A Washington state ferry departs Mukilteo en route to Clinton last summer. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

A Washington state ferry departs Mukilteo en route to Clinton last summer. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

‘Off the wall’: Washington State Ferries haiku contest

They wanted to do something a little different. Deadline for entry is Friday.

Beer, wine, cheese, chowder

frisky waves splash on green hulls

our state’s pleasure boat

MUKILTEO — Washington State Ferries wants to to hear about your boat ride.

But keep it short. You only get 17 syllables in three lines metered in a 5-7-5 count.

The ferry folks have drummed up a haiku contest for the summer cover of the quarterly ferry schedule.

“We’ve been doing photos and images and drawing contests for our covers,” said Justin Fujioka, a ferries spokesman “This one is probably the most off the wall. We wanted something different. Haiku came up in a team meeting.”

The five-day contest platform is on the @wsferries Twitter page, and poets have only until noon Friday to enter.

The state agency will narrow the list to 25. Those will be judged by a real poet, Washington’s new poet laureate Claudia Castro Luna, on creativity, originality, content and writing.

Then it’s up to the Twitterverse. No email; no snail mail. Just Twitter. The three finalists’ poems will be posted on @wsferries March 19. The haiku with the most likes at noon March 23 wins.

The winner doesn’t get free ferry passes or a cup of chowder.

Mass readership on the ferry schedule is the prize.

“We print thousands and thousands,” Fujioka said. “They go pretty much everywhere.”

An entry can’t be previously published. Submit up to three per Twitter handle. Include the hashtag #WSFHaiku.

The haiku must be ferry-related. In other words, not random like this famous verse: “Haikus are easy. But sometimes they don’t make sense. Refrigerator.”

Instead you can write: “Ferry rides are fun. And often they serve good grub. Beecher’s mac & cheese.”

Well, you can do better.

Here are some entries posted on Twitter:

Last boat of the night

“Boat of Shame” for a reason,

So many people…

* * *

Will the driver of

A black BMW

Turn off your alarm

* * *

Open sea and salt

wind blowing hair everywhere

like dreams on water

* * *

Hey guys, check this out:

“Look, a pod of Killer Whales!!”

Made you look, tourists

* * *

Searching for orcas

Watching generated waves

Machine Made Cocoa

Ferry facts

Washington has the largest ferry system in the U.S., with 10 routes on the marine highway. Snohomish County has two ferry terminals, in Mukilteo and Edmonds.

Ferry ridership topped 24.4 million commuters, tourists and travelers in 2017.

Fares start at $5.05 for a round-trip passenger ride; half price for seniors and youth.

You can get married or celebrate a life on a ferry. With advance reservation, the ferry will slow to allow the release of a biodegradable urn or for a floral tribute to be strewn on the water. At the captain’s discretion, the horn may be sounded. However, the captain will not officiate at weddings.

More at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

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