Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Snow melt through the rushing traffic a wood pigeon

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

* * *

louvered windows--

cold war paperbacks

fall from their bindings

--John Martone (Charleston, Illinois)

* * *

White House

Eloquence--

has left the building

--Ian Willey (Takamatsu, Kagawa)

* * *

Winter sky--

Obama’s gone, but

Yes, we can

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

Melting snow--

a lady in high heels

picks her way

--Isabelle Prondzynski (Nairobi, Kenya)

* * *

Collapsing houses--

their shadows

immaculate

--Ramona Linke (Beesenstedt, Germany)

* * *

Dawn . ..

after the revelry

city silhouette silent

--Madhuri Pillai (Melbourne, Australia)

* * *

All afternoon

lightly falling snow

mutes the shape of things

--Jeanne Jorgensen (Edmonton, Alberta)

* * *

Deep winter

the bark of the birch tree

blends in

--Ian Anderson (Misawa Air Base, Aomori)

* * *

Soft chords

on a piano

falling snow

--Garry Eaton (Port Moody, British Columbia)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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Icebreaker

under the mountain castle

it’s our town

--Noriko Kan (Matsuyama, Ehime)

The haikuist attended the opening performance of the comedy “52 days” about Masaoka Shiki and Natsume Soseki. All the seats at the Botchan theater were filled with tourists, businessmen and government officials, so the mayor proudly warmed up the audience by confirming how much his city loves haiku. Kan said she was impressed by that speech. Later, in a public hot spring nearby her apartment, she composed the above haiku. She associates its first line with the spring thaw and the warm greeting her hometown affords visitors.

Korean born Lee Hyosun describes a perfectly romantic Valentine’s night-out near Kagoshima airport.

Two rabbits in the frost

a blanket, sweet hot chocolate

the warmest night

Elisa Allo is fond of a tiny, pure-white flower that struggles its way up through snow to bloom in Switzerland. Eva Limbach’s heart is melting in Saarbrucken, Germany. In Bangkok, Marek Kozubek loves to be hugged.

My heart melts--

in the middle of whiteness

a snowdrop

* * *

Newborn baby

the scent of

melting snow

* * *

In your embrace

the warmth of a heartbeat--

melting snow

Melanie Vance’s haiku introduces the pride of Texas at this time of year. The state flower is a tall plume of blue flowers spotted with a tinge of pink that grows on the prairies. Living in Oklahoma, but native to Niagara Falls, Dottie Piet misses her favorite spring flower.

Texas tradition

springs with hope--

bluebonnets

* * *

Spring

comes out of hiding

first crocus

Alan Summers recalls “one of my childhood winters where there were hundreds of snowmen dotted around parks and the fronts of houses.” The sun’s out in Bagnolo San Vito, Italy, reports Marina Bellini.

melting snow

a shadow adjusts

the snowman

* * *

sunny spell--

the snowman quietly

lies down

Jennifer Hambrick laments how a mother’s work is never done. In Montgomery, New York, Priscilla Lignori wishes her children would empty the milk carton before starting a new one.

leaving me

to pick up after him

melting snowman

* * *

The last drops of milk

poured into an empty glass--

sound of melting snow

Willey wishes his kids who live in Japan could experience playing in towering snow piles like he used to do outside his family’s homestead in Akron, Ohio. Having emigrated from Lebanon, his mother taught her grandkids that they must be able to assert their rights in a new country.

crisp silence

the mountain range left

by the plow

* * *

spring demonstrations

Grandma shows the kids some moves

from the old country

Lavana Kray enjoys a stylish form of late spring skiing on the mountain slopes of Romania. Mario Massimo Zontini prefers skating in Parma, Italy.

bikinis parade

on skis--

the snow melts

* * *

frozen pond--

pair of mallards skate

on blue ice

Angelee Deodhar intertwines the language of her prayers to Buddha for spring in Tokyo. Carlos Gesmundo gets down on his knees to count his blessings in Minnesota. Charlie Smith gets up early in North Carolina.

mamemaki--

I buy a lucky omikuji

at Asakusa temple

* * *

Midnight mass

the snow-laden spruce

genuflects

* * *

Crack of dawn

approaching snow clouds

pretty in pink

Christof Blumentrath walks through a playground on his way home from work in Borken, Germany. Junko Yamada watches the icy blue lights of the Seven Sisters constellation. Junko Yamada applauds dancers in Kamakura. Adrian Bantugan’s home on Misawa Air Base was hit by a snowstorm.

Blue ice

the moon and stars play

on the slide

* * *

Bitter cold

Pleides roams around

the ice lake

* * *

In a group

around the chilly lake

swans dance

* * *

The blizzard

transformed the earth

into another moon

T. D. Ginting says he experienced snow for the first time of his life as a student at Tokyo Christian University in Chiba Prefecture. Satoru Kanematsu, a retired English teacher, hopes students who trudge through snowstorms to get to school can pass their tests.

Looking out

from I where usually sit--

is (y)early snow falling?

* * *

Defying

snow and entrance tests

young hopefuls

Kaci McBrayer smiles at a bird wandering in a playing field outside Sollars Elementary School in Misawa. A kiss is blown toward her classmate Zoie Martin. Claire Bowman sips hot cocoa. Arisa Koch studies haiku at Sollars with Kamalene Nelson, an ESL specialist. Doc Sunday, a retired nursing professor, feels a pins-and-needles sensation in his frozen feet.

the sparrow

oblivious to a cap

of pristine, white snow

* * *

golden carp puckers up

in the icy

river

* * *

smoke stacks rising gray

hot cocoa steam burns your lips

a perfect cold day

* * *

Snowman in the park

One boy

Came back

* * *

ginger tea

frostbitten toes itch

feeling warm

McLellan might have been chanting the words “she loves me, she loves me not.” Yutaka Kitajima added up numbers the way his dad used to do in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. Slobodan Pupovac nodded off to sleep in Zagreb, Croatia.

Picking rose petals

I suddenly remember

the sound of your voice

* * *

Count to ten

soaking in the bath--

father's voice

* * *

The old roof

tirelessly drips and

drips and drips

Yesterday’s snow quickly disappeared from Nazarena Rampini’s roof in Pogliano Milanese, Italy. Ikken Ikemoto captured a serene moment in the precincts of a temple in Kyoto.

Cleared gutter

drop by drop--

yesterday’s snow

* * *

Melting snow

apprentice priest clears the garden--

in perfect silence

Natalia Kuznetsova feels heavenly in Moscow. Karen O’Leary remembers the beat of her grandmother’s chuckle in West Fargo, North Dakota.

icicles drip

the bright blue sky--

vernal prelude

* * *

beet wine

grandma’s giggles dance

in my heart

Alexis Rotella feels a cold wind attack from all directions in Arnold, Maryland. Azi Kuder prays for protection in Gdansk, Poland. Smith can sense he’s being watched as he walks through the forest. A museologist in Ankara, Turkey, Guliz Mutlu’s pen halts, perched at the end of her third line.

Everywhere

at once

the wind

* * *

Snowy chapel

four oaks

guard Madonna

* * *

Perched owl

scans 180 degrees

tracks in snow

* * *

melting snow

the things

I cannot

Spikes surround Isao Soematsu in Nagoya. Meltwater mixed with sunlight in Montreal when Richard Jodoin was on his way to the dentist’s.

Melting snow--

a fringe of icicles

on the eaves

* * *

Vastness of blue sky

in the small icicles

a brilliant amalgam

Teiichi Suzuki woke with a start in paradise, sheepishly rambling that he “sometimes has a short nap unknowingly in a hot bath.” Writing from Berkeley, California, Bruce H. Feingold remembers the time when he woke up with a jolt in a Japanese hospital.

40 winks

short space walk

in hot bath

* * *

winter winds

the alarm beeps when my pulse

drops below forty

A whistling tea kettle calls out to Elisa Allo in Cesena, Italy. Brendan Hewitt exhales a dream in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. Patrick Sweeney reflects in a dream-like cedar forest. Dreamy eyes beckon Kozubek.

Water whistles:

I sip tea

under the snow

* * *

Winter moonlit path

undulating beach water

appears through my breath

* * *

A cryptomeria

if I knew I were a cryptomeria

in deep snow

* * *

Lights of Bangkok--

discovered in her eyes

moonlight

Sneha Sundaram says farewell to an old friend: Taking my secrets with him-- melting snowman.

In Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, kjmunro faces a decision. Tears in her eyes and hands, Zuzanna Truchlewska bids adieu.

water running from melting snow

her wedding band

on the counter

* * *

Moment of goodbye

in my hand

melting snow

The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear March 3, 17 and 31. Readers are invited to send haiku about something coming to an end 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).

* * *

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.