Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Summer-- hopping behind a trout from stone to stone

--Dorota Ocinska (Lodz, Poland)

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An English seafront

doors left open on the sand

taking in the rain

--Alan Summers (Dawlish, U.K.)

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English Summerhouse

short lease

subject to leaks

--Helen Buckingham (London, U.K.)

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Trip to the Catskills--

the wind and each bump we hit

jiggles the canoe

--Priscilla Lignori (Montgomery, New York)

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Old tree house . ..

the incident light

catches the dust

--Ramona Linke (Germany)

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Open sky

as far as the eye can see

bluebell woodland

--Andy McLellan (Canterbury, U.K.)

* * *

Unknown path

mother’s color swings


--Murasaki Sagano (Tokyo)

* * *

the high priest sits

on his haunches behind

the temple hedge

--Geert Verbeke (Belgium)

* * *

Sand dunes

his footprints larger

than last year

--Debbie Strange (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

* * *

Shifting dunes

our family’s cottage

was once here

--Elizabeth Moura (East Taunton, Massachusetts)




Cottage moon

but mysterious clouds

wisteria trellis

--Itoko Suzuki (Shizuoka)

The sudden ominous appearance of dark clouds during his vacation made the haikuist anxious. Fearing earthquakes he said, “The delightful and peaceful moment with wisteria blossoming and the full moon in April at my cottage that I usually enjoy every year was interrupted this time.” Mario Massimo Zontini described the sensation of fear in the hands of children in Parma, Italy.

After the quake

the cold hands of children

in the shelter

Anna Goluba studied her hands. She concluded that the cracks in the earth caused by tremors resemble palm lines, noting “It was an incredible discovery for me, a very powerful image especially remembering that palm lines are not fixed--they change during our lifetime.”

After the earth tremor

palm line

I hadn’t had before

Ana Drobot penned this one-liner to represent a crack in Bucharest, Romania: reaching first earth tremor. Eva Limbach closely inspected a chrysalis in Saarbrucken, Germany. In Montreal, Richard Jodoin cultivated the community vegetable patch.

Trembling earth

the hairline cracks

in a butterfly pupa

* * *

Gardening starts

panic under our shovels


Christof Blumentrath reported from Borken in North Rhine-Westphalia that “in our part of Germany winter is back. But last week it felt just like the finest spring ever . . . two steps one skip the boy I once was.” Kumika Haga celebrated Children’s Day in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Junko Yamada remembered a first love.

Watching flying carps from my window

boredom is now

my only freedom

* * *


spring melody

“I want you . . .”

It seems to be a common human desire to record the timing of recurring natural phenomena related to changes in the climate. Farmers note when temperatures no longer dip below zero so that they can sow seeds and when haikuists see things happen for the first time, they tend to jot the occurrence down in their notebooks. For example, last week Ikken Ikemoto visited places that Basho wrote about in his travel diary “The Narrow Road to Oku” that was translated by Donald Keene. The visit revived delightful memories such as: Ta ichimai uete tachisaru yanagi kana (They sowed a whole field, And only then did I leave Saigyo’s willow tree). Standing by the same weeping willow tree where Basho measured time by how long it took for a rice field to be planted, Ikemoto composed this haiku.

Standing in

the shade of the willow--

thoughts on the poet-traveler

Craig W. Steele eyed a heron in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.

A great blue heron

stealthy as a misting rain

stalks its reflections

Gardeners rejoice in the scent of freshly cut grass and when a robin catches the first worm from the backyard. Stuart Walker cut his lawn for the first time this spring in Sapporo. Elizabeth Moura spotted her first robin in East Taunton, Massachusetts. Yutaka Kitajima joked that in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, “The cottage is in the good care of woodpeckers.” His haiku is for the birds. Frank Walker composed an ode to an eastern box turtle in Orange, Virginia.

Green noise gives way to

the sweet odor of silence

newly mown grass

* * *

After the rain

squinting at the sun

robin and me

* * *

Pardon me

an earthworm squirming

in the sun

* * *

Heavily armored, deliberate, cautious

Exploring the forest floor

Hmmm, an earthworm

Wriggle closer, friend

Cottagers note when lakes are freed of ice. Last week, cottager associations in many parts of Ontario officially declared that ice had left their lakes. A keen ice watcher, Paul D. MacInnes notified his neighbors that most “lakes are now clear of ice from shore to shore, and at the same time, I heard my first loon call on Beech Lake at 11:36am on Monday… and am getting ready for a first swim.” After a short winter, Josh Brown opened the door to his cottage in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Angelee Deodhar airs her home in Chandigarh, India. Christof Blumentrath pines for his beloved.

That musty air smell

dust swirling in sunlight

abandoned no more

* * *

Closed all winter

spiders have curtained off

the living room

* * *

Flowing clouds

in the old linen cupboard

her scent still

Adina Enachescu visits a cabin deep in the forests of Romania. Payal Agarwal’s family visits with grandma in Delhi, India. Azi Kuder visits a graveyard in Gdynia, Poland.

Native hut--

above centuries-old woods

the new moon

* * *

Granny’s cottage

children chasing butterflies

into the night

* * *


over the broken tombstone

chestnut in bloom

A poet from New Jersey, martin gottlieb cohen admired his favorite shrub during a vacation. Priscilla Lignori went camping. Cherese Cobb set herself on fire in Maryville, Tennessee. Satoru Kanematsu’s grandchildren were amazed by fire-breathing artists in Nagoya.

holiday cabins

moonlight on the sumac

* * *

Spring break getaway--

traveling lightly we stop

and camp by the lake

* * *


from my canteen

I drink in flames

* * *

Children’s Day

a street magician

breathes out fire

Sarah Billington admires the resiliency of spider webs. Capota Daniela Lacramioara realizes spider webs aren’t invincible. Adina Enachescu observes ships at sea.


a cobweb remains


* * *

Second-hand bookshop--

after earth tremor

the spider without web

* * *


boats of paper

are wrecked

Doc Sunday visited Chuson-ji temple in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, where Basho wrote: Samidare no furinokoshite ya hikari-do. Translated by Donald Keene, he asked rhetorically: Have the rains of spring spared you from their onslaught, Shining hall of gold? The visit prompted Doc Sunday to pen this 5-7-5 haiku.

Students on a trip

cherry boughs to Golden Hall

Basho’s haiku stone

Lignori reverently mentions her favorite poet. Deodhar does things different from the haiku master she respects.

Late into the night

reading haiku from Buson--

hazy moon of spring

* * *

Unlike Issa

I will not spare you--

run spiders, run

Enjoy cottage life at The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear June 3 and 17. Readers are invited to send haiku about infectious disease on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to ( This column is contained in The Asahi Shimbun’s English news database.

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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 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.