Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Muddy fields reshaping the paths into spring

--Devin Harrison (Vancouver Island, Canada)

Spring day

neighbor sweeping

the breeze

--Elizabeth Moura (East Taunton, Massachusetts)

* * *

Foggy sea

shrine island reveals

its hilltop

--Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)

* * *

Yashima-ji

temple floats in blue

skylark wind

--Iris (Matsuyama, Ehime)

* * *

Soaring skylark

puffs of blooms

scent the vale

--Guliz Vural (Ankara, Turkey)

* * *

Turkey family--

found wobbling across the field

chasing after spring

--Priscilla Lignori (Montgomery, New York)

* * *

Shadow of a hawk

circling a white radome

sun’s envious glare

--Grace Stroer-Jarvis (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

A spring hawk’s

sudden descent--

to catch something

--Junko Yamada (Kamakura, Kanagawa)

* * *

In midair

stopped short a spider

moving out

--Yutaka Kitajima (Joetsu, Niigata)

* * *

Before eating

a quiet moment

with my potato

--Patrick Sweeney (Misawa, Aomori)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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Boreal winter--

small Siberian cottage

getting higher

--Wieslaw Karlinski (Namyslow, Poland)

The haikuist loves the North. Having worked as a tour guide in Norway, Canada and Russia, his haiku suggests that the colorful homes in Irkutsk appear taller. The reason is because snow rarely reaches high enough to cover their elaborately carved woodwork shutters. One hundred years ago, thick snow covered the Siberian District until late April. The area was described as having subarctic weather. Since 1980, snow disappears by March so climatologists now classify it as a humid continental climate. Nonetheless, a precious jar of seedlings froze on the window sill of Evgeny Ivanov’s home in Moscow.

Last snow-storm--

snowflakes knock on glass

tomato sprouts

* * *

Arranging my thoughts

a cold wind blows daily

through my thinning hair

Elizabeth Moura penned the above haiku about choosing an appropriate haiku season words for the Eastern Seaboard. In her next poem she carefully notes, “these flowers actually signal that the cold winter days are coming to an end” but peepers, the small chorus frogs of spring, have already begun croaking. Flowers and amphibians are very sensitive to small variations in climate, especially to temperature, so haiku that focus on when they first appear become valuable phenology recordings for the study of global warming.

Snowdrops fading

suddenly at dusk

the peepers

The Arctic is warming up much faster than the planet as a whole--just as climate scientists predicted. An extremely warm Arctic last winter is resulting in higher sea levels around the globe. Oceans are extremely sensitive to small fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature.This shift in seasonal warmth could set the stage for other major problems as the Arctic advances toward summer. Wildlife will be first to sense the changes on land. While walking along a pilgrimage route towards a shrine in western Japan, Teiichi Suzuki heard thunder rolling in the distant mountains--or was it the howl of a gray wolf? Thought to be extinct since 1905, reports of local sightings persist.

Ghost of wolves--

spring thunder resounds

Kumano

A shifty crow seems wary of James Roderick Burns in Edinburgh.

Limber crow

flexes a road sign

as I stump by

Since February, wildfires have been burning down forests in Alaska. Other problems include the lowering of freshwater levels and raising of saltwater seas. Lake Baikal, the world’s largest lake, has reached its lowest point in 60 years, threatening water supplies in Siberia. Christina Sng shares this view from Singapore.

Early haze

a new sapling emerges

through arid soil

Thawing permafrost in Canada is expected to emit additional greenhouse gases, increasing atmospheric temperatures and quickening the melting of glaciers in Greenland. The end result will be higher sea levels and tides that flood coastlines in Europe and Asia. This next haiku was sent from the Yukon Territory of Canada by kjmunro, an avid haikuist who is organizing a Haiku Canada conference in Whitehorse next month.

Shadows

ice the bridge deck

spring sun

In Tokyo, Juichi Masuda follows the path of migrating geese. Redwood trees soar high in British Columbia where Nika penned her debut haiku.

Wild geese head back north

the air filled-up minutely

greenhouse gas

* * *

Finding comfort

in the company of trees

my inner child

Kiyoshi Fukuzawa braved inclement weather in Tokyo to attend a solo violin recital performed by the world-famous violinist Teiko Maehashi. An aspiring pianist at Clarke University in Dubuque, Saki Kodama traveled overland as far west as she could go during the spring break. Tatjana Debeljacki admires a dance performance in Serbia.

Deep stillness--

solo violin

fierce as spring storm

* * *

Going out

to find a palm tree

beyond this world

* * *

Gypsy woman

dances to the romance--

the circle skirt’s flare

Lying naked and hungry in a cold tunnel on a narrow examination table sends shivers up Satoru Kanematsu’s spine. Christof Blumentrath fears the spring mist swooping down onto his front porch in Borken, Germany.

CT scans

my white skeleton--

chilly spring

* * *

Edgar Allan Poe--

she locked the door

two times today

Helga Stania stumbles across a cemetery in Switzerland. In New York, Priscilla Lignori marks the day after the crucifixion of Jesus. Diksha Sharma falls silent in India.

An old cross

and wild daffodils--

paupers’ field

* * *

Holy Saturday--

a hazy moon standing guard

above the graveyard

* * *

By the lake

sitting with the eternal star--

my granny

Robert Kania is happy to announce his legal appointment as president of the Polish Haiku Association. Congratulations also go to Anna Yin who became the City of Mississauga’s first poet laureate.

Hazy moon--

her parting words

with candles

* * *

Shanghai’s neon nights

forests of steel

green, how much I want you green

Ian Willey nods to his graduating class at Kagawa University. Inspired by flowers drawn by a child in Vigan, Philippines, Anthony Q. Rabang leaves readers to dream of real ones.

Blossoms in the rain

today my students

become doctors

* * *

A finished

coloring book--

flowers bloom

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The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears April 29. Readers are invited to send haiku about holidays, vacations or opening their cottages on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to (mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp). This column will also be contained in the Asahi Shimbun’s English news database.

* * *

David McMurray has been writing the Asahi Haikuist Network column since April 1995, first for the Asahi Evening News. He is also the editor of OUTREACH, a bi-monthly column featuring international teachers in The Language Teacher of the Japan Association for Language Teacher (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 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asahi Culture Center, Matsuyama City, and Seinan Jo Gakuin University.

McMurray's books include: "Canada Project in Kyushu" Vol. 1 (2006) - Vol. 7 (2011), Pukeko: Fukuoka; "Haiku in English as a Japanese Language" (2003), Pukeko: Kitakyushu; and "Hospital Departmental Operations--A Guide for Trustees and Managers," Canadian Hospital Association: Ottawa, Canada.