Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

while walking empty city streets scary silent

--Prijono Tjiptoherijanto (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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deserted town--
only the sound of bells
in narrow streets
--Krzysztof Kokot (Nowy Targ, Poland)

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Ghost village--
hush of cicadas
in the dam
--Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)

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the last of her tribe
she sends her spirit
to the ancestors
--Pat Davis (Pembroke, New Hampshire)

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the ghostly darkness
of white walls
--Mike Gallagher (Ireland)

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broken mirror
a face reprised
in silvered angles
--Elizabeth Lara (Silver Spring, Maryland)

* * *

Wearing sunglasses
I don’t know it’s our neighbor
till she drives away
--Priscilla Lignori (Montgomery, New York)

* * *

pandemic time
covered with a face mask
Mona Lisa’s smile
--Slawa Sibiga (Tychy, Poland)

* * *

Mona Lisa ghost--
lingering eerie eyes
peer through portrait paint
--Jacob M. Shaver (Phoenix, Arizona)

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hazy lights
across the street
ghost’s eyes
--Hifsa Ashraf (Rawalpindi, Pakistan)


heat haze
a ghost ship
in the offing
--Bob Lucky (Jubail, Saudi Arabia)

The haikuist scanned the horizon waiting for a ship to appear off the Persian Gulf coast. Contemplating a sailing vacation, Krzysztof Kokot may have been warned about pirates or being mugged in the old section of Zanzibar city known as Mji Mkongwe. Priscilla Lignori was approached by a worried-looking stranger.

Stone Town alleyways--
where people mix
with shadows

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Sweat on his forehead
man asks for direction to
the village courthouse

Dina Towbin read a Halloween story in Washington, D.C. Satoru Kanematsu wondered if the U.S. president received a trick or treat. To keep her spirits up, Helga Stania takes a daily dose of very dark chocolate from Ettiswil, Switzerland.

Slinky, slimy she
Slithers into my slippers
Slinks into my dreams

* * *

A surprise!
COVID catches Trump

* * *

pandemic time
she enjoys
one “Truffe du Jour”

Streets in North America will darken early for Halloween tomorrow as it’s the end of daylight-saving time, but there’s going to be a full moon. Teiichi Suzuki stayed up reading about the fall of Genghis Khan.

Moon flower--
An empire disappeared
from the desert

Homeowners put jack-o’-lanterns on display this month hoping children will come trick-or-treating. John Daleiden hadn’t planned to offer treats, but visitors came to his place in the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, Arizona. Kanematsu was supposed to shell-out treats at the door, but he kept running out to the street.

my ancient stairs
moan with old ghost shrieks--
dark shadows alive

* * *

A full moon--
going out to see it
one more time

Hemapriya Chellappan fought writer’s block in Pune, India. Meghan E. Jones got a helping hand while cramming for an exam in Calgary, Alberta.

ink bleeding
into crumpled paper
heat lingers

* * *

sudden cold
a hand on my shoulder
my dead mother’s touch

Alan Summers borrowed a turn of phrase from British poet Henry Vaughan, “during an incredible rainstorm.”

is it raining
cats and dogs
night tremor

Feeling absolved in Guilford, Connecticut, Kat Lehmann wrote this line as soon as she awoke: forgiving the night each flower at sunrise.

Kanematsu awoke in a sweat, perched on the side of his bed. Aljosa Vukovic’s life has assumed a different rhythm in Sibenik, Croatia.

into my dream, break
cawing crows

* * *

that rooster
not annoying me anymore

Hemapriya Chellappan heard a clever black-plumed African bird mimic the sounds of a meerkat: on a bare branch the drongo with its butterfly kill.

Kanematsu almost called the neighborhood police koban. Anne-Marie McHarg “watched nature in all her beauty come alive” in a London park. Daniela Misso stayed overnight to listen to a chilly lament from the assassinated Queen of Goths on the island of Martana on Lake Bolsena in Italy.

Scorching heat--
the next-door parrot
screams again

* * *

Of birds song
By the lake

* * *

Her cries
in the tramontane wind
deserted streets

Rosemarie Schuldes watched masked passers-by in Mattsee, Austria. Bob Lucky tucks into a hearty breakfast in Portugal.

park promenader
laughter lines above
his face mask

* * *

morning fog
in the village cafe
the masks come off

Sally Fox took in the sparkling lights of the autumn skyline in San Francisco.

A first autumn night.
A mass of windows speckle,
The darkness, glowing.

Zelyko Funda suddenly frowned in Varazdin, Croatia. Murasaki Sagano followed the trail of a star over Tokyo. Jared Michael Kubokawa visited Matsuyama this fall, hoping, he said, “to stop in to offer the old poet a gift of appreciation--I know he loved them.” Master haikuist Masaoka Shiki was born in Matsuyama on Oct. 14, 1867, and according to the Ehime Culture Foundation was laid to rest at Dairyuji temple in Tokyo after his death on Sept. 19, 1902. Priscilla Lignori sent her respects from Montgomery, New York. Kanematsu misses him.

the trail of its light
reaches a graveyard

* * *

Autumn star
in a quirk of fate

* * *

yellow hands
proffer persimmons
at Shiki’s grave

* * *

Ripened persimmons
as I hold one in my hand
Shiki comes to mind

* * *

missing a haikuist
who loved them

Mario Massimo Zontini prayed for a loved one. At a graveyard in Parma, Italy, he was relentlessly pestered.

she loved persimmons--
I buy some today and
will eat them tomorrow

* * *

an old man bothered
by mosquitoes

Roberta Beach Jacobson was able to pass a quiet moment of reflection in Indianola, Iowa. Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo whispered in The Hague, Netherlands.

cemetery picnic
not a lot of

* * *

that little shadow
in the corner
why does it speak to me?

Tsanka Shishkova returned home.

the lonely ghost of
my childhood

The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Nov. 6 and 20. Readers are invited to send haiku about isolation or winter seclusion on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail to

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David McMurray has been writing the Asahi Haikuist Network column since April 1995, first for the Asahi Evening News. He is on the editorial board of the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, columnist for the Haiku International Association, and is editor of Teaching Assistance, a column featuring graduate students in The Language Teacher of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT).

McMurray is professor of intercultural studies at The International University of Kagoshima where he lectures on international haiku. At the Graduate School he supervises students who research haiku. He is a correspondent school teacher of Haiku in English for the Asahi Culture Center in Tokyo.

McMurray judges haiku contests organized by Ito En Oi Ocha, Asahi Culture Center, Matsuyama City, Polish Haiku Association, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seinan Jo Gakuin University, and Only One Tree.

McMurray's award-winning books include: "Only One Tree Haiku, Music & Metaphor" (2015); "Canada Project Collected Essays & Poems" Vols. 1-8 (2013); and "Haiku in English as a Japanese Language" (2003).