Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

In a horse’s eye watching the world go by

--Alexis Rotella (Arnold, Maryland)

* * *

Horsetails

who’ll be the last

to sleep here?

--Yutaka Kitajima (Joetsu, Niigata)

* * *

White tiger’s eye

over the wintry forest

a full moon

--Maria Woroniecki (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

That last story

at the fireside--

melting ice

--Vasile Moldovan (Bucharest, Romania)

* * *

cloudy

white grey black--a whole week

finals

--Paul Geiger (Sebastopol, California)

* * *

End of a long winter

the collective agreement

freshly printed

--Richard Jodoin (Montreal, Canada)

* * *

spring clouds--

no longer in the same place

as last year

--Mary Vlooswyk (Calgary, Alberta)

* * *

Bare trees

after work I cross the street

entering the mosque gate

--Ken Sawitri (Blora, Indonesia)

* * *

end to the weekend . ..

the steam rises

pressing my white shirt

--Charlotte Digregorio (Winnetka, Illinois)

* * *

an old man takes

the last puff of a cigarette--

smoking zone

--David Mutie (Nairobi, Kenya)

------------------------------

FROM THE NOTEBOOK

------------------------------

School bus

footprints vanish

in the snow

--Jennifer Hambrick (Columbus, Ohio)

Today marks the end of the school year in Japan. The haikuist waves goodbye to students on a big old yellow bus made by Blue Bird. Faith Mulei belongs to Kenkyo na Kokoro haiku club in Nairobi, Kenya.

the school guard

closes the school gate--

Friday evening

Hambrick recalls holidays when her “mother would scoop up a heap of virgin snow and mix it with cream, sugar, and vanilla extract for a tasty treat she called snow cream.”

on my taste buds

snow and sugar

sparkling

Eleonore Nickolay says she waited too long in Vaires sur Marne, France. Yutaka Kitajima loves snow, and reports there’s still lots of fresh snow in Niigata, but asks Mother Earth to show some “sympathy for us, the snowbound inhabitants; our longing for springtime is beyond words.”

first snow

in her little palm

melting flakes

* * *

Soft-landing

on the virgin snow

a shrike

Puja Malushte frets over fiscal year-end taxes and bills in Mumbai, India.

March ending

each piece of paper

looks like an invoice

In an effort to curb Japan’s long work hours, on the last Friday of each month workers are allowed to finish early so they can go out and have some fun. Today is Premium Friday, a perfect time for Teiichi Suzuki to head for a restaurant in Fukui to eat thinly sliced raw yellowtail served on colorful plates. Created in 1950 as a rare beef specialty, the Italian namesake of his favorite dish was a Renaissance painter. Other nonmeat dishes, such as pear Carpaccio, appear on the menu.

Carpaccio

of yellowtail surfing

on a blue platter

The chef at Haiku, a sushi restaurant in Redmond, Washington, printed this enticing item on his menu.

Oily rich kisses

deep bold, lingering sweetly

yellowtail lovers

Patrick Wafula teaches haiku and coordinates four haiku clubs in Nairobi where the current hot dry season will soon give way to Kenya’s wettest months of April and May. This haiku features his favorite in-season fruit.

eating a mango--

I lick the sticky sweet juice

on my knuckles

Cocktail bars in Tokyo, including Three Thread, serve haiku-themed drinks such as winter stars and butterflies to patrons who compose haiku, but the owner of the Hoyaken Haiku Bar in Matsuyama actually writes haiku for his customers.

Into the dusk

glistening of hakubai

in my eyes

Teiichi Suzuki, who flew in from Osaka to celebrate winning a photo haiku contest, penned this haiku at the bar.

“tighten your seatbelts”

flying in the mist

to Matsuyama

Eva Limbach mixes music with a hint of cherry in Saarbrcken, Germany. Mario Massimo Zontini heads for home in Parma, Italy.

jukebox melody

the old fashioned taste of

cherry cola

* * *

evening with friends--

I go back reluctantly

to my empty place

Lilia Racheva writes about a teetotaler in Sofia, Bulgaria. Debbi Antebi savors a soupspoon full of homemade memories.

Tea at five,

pink petals

in our cups

* * *

winter sun

I dip my spoon

in mom’s green pea soup

Kiyoshi Fukuzawa’s all-time favorite author is Alice Munro, a Nobel Prize winner from Canada who constantly revises her own work to insert rhythmic syllables and punctuation marks. He enjoys sweets containing mugwort leaves, considered by Japanese culinary experts to be a seasonal dish for spring.

Green tea

followed by black tea

still with Munro!

* * *

Rice cakes

green as fresh leaves--

spring at hand

Priscilla Lignori’s house enjoys an early spring cleaning in Montgomery, New York.

Wiping the foggy

mirror after a shower--

the end of winter

Reporting that she was enjoying “a lovely, blue, and very crisp day here in Winnipeg, Manitoba,” Debbie Strange put pen to paper to come up with this sketch.

alpine lakes

begin to thaw . ..

robin eggs

Blue Macaw began this season by setting a fresh blotter on a desk with a view of the Oberland mountain range in Switzerland. The poet’s first line of what may have become a story about the idyllic location spotted with lakes, snow-capped mountains and little mountain villages was: Onset of winter, pristine snow and silence--a blank sheet.

At this end of winter, the poet inserted a worn blotter inked with these words between bookends on a shelf.

… The thaw well advanced,

a watercolour sky

bleeds through from beneath

Lovely Primrose Hill has a clear view of central London, yet Gotherington may have lovelier locations to paint primroses. Sheila K. Barksdale was so caught up in artistic enjoyment that she didn’t stop to remix her oils to perfection.

How skilfully

yellow primrose petals have borrowed

a faint green!

Fortunately, both Srinivasa Rao Sambangi from Hyderabad, India, and Simon Hanson from Queensland, Australia, came to a stop at a traffic light.

Afterglow--

having given up the green

on day’s commute

* * *

Trickling

down the windscreen

red light turns green

Mary Vlooswyk admits she was inspired to compose this haiku “by my husband who cannot seem to stay awake for an entire movie.” Natalia Kuznetsova closes the covers of a really good book in Moscow, Russia. The audience shouted out “Biiiiiiiissss!” at a cinema in Zagreb, Croatia, frequented by Slobodan Pupovac. He suggests that, as is often the case these days, marriage can end a love story. Steliana Voicu rewrites a happy ending in Ploiesti, Romania.

he nods off

just before

movie credits roll

* * *

eternal love. ..

even fairytales

come to an end

* * *

romantic movie

two lovers get married

The End

* * *

Rain of sakura . ..

falling in love (again)

with you

Maria Dermendzieva may have had a fitful sleep in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria. A sleepless night is put to rest by crowing cocks followed by “the first chants from a distant minaret,” writes Isabelle Prondzynski in Nairobi. Catherine Njeri describes how precious drinking water is in Kenya, a country suffering from the effects of climate change.

Azure sky

tomorrow’s snow cloud

a fallen angel

* * *

sleepless night--

now the cocks are crowing

at last

* * *

one small boy

turning up his water bottle--

last drop

Elizabeth Moura narrowly escaped injury in East Taunton, Massachusetts. Mohammad Azim Khan was shocked but was not hurt in Peshawar, Pakistan. Luciana Moretto survived an avalanche in Treviso, Italy, where people were confusingly told to stay in their homes because of a heavy snowfall, but to come outside because an earthquake hit. Helen Herr holds on in Saskatchewan.

footsteps behind

a slab of melting snow

hits the sidewalk

* * *

a sudden thud

snow crystals

on my bald head

* * *

A rumble

of snow slide--

thirty dead

* * *

hugging an oversized doll

smiling and hugging

holding on

The first line of A. Thiagarajan’s haiku refers to a Hindu naming ceremony celebrated by family and friends within 14 days of a birth. The chosen name is whispered three times in the newborn’s ear.

naamkaran--

she wonders what suits

the still born

Paul Geiger obliquely faces a framed document hung on the wall.

a dead past

in large black letters

on parchment

Sneha Sundaram bids adieu to an old buddy: Taking my secrets with him -- melting snowman.

John Martone has come to the end of the road in Charleston, Illinois. Writing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dottie Piet recalls having observed the end of a glacier. Eleven-year old Anaya Clements feels the moon pull away from Misawa Air Base. It has taken Ramona Linke a long time to find her way to Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

cold and rainy--

sunday afternoon

on the cul-de-sac

* * *

thunderous crackle

cerulean ice plunges

into the sea

* * *

The full moon

leaves a forest

of stars behind

* * *

Deep in space

the ice blue sparkling

of my descendants

A hard-working member of the Beaver Haiku Club in Kenya, Faith Mumbe lets out a sigh, sits back, closes her eyes and drops her arms to her sides. Patrick Sweeney rests in peace after having taught a haiku class in Misawa, Aomori.

time up--

the teacher collects

exam papers

* * *

letting my bones

rest on the wind

the weeping plum

Arvinder Kaur was startled by a gentle breath of wind in Chandigarh, India.

a slight rock

of grandma’s chair--

porch shadows

Put haiku on your bucket list http://www.asahi.com/ajw/special/haiku/. The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear April 7 and 21. Readers are invited to send haiku about going to school 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.