Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

flits the firefly of my mind to touch the ether
--Neena Singh (Chandigarh, India)

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Torch relay
looks like this rain
isn’t going to stop
--Ian Willey (Takamatsu, Kagawa)

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rest stop
a mountain winks
as mother cooks
--Elizabeth Moura (East Taunton, Massachusetts)

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Sound of washing machine
as I watch the play--
the show must go on(line)
--T.D. Ginting (Murakami, Chiba)

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lost love
forget me nots
still sing the blues
--Liz Gibbs (Calgary, Alberta)

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from one balcony to another
the honeysuckle
--Leticia Sicilia (Canary Islands, Spain)

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moon rises...
cascade of fireflies
among the honeysuckles
--Giuliana Ravaglia (Bologna, Italy)

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tangled garden
a bird’s nest
on the scarecrow’s hat
--Bakhtiyar Amini (Duesseldorf, Germany)

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plum blossoms--
aligning the tips
of mother’s dress
--Taofeek Ayeyemi (Lagos, Nigeria)

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unicorn day--
a walk in the forest
with a deer
--Olivier-Gabriel Humbert (Les Avenieres, France)


in starlight
all the fireflies
--Malintha Perera (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

The haikuist’s family played under constellations. Fireflies in Sri Lanka glow green or yellow to communicate; larvae glow in the dark to stay safe from predators. Masumi Orihara was moon-viewing on a lake in India; in rhythm with the creaking oars she “was lucky enough to see a tree dotted with fireflies, blinking.” Payal Aggarwal tried to catch a yellow one in Ghaziabad, India.

tree blinking
to the squeaky scull
firefly moon

* * *

summer wind
flirting with a glowing bug
granny’s wrinkled ankle

Japanese fireflies emit orange-yellow lights. Nani Mariani dreamed of them in Melbourne, Australia. Teiichi Suzuki hunted for memories in the old village of Eiheiji in Fukui Prefecture. Contaminated water and concrete riverbanks have endangered the fireflies he once admired. Satoru Kanematsu metaphorically bid adieu.

dancing fireflies
in grandpa’s orange garden
sweet childhood

* * *

Somewhere here
site of parents’ grave--
fireflies flew

* * *

Dear friend gone
flickering farewell
a firefly

European firefly species emit green light. Francis Attard penned this one-liner in Marsa, Malta, noting how females curl around their eggs to keep them clean: fireflies pinch the bridge of my nose zero pollution. Helga Stania spotted a row of tiny stars in Ettiswil, Switzerland: a star cluster flickers in night bushes fireflies.

Francoise Maurice listened to insects in Draguignan, France. Eva Limbach reflected on male-female communication in Germany. Ewa Kajtoch spotted them in Krakow, Poland. The female glow worms light up to attract a mate and remain lit during mating. Once mating ends, the light goes out, according to a haiku by Alan Peat in Biddulph, England. Anne-Marie McHarg watched a long string of writhing, twisting lights lift from the grass.

Crescent moon
the fireflies tell me
a story

* * *

the echo
of our arguments

* * *

the lights of days gone by
blink on and off.

* * *

firefly sex--
light on during
light off after

* * *

On a gentle breeze
Snaking through a moonlight night
Fireflies rising

North American fireflies glow yellow-green. Barrie Levine spotted a bright yellow cluster in Wenham, Massachusetts: forsythia glowing fireflies of early spring.

During the day, North American fireflies sport a dapper red head on a black cigarette stub-sized body. After sunset in North Carolina, the pulse of a tiny red-light made Charlie Smith pause by a cemetery fence. Gerald Friedman was blocked from entering a park in Espanola, New Mexico. John Hawkhead kept running.

gravedigger pauses
for a smoke

* * *

trail gate locked
no other fireflies
in a hundred miles

* * *

lockdown exercise
along the country track
a bat avoids me

J.L. Huffman decoded a message from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

twilight flashers
petite mate-seeking lanterns
blinking morse code

Writing from Pasadena, California, Kath Abela Wilson admits she loves how the haiku in this column flow “like a stream of fireflies lighting the way, and attracting one another.”

first kiss
a stone lantern
fills with fireflies

Pippa Phillips lit a smoke and watched the sunrise off Cape Cod: the flickering of a firefly at dawn waiting for the empire to end.

fireflies at dawn--
first cigarette
of the day

The Ursa Major constellation always rises from the East above the horizon in the northern latitudes, but from her vantage in Brussels, Belgium, Marie Derley noted that springtime is the best time to find it sparkling on high with Ursa Minor--the Lesser Bear.

shadows in the sky
are they confined too
on the Great Bear

John Zheng was surprised by snowflakes when he opened his blinds in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Robin Rich twirled in Brighton, U.K.

early dawn
in the spring of sleet
flashes of white

* * *

child flashing by
in a revolving door
springs out

Benedetta Cardone turned off the blue light from a computer in Massa, Italy. Teiichi Suzuki was spooked by the sound of a metal spoon tapping on glass when he woke-up early in Osaka with a craving for something sweet on his toast. An introductory writing course inspired Marcie Wessels to release her inner fires in San Diego, California.

time out from the screen--
spring promises rise
with my morning coffee

* * *

Ghostly hour--
at the bottom of the jar
crystallized honey

* * *

mason jar
a swarm of fireflies teeming
on the carpet

Mason jars can hold flies and preserve jam and honey, and all sorts of things, notes Isabella Kramer in Nienhagen, Germany: maybe I need him tomorrow sunbeam in a jar.

A. Sethuramiah retained the fragrance of Bangalore, India.

transparent flower vase
collecting a bouquet
of spring scents

Wade German admired an industrious spider in Delta, British Columbia. Paul Geiger saved a bug-killer in Sebastopol, California. Maurice lit a scented candle as a bug repellent.

black spider
restless architect

* * *

eco-friendly spider
dashes across carpet
kill the Hoover

* * *

no respect for distances
from the mosquito

Frustrated, Marie Derley has to wait to slice tomatoes for the neighbor’s hamburgers in Wallonia, Belgium.

sowing my tomatoes
argh a good smell of grilling
from elsewhere

Tsanka Shishkova is a loving mother in Sofia, Bulgaria. Richa Sharma got help gardening in Ghaziabad, India. Orihara trekked alone, but the alpine wildflowers bunched together.

one more haiku
dedicated to my son
blooming irises

* * *

seedling growth
my daughter’s smile
adds to the compost

* * *

violets nestled
in a bench crack
unbeaten mountain path

Ewa Kajtoch attended church in Krakow, Poland. Born-again Christians believe a spiritual birth allows one to walk in the newness of life. Slobodan Pupovac walked with a spring in his step in Zagreb, Croatia. Chilling news put the kibosh on Helen Buckingham’s plans to skip and dance in the warm spring sunshine.

church garden
new daisy petals
born again

* * *

morning walk
trampled grass
rises again

* * *

out to play
covid snap

Kramer admired white-scented edible blossoms on a European elder tree: May dawn your skin still elderflowers.

Natalia Kuznetsova lives harmoniously in Moscow, Russia.

the wind outside
humming the lockdown blues
another spring

Kanematsu was up before the lotus flowered. Paul Faust was eager to see what popped up in the park near his home in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. J.L. Huffman prayed for the unity of three in North Carolina.

Morning walk
lilies still asleep
in the pond

* * *

strolling in the park
hints of emerging green put
a spring in my step

* * *

shamrock day planting
snow peas--potatoes--garlic
mountain trinity

Smith’s wife found what she was looking for. Twelve-year-old Kayla Johnson hopes for good luck in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.

deserted park
first four-leaf clover
St. Patrick’s

* * *

A bullied child
a four-leaf clover


Read haiku by the light of fireflies at The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears May 21. Readers are invited to send haiku about a lunar eclipse, on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or 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).