Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

the color green-- grandmother’s favorite ring on my wrinkled finger

--Ikuyo Yoshimura (Gifu, Japan)

* * *

Sahara

only her eyes

are green

--Slobodan Pupovac (Zagreb, Croatia)

* * *

winter dawn

in an empty street I wait

for the green light

--Debbi Antebi (London, U.K.)

* * *

spring haze--

the sunset over the sea

is green light

--Margherita Petriccione (Scauri, Italy)

* * *

chrysolite mist

in a town washed with rain--

vernal morning

--Natalia Kuznetsova (Moscow, Russia)

* * *

Homecoming--

mist curtains

the greenery

--Anthony Q. Rabang (Vigan, Philippines)

* * *

Rift Valley

God’s untouched masterpiece--

the last of it

--Mercy Ikuri (Narok, Kenya)

* * *

Spring morning

drifts of valley mist

tinted green

--Simon Hansen (Queensland, Australia)

* * *

Green seaweed--

quarrelling seagulls

on the winter shore

--Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo (The Hague, Netherlands)

* * *

Green turbaned mullah

plunges his fiery tongue

on the congregation

--Mohammad Azim Khan (Peshawar, Pakistan)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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Reading Ryokan

flying over mountains

I dream of mountains

--Suraja Roychowdhury (Boston, Massachusetts)

Flying home via Dubai, the haikuist found inspiration in a line of poetry penned by Ryokan Taigu (17581831): Yamazato wa kaeru no koe ni nari ni keri.

Mountain town

drowns in the croaking

of green frogs

While walking in the verdant mountains of Kumamoto, Santoka Taneda (18821940) dreamed of him too: Aoba wake yuku Ryokan-sama mo ikashitaro.

Green forest

thinking that Ryokan also

passed this way

Writing in his travel journal that he literally liked “to taste the mountains,” Santoka may have meant that he drank sake until he almost drowned in it. His free-style haiku reveals how deeply he immersed himself in the early summer green of mountains: Wakeitte mo wakeitte mo aoi yama. His final years were spent in a small cottage near a temple in Matsuyama. He penned: Minna dete iku yama wa aosa no iyoiyo aoku.

Young men march--

the mountain greenness

at its peak

Injuring her knee, Minako Noma can’t wait to get back outdoors in her hometown of Matsuyama.

again and again

I open the door

to feel spring

This month, three bars in Matsuyama begin serving haiku-themed drinks and local sake with hints of cherry, orange and ginger. The owner of Hoyaken assigns pennames to customers. The owner of WBGO is a jazz enthusiast, and bartenders at Caravan play in a jazz haiku group. Iris penned this flavorful poem at an opening event crowded with journalists and tourist agents.

Dry sake

drinking with new friend

udo scent

In search of greener pastures, Marietta McGregor flies to Japan and will make her way to Matsuyama by April. She won last year’s Photo-Haiku Contest supported by The Asahi Shimbun.

St Patrick’s day

leaving brown Australia

for green Japan

Teiichi Suzuki hopes to imbibe green beer at a haiku bar in Matsuyama on the eve of this year’s Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest award ceremony. It will be packed with revelers tonight, so he dedicates a haiku to the Irish who died or were forced to emigrate during the potato famine (1845-1852).

Warmth of the sun--

seed potatoes catch

in the soil

Noma says her rehabilitation therapy includes walking in straight lines down swimming pools and garden paths. Isao Soematsu circles the girth of a 1,000-year-old evergreen in Nagoya.

Recovery

saying “come on legs, come on”

walking green path

* * *

Precincts of the shrine--

millennium camphor tree

all branches swell green

Santoka admired trees, writing: Daisho mo watakushi mo inu mo shiguretsutsu.

Great camphor,

both me and the dog

soaking wet

Mohammad Azim Khan watches rolling stones gather moss in Peshawar, Pakistan. As a child growing up in Bursa, Turkey, Fatma Gultepe dreamed of grandeur. Charlie Smith turns over an old leaf in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mario Massimo Zontini likes the way his lawn is behaving in Parma, Italy. Lamenting, “my hands are green, my knees are green, but my garden is beautiful,” Slobodan Pupovac goes on a picnic in the mountains of Zagreb, Croatia.

green stones . ..

the moss conquers

the mountain

* * *

white olympic mountain

my childhood dream

green valley and blue sea

* * *

rock garden

last fall’s leaves blanket

new green moss

* * *

winter garden--

under rotting leaves

green of new grass

* * *

we spread out

a blanket on the high

mountain pasture

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo’s early spring dreams wander the moors of Arnhem, Netherlands. Jennifer Hambrick’s been waiting for the neighbors to redecorate. She’s especially eager to see a line of green stalks appear in her “otherwise desolate garden plot,” explaining, “it’s a ritual of hope.”

february day--

the grass on the moor

not yet green

* * *

february--

on the neighbor’s door

a christmas wreath

* * *

winter garden--

the tips

of the garlic scapes

Marina Bellini Bagnolo quickly draws a line through each item on her list of things to buy in San Vito, Italy. Isao Soematsu walks along a green roadside. Isabelle Prondzynski ducks when walking under camphor, cedar and bamboo trees growing from the slopes of Mount Kenya. Remarkably a few centimeters of snow fell in February on the Kinangop plateau and hail once covered the central Kenyan village of Busara in a layer of slush for hours. Asako Utsunomiya senses she’s clearing snow for the last time this season in Hiroshima.

morning rush

the greengrocer greets me

with a nod

* * *

Melting snow--

young shoots of narcissi

coming into sight

* * *

off the trees--

splashes of snow

as it melts

* * *

Shoveling--

softer and milder

scoops of snow

Neha R. Krishna doodles at her desk in Mumbai, India. Alexey Andreev finished work in Moscow, Russia.

office daydreaming . ..

drawing a thin line between

the sky and the sea

* * *

out of the office

my co-worker’s eyes

turn out to be green

Christine L. Villa recalls when her late husband “used to buy me this drink in March of every year.”

shamrock drink

the taste of a season

brings you back

Craig W. Steele lives on Irish Road, where we can surmise all the lawns are green with clover. Antonio Mangiameli admires greenery in Lentini, Italy.

every day

is St. Patrick’s Day--

leaf cutter ants

joyful day--

of a different green

the shamrock

Green jokes are risqu, but Melanie Vance shares a laugh from a pub in Dallas, Texas. “I’ve heard that joke before,” Francis Attard muses to himself in Malta. A wry smile crosses Mohammad Azim Khan’s face in Peshawar, Pakistan.

saintly grin~

i meet Patrick

in Temple Bar

* * *

ample free time

tramp’s last joke again

white breath

* * *

St. Patrick’s Day--

the pinch on my cheek

her emerald ring

Satoru Kanematsu follows tweets he sometimes finds hard to believe. Green lies bend the truth about the harm caused by global warming. Post-truths are spoken or written lines in which facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to personal belief. Smith, a statistics and math professor conversant in lines and facts, weighs into the discussion.

Tough winter--

in his twitter Trump

roars and roars

* * *

Year of bird

Washington nest site

many tweets

Attard may have called out “yea” in response to a jeer that the first words spoken by a political leader should be short and uncontroversial.

days deep in frost,

maiden speeches far too long!

quips Prime Minister

Zontini likely prefers the “ho-ho-kekyo” song of the olive-colored Japanese bush warbler and whistle of the greenfinch. Adjei Agyei-Baah watches his son eyeing a bird in Ghana.

Rainy winter day--

on top of leafless branches

green of a siskin

bird in a tree

the child’s eyes

filled with greenness

Ikken Ikemoto may have laughed so hard that tears came to his eyes while praying to a line of statues of Jizo, patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses in Japanese culture.

Stone Jizo images

smiling, grinning, chuckling

snow melting

Jennifer Hambrick suggests that going to funerals slows our busy lives down, if only for a little while, to make us think about the way we’re living.

after the funeral

stepping in time

with the church bells

John Martone rereads a graduation album compiled by students in Charleston, Illinois. Yutaka Kitajima tips his hat to former times when men were gentlemen.

your lines underlined

in a school farce

decades later

* * *

Melting snow

chivalrous country

yesteryear

Turn green with envy at http://www.asahi.com/ajw/special/haiku/ The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears March 31. Readers are invited to send haiku about mist 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.