Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

old cobweb this long guess about my ancestry

--Justice Joseph Prah (Accra, Ghana)

* * *

six generations


always the eldest

--Mike Gallagher (Kerry, Ireland)

* * *

mountain dulcimer

the scent of bluegrass

echoes through my veins

--Jennifer Hambrick (Columbus, Ohio)

* * *


for my unmarried


--Yutaka Kitajima (Joetsu, Niigata)

* * *

greased guns

ride with oiled saddles--

Southwestern ranch

--Melanie Vance (Dallas, Texas)

* * *

wonder if Father

heard them on the battlefield--

cricket songs

--Kiyoshi Fukuzawa (Tokyo)

* * *

old ship’s log

the weather at sea

and love poems

--Ann Magyar (Boston, Massachusetts)

* * *

sewing box--

between sundry utensils

grandma’s French chalk

--Ramona Linke (Beesenstedt, Germany)

* * *

mother’s day

putting on her handsewn

apron from Sicily

--pamela a. babusci (Rochester, New York)

* * *

the fading beats

of a political song--

election weary

--Mary Mueni (Nairobi, Kenya)




last sliver of moon

slips into earth’s shadow

we talk candidates

--Maxianne Berger (Montreal, Canada)

The haikuist whispers in darkness. Stania wrote her haiku after finding out the results of the election for the Bundestag in Germany. Hidehito Yasui voted in Osaka.

election evening

the dimmed light

of my tablet

* * *


more crows on the wire

than voters

In chilly Joetsu, Niigata, Yutaka Kitajima reflects the dull uneasy atmosphere described in a preface proposed in 1945 by George Orwell for “Animal Farm” titled: “The Freedom of the Press.” It did not appear in print until 1972.

Freeze! pampas grass waving a blacklist

Kitajima worried his poetics were being controlled when he read in the preface that Orwell penned, “I should choose the line from Milton: By the known rules of ancient liberty.” Focusing on “voluntary censorship,” he claims, “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban.”


even in metaphor

waning moon

Evgeny Ivanov watches one-word poems disappear from the streets. Vasile Moldovan minds a precious pet in Bucharest, Romania. Madhuri Pillai worries about retaliation.

Arrests in Moscow--

on placards one word:


* * *

In the old cage

a parrot cries again:


* * *

Reprisal . ..

the dreamer’s words

in deep freeze

The next haiku is by Kendall Dunkelberg, director of Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women, who is working on a series in “Poetry South.”

Beside the fountain

one lost

baby slipper

Rachel Sutcliffe passed by an old house in England that was once filled with the aroma of home-baked cookies and bedtime stories. Late one night in Seattle, Washington, Don Hansbrough searched the web for identity. T. D. Ginting searched for an (id)entity in Inzai city, Chiba Prefecture. Lucia Cardillo hunted in Rodi Garganico, Italy.

hometown visit

a stranger washing

grandmother’s window

* * *

grandma’s house

contemplating ancestors

with a moonlit mouse

* * *

Water flows

without (cl)aiming to be

river in the rain

* * *

autumn dawn--

the call of quails

dad and I

A sudden cold draft sent a shiver up Helga Stania’s spine in Ettiswil, Switzerland. A living will documents one’s wishes concerning end-of-life medical care. She also reread a last will and testament. From a financial viewpoint, decedents don’t stop existing after they die.

freezing lake mother signs her living will

* * *


laid on shadow--

letters of the decedents

Autumn sunlight warmed Lysa Collins’s old veranda in White Rock, British Columbia. Autumn rained on Nikolay Grankin in Krasnodar, Russia.


and a sudden creaking

where his rocking chair belonged

* * *

evening rain

I reminisce the words

granny’s lullaby

Writing from Zug, Switzerland, Elisa Allo describes a Turkish bath in which you lie down in a hot steamy room to get thoroughly scrubbed and massaged.


hammam for couples

in late October

When Mediterranean winds blow in from the Sahara, Angela Giordano takes care to walk in shadows. She says that being in a mountainous area people from her town of Avigliano in the province of Potenza “are not used to high temperatures.” Kitajima decides to hold onto an old memento.

African warmth

In the shadow of the palaces

light breeze

* * *

Autumn sunrise

The shadow of old pine

spread over the river

* * *

A pinecone

light as mom’s ashes

hard to toss

Tokyoite Kiyoshi Fukuzawa was mystified by the Americas. After his daughter packed her bags and left home for a year, Christof Blumentrath revealed “letting go is not easy at all.” C. Clark Triplett cares for a neighbor in St. Louis, Missouri.

The new world

really was, to me--

distant desert

* * *

lengthening shadows

the sound of a trolley case


* * *

shuffling steps

to the end of the road

lengthening shadows

Satoru Kanematsu had a close shave in Nagoya.

The barber’s--

last customer gone

crickets’ song

Cardillo fondles a sepia-tinged photograph. Our readers are welcome to enter the Matsuyama Photo Haiku in English Contest online for free at this link until Nov. 30:

distant summer--

grandma and her children

pose for a photo

Angiola Inglese senses a change of seasonal fare in Treviso, Italy. Nina Kovacic contemplates warm potage in a haiku translated by Durda Vukelic Rozic from Zagreb, Croatia. Fukuzawa was delighted that scientists recently filmed an animal thought to have died out decades ago.

winter sea--

the wind tastes of salt

and fried fish

* * *

muddy field

golden pumpkins radiate

the sunshine

* * *

Wild otter

long declared extinct

runs again

Paul Faust questions destiny in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Priscilla Lignori observes tradition in Montgomery, New York. Antonio Mangiameli observes the fallen in Lentini, Italy. Eufemia Griffo remembers the day she gave birth in Settimo Milanese, Italy.

“From whence did they come,”

ask we who are their futures,

“those who came before?”

* * *

An altar set up--

rich with family photos

of the departed

* * *

nameless marble--

on the crust of dust

a chrysanthemum

* * *

chrysanthemum blooms . ..

the day I became


Writing from North Carolina, Ed Bremson imagines the view of a Japanese astronaut in another 12 years, noting “The Japanese are famous moon watchers, but when they are on the moon, I imagine them watching Earth.” Kitajima joins a long line of moon admirers.


moon watchers

watching Earth

* * *

The same sigh

as the ancients breathed

harvest moon

Simon Hanson is reminded of his extended family in Tamborine, Queensland. Charlie Smith penned his haiku at the North Carolina Science Museum, where he learned about an insect with ancestors that lived 300 million years ago. Doc Sunday visited Tsugaike Nature Park in the Northern Japan Alps. Eleven-year-old Madison Sours watches a red dragonfly fall from the edge of Earth. Giordano fears scary stories.

At the museum--

the finger bones

in a whale’s flipper

* * *

Bugfest contest

dragonfly lands first place

with flying colors

* * *

Colorful mountains

hikers on a wooden path

resting dragonfly

* * *


last glance

at the horizon

* * *

Weaves a plot

spider at the window

giant shadow

Writing from Shizuoka, Itoko Suzuki recalls a romantic musical comedy from 1955 she says she “liked when I was young. An orphanage girl feared the lengthening shadow of a tall gentleman (played by Fred Astaire) with a walking-stick like a spider.” Based on a 1912 novel by Jean Webster, he turned out to be her millionaire sugar-daddy.

Daddy long legs

favorite novel when young

the shadow still passing

In Ankara, Turkey, Guliz Mutlu reads chapters 2 and 3 from the Book of Genesis.

Dear ancestors

everything now


* * *

confirmed agnostic--

rabbinical forebears

look down on me

At 70, Mark Meyer looks skyward from Mercer Island, Washington. Marco Fraticelli may have reached his limit in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

seventy candles--

they celebrate my birthday

in absentia

* * *

I am not old


the morning glory closes at sunset


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Nov. 3 and 17. Readers are invited to send haiku about Culture Day, Thanksgiving Day, Kinro Kansha no Hi, or even Beaujolais Nouveau Day 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

* * *

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).