Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Baptist Town tour shack after shack after shack after . ..

--John Zheng (Itta Bena, Mississippi)

* * *

Riding round

the subway loop line

drowsy spring

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

Day after day

so used to the falling rain

I hear each drop

--Elizabeth Moura (East Taunton, Massachusetts)

* * *

Lime green

bamboo sway in the

wind

--Jenna Mahoney (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

Soft rain

fostering buds of

hydrangea

--Isao Soematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

Blooming lotus

yellow stamen

tickles the frog’s belly

--Azi Kuder (Gdynia, Poland)

* * *

In rubble, a doll

staring unblinkingly

the empty, blue sky

--Tanja Trcek (Golrik, Slovenia)

* * *

Long wait for rain . ..

old diary turns

into paper boats

--Lavana Kray (Iasi, Romania)

* * *

Misty rain

on my iPhone

tiny coloured dots

--Simon Hanson (Queensland, Australia)

* * *

At the end

of solemnity

rain of stars

--Vasile Moldovan (Bucharest, Romania)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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Peace Memorial Park

President Obama stands

Free of nuclear arms

--Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)

In the deepest sense, haiku is a form of greeting. Remembering that the U.S. president greeted the prime minister of Japan at the White House with a haiku (Spring, green and friendship United States and Japan Nagoyaka ni), the haikuist composed the above poem to mark Barack Obama’s historic first visit to Hiroshima on May 27. The use of the Japanese language by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Harvard Law School educated presidential poet in his haiku could represent a new path for modern haiku to experiment with. Teiichi Suzuki composed the next haiku in hopes their visit “will transmit in the world like the countermeasure of infectious diseases declared by the G-7 nations.”

Balmy breeze--

first visit to Dome

the soul sleeps

Stuart Walker sends his views of the visit as an U.S. expat in Sapporo. Junko Saeki in Tokyo believes that the blast of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima was followed by a short period of black rain. Deep in prayer, Angelee Deodhar had something else in mind.

From the thaw of darkness

hopes spring

rainbows

* * *

The “black rain” of that summer

only a spell, but

still haunting

* * *

Preoccupied

I leave the mosque

in someone else’s shoes

The war dead are officially remembered by Americans on the last Monday in May. Horst Ludwig was invited to spend that Memorial Day weekend in Minnesota. Using a colloquial phrase, he says the cabin in the northern woods was a “cottage up north.” Having just turned 80, he worries “there may not be that many long drives anymore.” Robert Kania shares a poem from “Frogpond” about watching young soldiers lay down their weapons.

From the porch

the misty view of

an old pond

* * *

heavy rain

end of the war

with cardboard swords

Ana Drobot celebrated the launch of her new haiku book “Japanese Thoughts” in Bucharest, Romania. The 66-page book contains her haiku previously displayed at the Asahi Haikuist Network.

Rain . ..

counting every second

of his pulse

Stuck on a bus in Nagoya, Satoru Kanematsu thinks of traveling the world, but has so far been frustrated by his dream.

Spring midday--

the bus passengers

all seniors

* * *

Passing spring

my passport not stamped

since issued

Anna Goluba felt the earth move in Warsaw, Poland. Teiichi Suzuki admits he once “had a lot of dreams, but almost all of them remain unrealized.” Writing from Sapporo, Kumika Haga shares an impossible dream. Kania recites a poem from his book “39 haiku” about a dream he saw.

Earth tremor

in my dream

a few days before

* * *

Mugwort rice cake--

abandoned dreams

in my hometown

* * *

Rain in the a.m.

completes my pipedream

of you and me

* * *

billowing clouds

over the desert--

a dream

Ikken Ikemoto records the sound of successive raindrops from young green leaves in early summer. Replete with A-flat notes, Frederic Chopin composed the Raindrop Prelude Op. 28, No. 15 in Spain where he tried to escape the rainy weather that bothered his tuberculosis.

Raindrops

in A-flat repetition--

fresh green leaves

While confined to bed with tuberculosis during the last seven years of his life in Tokyo, Masaoka Shiki (18671902) decided to record his dreams. In 1898 he dreamed of climbing Mount Fuji and penned this tanka: ureshikumo noborishi Fuji no itadaki ni ashi wananakite yume samen to su (Happily I climbed Mount Fuji legs trembling on its peak I awoke). A survivor of the Great Hanshin earthquake, Hidehito Yasui recalls the startling musical performance of tremolo, a trembling effect reiterating one note either vocally or on a bowed string instrument.

TV live scenes--

earth tremolo outbreak

revives my dying memories

On a rainy day in Birmingham, Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy’s grandmother rhythmically crushes medicine or seeds into powder. Sheila K. Barksdale visited Florence Nightingale’s childhood home in Lea Hurst at Holloway. Helen Buckingham reports that she’s under study in Wells, Somerset.

tinkling rain--

granny’s counterbeats

from her pestle

* * *

Old chapel

lepers window

silence

* * *

NHS computer

a bug

with my name on it

Ana Drobot may have been bedridden in Bucharest, Romania. Ian Willey is at a loss about how to cure his medical students in Kagawa Prefecture.

Chicken pox--

all the blooms

fell

* * *

the middle of May

a sleeping sickness spreading

through all the classrooms

Simone K. Busch feels emotionally drained in Tokyo. In Nagoya, Isao Soematsu pinpoints the root cause of his deepest worry.

Another quake

I lean against

the empty moon

* * *

Repeated tremors--

nuclear power plant

source of anxiety

Junko Saeki celebrates the birth of a grandniece--weighing only 900 grams, she was safely delivered by C-section in Tokyo. Doc Sunday peeps inside a stroller on the streets of Hiroshima. Guliz Vural studies the beauty of rebirth in Turkey.

Coming in from a May storm

Mom has her breast milk pumped--

God bless all, down to the tiniest preemie

* * *

Boy or girl?

in baby carriage

a puppy

* * *

Mulberries under rain

a silkworm caterpillar

shedding its skin

While visiting an archeological museum in Turkey, Guliz Vural was fascinated by relics known as tear catchers. In Ancient Roman times, glass bottles were filled with tears and placed by mourners in tombs as a symbol of their respect for the deceased. Noting how “their precious bottle green colour is fascinating” she composed a haiku about the loss of our heritage to earth tremors. Steliana Voicu faced a difficult question in Ploiesti, Romania. Sounds enliven the rain for Marshall Hryciuk in Toronto, Canada. Vural cheers up.

Broken tear catcher . ..

earth, wind and fire shaping

another world

* * *

Putting on a green raincoat . ..

the boy asks mom why

the angels cry

* * *

Three-year-old screams

birds’ chirpier chatter

rain

* * *

Rainy moon

makes no sound

birdbath cheers

In Poland Zuzanna Truchlewska believes rain “is one of most beautiful topics.” A gentle rain in Switzerland tempts Helga Stania to go barefoot. Kiyoshi Fukuzawa remarks on the names of roses.

Rain--

drop after drop the lake

steadily overflows its banks

* * *

Rain . ..

walking on forest moss

barefoot

* * *

Heavy rain--

in the rose garden

dignified “queens”

Marietta Jane McGregor visited Japan in 2014. Enjoying a rainy drive through Minnesota, Horst Ludwig dreamed up an onomatopoeic haiku.

Nara downpour

a shrine’s rain chain

plaited in silver

* * *

Sudden heavy rain

splashing on the interstate--

Appalachian Spring

Lydia Lecheva feels as though the rain is pouring down all the time in Sofia, Bulgaria. She says, “I believe that the rainy seasons from the tropics have moved to Sofia.”

Flowers in pots left behind--

watching through the window

spring downpours

At a loss for words when reading how haikuists in Europe have had so much rain, Vasu Sankamnerd reports from Bangkok that “Many areas and many people in Thailand are suffering a heavy drought. Cash crops and trees are dying. Only heavy rain can relieve this situation.” The haikuist fears global warming, rising temperatures and water shortages.

Water from the sky,

where are you?

we need you

Writing from Carmel, Indiana, Thomas Canull pens a graceful poem that hints at death with a metaphorical reference to the falling rain that suggests the transience of life.

Solitary soul

listening to the rainfall

waiting for the end.

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Readers are invited to send haiku about summer 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.