Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

a brush with mortality black bristles

--Stuart Walker (Sapporo, Hokkaido)

* * *

Kentucky Derby

Muhammad Ali

parts the crowd

--Howard Lee Kilby (Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas)

* * *

early morning

on the doorstep from my house

bird tracks

--Nikolay Grankin (Krasnodar, Russia)

* * *

stone skimming--

my new friends and I

lake house lunch

--Angelee Deodhar (Chandigarh, India)

* * *

positively charged cloud

my thoughts

are electric

--Claire Bowman (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

out-of-town trip

the heavy downpour

of ideas

--Anthony Q. Rabang (Vigan, Philippines)

* * *

breezy and dark

sway of colored lanterns

paint the shadows

--Ashoka Weerakkody (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

* * *

brown bats

patrol the porch light

summer dusk

--John Hawk (Columbus, Ohio)

* * *

like children--

at the bell’s sound

the lesson ends

--Lucia Cardillo (Rodi Garganico, Italy)

* * *

How light the earth

in the summer’s sun before

it hits the coffin

--Beate Conrad (Hildesheim, Germany)





ripple the air

summer heat

--John Hawk (Columbus, Ohio)

Bikers roar past the haikuist, leaving heat shimmers all down the highway. Chortle if you will, but the throaty rumbling roar of hot gas pumping through the exhausts of the distinctive sounding Harley-Davidson engine sounds like “potato, potato, potato.” Last summer, Hokkaido’s worst potato harvest in 34 years was caused by a typhoon--a rare occurrence in the far north of Japan.



summer moon

Now that higher average temperatures are warming all parts of the globe, definitions of summer season haiku words now vary wildly from writer to reader. The following haiku selections swing the gamut from serious thought-provokers to lighter reads, dreary complaints to humorous anecdotes. Extreme weather is the new normal, and modern-day haikuists are among the first to realize its enormity. Tiffany Shaw-Diaz was shocked at her sudden loss in Dayton, Ohio.


where my car

used to be

In the Minnesota hinterland, “the meteorological terms watch and warning are now clear to everyone,” claims emeritus professor Horst Ludwig.

Driving home early

Tornado watch upgraded--

now a warning

Over the last 50 years, much of the world has experienced prolonged periods of abnormally high temperatures. Scientists warn that climate change due to global warming will cause extraordinary rainfalls and extreme weather more frequently in the coming months, seasons and years. Satoru Kanematsu contemplates the aftermath of the incredible rainfall that converged after Typhoon No. 3 left Japan.

Typhoon gone

in its quietude

sipping tea

When Matsuo Basho wrote hokku in the 17th century, he wandered around Japan meeting farmers who showed him new ways to view nature. Rather than sticking to formulaic season words, he aspired to reflect his real environment and emotions. While in Kyoto, he composed: Samidareya shikishi-hegitaru kabenoato.

The rainy season

poems pasted to the wall

peel off, leave their trace

Extreme weather causes human injury and death, destroys property and infrastructure, and disrupts agriculture and food production. Huge clouds unleashed record-breaking torrential rainfall on the south of Japan this month. Soaring as high as 15,000 meters, these stationary line-shaped rainfall systems poured down for hours in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures. Overflowing rivers, massive landslides and tornados forced thousands of residents from their homes, killing at least 30. Facing frustrations after recently moving to Kyushu, Chinese poet Jia Ru tries to find a silver lining in the island’s rain clouds. Beate Conrad reports that major floods shocked Berliners.



sorrow can sing

* * *

Summer downpour

cruising the streets of Berlin

in a canoe

A change in beat awakened Thomas Canull in Carmel, Indiana. Nickolay called the plumbers. Carlos Gesmundo may have whistled in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

rhythm of the rain

sudden downpour summer night

refreshes the soul

* * *


talking about summer

the plumber and I

* * *

July heat

the lady in a pantsuit

trips the sprinklers

Isabelle Prondzynski celebrates Belgium National Day today, July 21. Later this month she’ll return to work in Nairobi, Kenya, where she has learned to wait patiently. Phillip Booth, from the English county of Derbyshire conveys the essential meaning of summer thirst.

heavy downpour--

only our water taps

are dry

* * *

heat appears--

a panicked lust

for ice cubes

Mario Massimo Zontini was surprised to see wisteria bloom a second time in Parma, Italy.

Summer heat

wisteria blooms anew

yet, scentless

Christina Sng reports that “Singapore has definitely shifted with climate change. I remember not 20 years ago when July consistently meant a month of an unbearably scorching sun and not a drop of rain. Now we have April rains in July, and some nights so cool that I almost imagine we are in December.”

Summer garden

not a patch of moss


Extreme weather events are increasing and scientific evidence confirms that these increases are human-induced climate changes. Marek Kozubek can’t escape the sun’s glare in Bangkok, Thailand. Simon Hanson stands at ground zero in Queensland, Australia. Ana Drobot melts in Bucharest, Romania.

July heat--

thousands of sunsets

skyscrapers’ windows

* * *

Gold Coast high-rise

sunset floods

the ground floor

* * *

Cruise . ..

melting in the clouds


Firefighters are battling wildfires that are raging through the American West. Barbara A. Taylor shares firsthand the fear of fires that swept through forested areas near her home. She is shivering in the Australian winter now, but she recalls summer quivers, too.


smells of burning eucalypts

become stronger

* * *

steamy night

asleep in the hammock

in the nude

Maria Teresa Sisti sees sparks fly in Massa Carrara, Italy: summer nights--so many fireflies and stars on the old pine. Canadian haikuist kjmonro composed this one-liner in Whitehorse: outdoor wedding Yukon gamblers at heart. It was written in June, she said, adding the explanation that surprisingly, “there was snow on the hills around town this morning...”

Eleonore Nickolay endured “a very hot day today in France,” but cooled off by sitting on her “terrace watching a bumblebee in the lavender.” Buzzing in the ears caused by trauma, disease or medication can only be heard by the person who has the affliction. Kathy Figueroa tends to her flower garden in Bancroft, Ontario.

summer night

a bumblebee in the lavender

forgets to fly home

* * *

on the balcony

the chirping of

her tinnitus

* * *

Stardust and sunlight

manifest where Earth meets Sky

radiant beauty

Recent weather fluctuations between hot, muggy scorchers and windy rainstorms have haikuists foreseeing a lot of indoor writing and reading in their summer plans. Valentina Ranaldi-Adams weathers a storm at home in Fairlawn, Ohio. But what if the air conditioner conks out? Paul Geiger suffers through an extended heat wave. Kanchan Chatterjee reports that a surge in electricity use blacked out Jamshedpur, India.


a rabbit scurries

in the hail and rain

* * *

air conditioner down

an empty dining room--

Texas summer

* * *

power cur . ..

a chorus of croaks

from the courtyard

Patrick Wafula coordinates haiku clubs in East Africa. His haiku reveals the severity of this year’s drought, where water pipes have run dry and people wait to buy it at boreholes. Catherine Njeri Maina, a nurse, has noticed the ravages of the drought in the tea-growing area of Kenya.

a woman sits

on her water jerrican--

long queue

* * *

dry black cracks

the width of a coin--

June drought

During storms, Fausia Okunga keeps her eye on the corrugated roofing atop houses in Soweto, Nairobi. Vincent Kyule wrote his haiku when he noticed he had lost part of his school uniform.

violent wind--

villagers stand watching

flying iron sheets

* * *

walking home--

a violent wind blows

my necktie away

Hopefully the rains will come soon, but Prondzynski realizes that opportunities to store water in Kenya are “now often very limited.”

evening downpour--

mosquitos come fleeing

into our house


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Aug. 4 and 18. Readers are invited to send haiku about their ancestors on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail to ( This column is 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 on the editorial board of the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, columnist for the Haiku International Association, and is editor of Teaching Assistance, a column featuring graduate students 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 Ito En Oi Ocha, Asahi Culture Center, Matsuyama City, Polish Haiku Association, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seinan Jo Gakuin University, and Only One Tree.

McMurray's award-winning books include: "Only One Tree Haiku, Music & Metaphor" (2015); "Canada Project Collected Essays & Poems" Vols. 1 -- 8 (2013); and "Haiku in English as a Japanese Language" (2003).