Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Old childhood tree I have forgotten how to climb

--Mercy Ikuri (Narok, Kenya)

* * *

A hidden fragrance

adrift on the breeze that sways my heart

wintersweet begins to bloom

--Cai Siyi (Suzhou, China)

* * *

Warm countries . ..

I dream with open eyes

every cold night

--Ana Drobot (Bucharest, Romania)

* * *

Blue opals--

delving into the glance

grandma’s eyes

--Helga Stania (Ettiswil, Switzerland)

* * *

Christmas Eve--

rise and fall of grandma’s rosary

during the bingo

--Maria Laura Valente (Cesena, Italy)

* * *

Mountain tree

the thought of having my head

above the clouds

--Adjei Agyei-Baah (Kumasi, Ghana)

* * *

Entire life--

in the left side of my soul

only an oak tree

--Mariana Tanase (Braila, Romania)

* * *

Some straight, some gnarled

easier to see in

trees than in Man

--Junko Saeki (Tokyo)

* * *

Jungle walk--

admiring the strangler fig

a leech sucking blood through his sock

--Danny Blackwell (Valencia, Spain)

* * *

Landscaped parks

In the concrete jungle

Trees without forest

--Uday Patankar (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania)

* * *

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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Tango

in step with the wind

old oak

--Madhuri Pillai (Melbourne, Australia)

The haikuist dances with trees. Indra Neil warms the night in Rajamundry, India. Natalia Kuznetsova admires a tall, dark trunk in Moscow, Russia. Guliz Mutlu approves of a time-honored tradition in Ankara, Turkey.

Winter fog--

the rising glow

of a bonfire

* * *

Out of the fog

there comes the naked oak . ..

handsome as ever

* * *

Henna tree

virgins dress the bride

with prayers

Fall is always beautiful in Lexington, Massachusetts, notes Suraja Roychowdhury where it’s time for the “shedding of leaves, shedding of summer clothes and donning of appropriate fall attire.”

leaf over leaf

over leaf over leaf

fall catalog

The act of stripping bare foreshadows winter’s arrival in Paul Faust’s hometown of Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Teiichi Suzuki is temporarily shocked by the stark silhouettes of winter trees. Tuvshinzaya Nergui compares snowflakes to the stars overhead in Mongolia. Jeanne Jorgensen admires the colors of human diversity in Edmonton, Alberta.

Their branches shedding

varied autumn finery

nakedness cometh

* * *

Lightning flash--

shadowgraph of naked limbs

on the hill

* * *

Night . ..

a branch covered in snow

flurry of stars

* * *

So colorful

surrounded by barren trees

a rural mosque

Isao Soematsu looks quizzically at a Dendropanax trifidus tree ivy that sprouts various-shaped leaves. Known in Japan as “kakuremino,” children lovingly refer to it as a “jankenn-no-ki” after the popular hand game. After retiring from teaching at Lethbridge College in Alberta, Richard Stevenson authored “Fruit Wedge Moon” and penned “Rock, Scissors, Paper” a long poem sequence which will soon be published.

An autumnal breeze--

Dendropanax play

rock-paper-scissors

* * *

Tattered stratus--

ivy’s green pelt riffles

along the stucco

In Cambridge Springs, Massachusetts, Craig W. Steele plays a child’s game requiring physical and mental skills. Tobe Roberts wishes to communicate with trees in New Jersey.

Crisscross veins

of fallen maple leaves--

pick-up sticks

* * *

Wind rustling of leaves

trees are talking about us

what are they saying

Aparna Pathak respects the tree of life in India. She also admires a strange variation of plant roots that grow above the ground in India. Beware of the strangler fig roots though, when they surround a tree trunk they become thicker and stronger and eventually squeeze the life out of their host.

Sacred tree--

no place to tie the thread

for an insane wish

* * *

Ariel roots--

a monkey pendant

of the sun

Helga Stania felt topsy-turvy in Ettiswil, Switzerland. Goran Gatalica talks to himself in Zagreb, Croatia. Nika finds himself in British Columbia. Eleonore Nickolay observes a moment of silence in France. Anna Goluba covers her ears in Warsaw, Poland.

Attuning myself

to the misty shrouds--

bog grove

* * *

Foggy trees

my pathway wrestles

with solitude

* * *

finding comfort

in the company of trees

my inner child

* * *

Last walk

watching the unsaid

in the trees

* * *

Tree cutting--

through the axes strikes

dogs howling

Elizabeth Moura is guided by a beacon to East Taunton, Massachusetts. A tree signals to Vasile Moldovan in Bucharest, Romania.

Gloomy fall

my favorite maple

lights the way

* * *

Old maple tree

waving majestically

like a flag

Suzuki loves the green glow that radiates from bamboo forests in the autumn season, noting “When other trees turn yellow and red, the green of bamboo leaves is impressive.” Having browned while nurturing new shoots in spring and summer, the mature bamboo trees recover and turn fresh green. Puja Malushte peers into a trance-like green dream in Mumbai, India.

Stray wind

in bamboo forests

green shadows

* * *

Mystic lake

deep down

green shadows

Marek Kozubek lies covered in leaves in Bangkok, Thailand. Perhaps he resembles a green man, which is a sculpture of a face surrounded by leaves. Twelve-year-old Mishelle Megginson writes with head-over-heels enthusiasm at Sollar’s School in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture. Robert Butkus lives in British Columbia surrounded by trees on Powell River at the edge of a vast coastal forest stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains.

Promises--

from an autumn tree

leaf after leaf

* * *

Pear

sitting upside down

with green ideas

* * *

Snowy trees

bending, laughing together . ..

dancing

Simon Hanson catches a glimpse of the tree line in Queensland, Australia. Satoru Kanematsu spots an aptly named cluster of grass blowing in the autumn wind.

Dark forest

trees along the line

lit by a passing train

* * *

Responding

to a passing train

foxtail’s ears

Dottie Piet inspects a silk nest made by caterpillars each fall (tent worms weave cocoons in spring) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Capota Daniela Lacramioara loves the color pink. Marta Chocilowska finds herself in Warsaw.

Indian summer

webworms tent

my pecan tree

* * *

Late autumn--

on silk fan

cherry trees in bloom

* * *

And here I am

cherry tree sheds petals

a gravestone

Nickolay tries to hold on in Paris, France. Disease is relentless, notes Priscilla Lignori in Montgomery, New York. The Zika virus continues to worry Barbara Taylor in Mountain Top, Australia.

Terminal stage

her lengthening shadow

in the park

* * *

No passport needed

travel over borders--

flu viruses

* * *

Busy favelas

the frantic rush to cover

stagnant waters

* * *

Birthdays remind Christina Sng what she got from her brother. Winter is a common time of the year for chickenpox to occur. Aju Mukhopadhyay caught influenza. Grace Stroer-Jarvis catches herself.

11th birthday

chicken pox

from my brother

* * *

laid down

with severe flu

without a hint

* * *

Walking home

I catch reflections

in a window pane

Geethanjali Rajan discovered the taste of umeshu while studying in Saitama, remarking “it was new and different to me, especially the unripened fruits at the bottom of the jar.” Christof Blumentrath strikes just the right note in his haiku.

liquored plum

a burn in the chest

as I leave

* * *

a note of blackberry

in my red wine

old friends

Moldovan dances to a familiar beat of winter. Calling out loud from the Indonesian forest, Ken Sawitri likely favors digital newspapers. Nina Kovacic pines for only one tree in Croatia in her haiku translated by Durda Vukelic Rozic.

In the open . ..

on Chestnut Street

rhythm of drums

* * *

On bleached paper

in imperial red:

‘save the trees’

* * *

Under derrick cranes

the scent of lush leaves from

the last walnut tree

A student at Soka University, Yumiko Sato intently observes the moon. Her classmate, Miho Manabe from Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, tells us love can change the world.

Supermoon

shining brilliantly

in the deep dark sky

* * *

Big and strong

love’s the best hero

change the world

Readers are invited to enter eight great haiku in the Matsuyama Photo Haiku in English Contest supported by the Asahi Culture Center and The Asahi Shimbun. It’s free to enter online at this link before January 9: http://www.matsuyamahaiku.jp/contest/index_en.html.

Elisa Allo draws circular spiritual symbols in Switzerland.

Under the moon

I draw a mandala

with closed eyes

Clifford W. Lindemann stays on a small farm in Broederstroom, South Africa. His haiku implies how things have changed since Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994. Watching his 10-year-old grandson swim with Malawians and South African friends, he notes they’re “four boys just being boys.”

Swimming pool

a melting pot of cultures

Mandela stirs

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The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears Dec. 30. Readers are invited to send haiku about what their hometowns look like on the first day of the year by postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail to mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp.

* * *

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 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 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.