon and the stars are
glittering leaving a bright light

the sky is bright
because of the moon
and the glittering stars

the dark has covered
the sky leaving the dark all over --
no moon or stars

the sky is silent --
stars are glittering very brightly
and the moon is shining

bright sky --
light all over from
moon and stars

sky full of brightness --
the stars are glittering
and the moon shining

~ Joan Barasa (Peacock)

stars all over
in the blue beautiful sky
they are lovely

beautiful sky
stars shining all over
the night is bright

~ Kelvin Mukoselo (Peacock)

full moon
that is the Gods touch
mama tells me

countless stars shining overhead
God knows their name!

beautiful starry night
shooting stars burning bright
what a scene!

~ David Caleb Mutua (Peacock)

silence up there --
lonely moon shivers
as stars glitter quietly

as stars glitter
the moon appears late at nine --
silence up there

clear sky --
stars accompany
the lonely moon

lonely is the moon
and the sky with glittering stars --
the moon appears

lonely moon --
the stars scattered all over,
making it beautiful

stretching from
north to south pole, the dark sky
is seen with dim moon

~ Peris Wanjiru (Peacock)

the lonely stars
all the night --
glittering sky

uncountable stars
moving from one end,
making the sky beautiful

I see the stars
as they glitter
all night

I see the stars
randomly moving --
glittering hours

the bright stars
over the clouds,
as they glitter

~ Mary Sharon (Peacock)

moon in the sky
produce light at night while
the stars shine all over

how beautiful stars are
at night glittering and shining
while moon produces light

~ Peris Njeri (Peacock)


vast dark-blue roof
studded with glittering lights --
night sky

~ Patrick Wafula (Patron, Bamboochas)

young people
dancing together --
kililimbi night

(kililimbi is Swahili for "flame" -- fire or liveliness)

shooting in the street,
a thief killed --
bright moon

~ James Macharia (Bahati)

stars shine
we have full moon
I see a passing star

on the horizon
I see stars and moon
it's very beautiful

it's very bright
though its midnight
I see full moon

~ Adelaide Luvandale (Patron Peacocks)

lighting the sky
little stars twinkle
in bright clusters

falling from the sky
the bright star shines
to unknown destination

~ Anne Nechesa (Patron Peacocks)


Alan Summers, the originator of the Stars and Night Sky Challenge, also published our results in his own Blog, Area 17, thus opening them to a new readership :


Related words

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***** ..... Southern Cross

***** Leonid Meteor Shower .. .. Geminid Meteor Shower

Haiku Clubs of Nairobi

Please send your contributions to
Gabi Greve / Isabelle Prondzynski
worldkigo .....

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1 comment:

Isabelle said...

From Alan Summers

Dear Kenya Saijiki,

A schoolteacher who recently organised a ginkoo in England is full of praise for all your haiku!


The Kenyan Haiku are wonderful.  I think something has definitely been unlocked in those children to produce work of that quality.  I loved Anne Njoki’s winning haiku and I also really liked the haiku by Patrick Wafula for the adult section – they’'re all very good though.

A very worthwhile and I imagine rewarding project – well done!

Phil Robertson
All Saints CE Primary School Year 4 Teacher
West Yorkshire

all my very best,

Alan Summers