Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Stethoscope tattoos on both breasts angel’s smile

--Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)

* * *

theatre steps

a baby searches

for the breast

--Lee Nash (Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire, France)

* * *

rice paper

hand and brush

a single shadow

--Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

* * *

sipping tea--

I read print articles

without a judge’s gavel

--Angela Giordano (Avigliano, Italy)

* * *

rice harvest

sipping sake

giving thanks

--David J. Kelly (Dublin, Ireland)

* * *

farm auction

grandpa and I walk away

hand in hand

--Karen O’Leary (West Fargo, North Dakota)

* * *

snow crumbles

under the horse’s hooves--

sparkles on fur hats

--Tuvshinzaya Nergui (Mongolia)

* * *

a child runs

around the bend

a mother runs

--Albert Schepers (Windsor, Ontario)

* * *

a migrant

my abandoned days

slip over the border

--Devin Harrison (Vancouver Island, Canada)

* * *

around midnight--

we talk about blues

until sleep comes

--Lenard D. Moore (Jacksonville, North Carolina)

* * *




The winter sounds of

warm sake and good people--

point of no return

--Rikei Kubo (Kagoshima)

The haikuist penned the above 5-7-5 syllable poem at a year-end dinner celebration for film producer Kei Ijichi. After celebrating the Feast of Saint Martin in Croatia, Tomislav Maretic made it home safely. Jennifer Hambrick waves goodbye to old friends leaving Columbus, Ohio.

Saint Martin’s Day--

I come back home

by taxi

* * *


a goose quill

in the inkwell

* * *

twin rivers

geese flying south

in formation

In this final column of the year, thoughts of the dead live on in the living. That stored up energy gives writers such as Beate Conrad in Hildesheim, Germany, the will to continue writing into the New Year. Kiyoshi Fukuzawa is on the last page of the gripping wartime story, “A Piece of Cake” by Roald Dahl (1916-1990). The short story unexpectedly ends with the narrator, an ace pilot, dive-bombing his plane. Satoru Kanematsu penned his haiku with the explanation, “It is so peaceful around here.” I received his postcard the very day North Korea launched another missile into waters off the Sea of Japan.

War memorial

sharpening the shadow line of

our ancestors

* * *

Thin calendar--

piece of Dahl remains

still unread

* * *

No more thanks

missiles from the North--


Kanematsu deeply appreciates another day, another season. Isao Soematsu marvels at the tick of his clock in Nagoya. Justice Joseph Prah makes the sign of the cross in Accra, Ghana. In Narok, Kenya, Mercy Ikuri can’t help but laugh at the same old line.

Thanks indeed

still being alive

deep autumn

* * *

It’s a wonder--

ailing cardiac

still throbbing

* * *

ashes of incense

crossing the old year with me

the gray moon

* * *

January First

“last I saw you was last year”

husband’s joke still works

Sending Christmas cheer from Edmonton, Alberta, Jeanne Jorgensen will have you filling in the ellipsis with lyrics composed by Mendelssohn (1809-1847). Pat Benedict Campbell sings “Silent Night” in Calgary, Alberta. Natalia Kuznetsova gets ready to howl at the full moon over Moscow on Jan. 1.

every Christmas

Aunty’s beloved arias

bellowed off-key

* * *

through the dazzle

of crystals and lights

a young tenor’s “Hark . . .”

* * *

steppe winds

howling and whining--

the full wolf moon

Hidehito Yasui watches giant vault doors swing shut for the long holidays in Osaka.

The whole office starts

bankers lock and seal the doors--

the year end

Can you recall your favorite bedtime storybook? Perhaps it was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” In Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, Craig W. Steele wonders whether we can. Prah can. Marie Jeanne Sakhinis-De Meis awoke early in Avignon, France, after “a long winter’s nap.” Goran Gatalica admires a girl with pearl earrings in Zagreb, Croatia.

together time

sharing a picture book

they won’t remember

* * *

Christmas moon

tales of mythic hunters

coming home

* * *

Christmas morning--

my hairs as white

as those of Santa Claus

* * *

Christmas night--

the grayness of snow

on her earrings

Kanematsu turns to look “on the lawn where there arose such a clatter.” Patrick Sweeney discovers why there are so many crows by the airfield in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture. Dusk falls on John Hawkhead in Bradford on Avon, U.K. Lucia Cardillo bids farewell to red-breasted birds she won’t see again until next spring in Rodi Garganico, Italy.

An omen?

crows cawing fiercely

chilly dawn

* * *

Spangle of grease

on the sleeve of the man

who feeds crows

* * *

winter waterfall

crows sail through the drift of mist

marshalling twilight

* * *

low over the grass

flight of robins . ..

year is ending

Romano Zeraschi has been waiting for what seems like forever in Parma, Italy. The MIA classification is assigned by the military to those who may have been killed, wounded, captured or deserted. Hawkhead visits a stone marked RIP in Bradford on Avon, U.K.

no answer

shining watch still ticking ...

missing in action

* * *

year’s end

the grave remains

dark as ever

Jorgensen titled this haiku “Remember. . .”

beside each headstone

a child places

poppies in the snow

Lilia Racheva contemplates making a yoga-like stretch in Sofia, Bulgaria. Teiichi Suzuki notes dark purple dahlia plants were brought to Japan in 1842 by Dutch gardeners.

the last tango

chrysanthemum touching

the ground

* * *


bloodless petals of

a dahlia

Devin Harrison remarks on the proliferating number of journeys undertaken this year by Muslims trying to escape from dangerous situations around the world. The first of such flights is attributed to the prophet Muhammad who traveled from Mecca to Medina in AD 622. Tomislav Maretic had a long flight home to Zagreb, Croatia. Angela Giordano admires outdoor art in Avigliano, Italy. On her way home to Melbourne, Australia, Madhuri Pillai can’t go back to where she used to be.


the ongoing hegira

across borders

* * *

a long-lasting flight--

shaking the last drop of wine

out from the bottle

* * *

expressive art--

a mural on the wall

welcomes migrants

* * *

year end

looking back

at my footprints

Billy Antonio focuses on a round table in Laoac, Philippines. Twelve-year-old Zoie Martin waits for her train to arrive in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.

year-end bonus

all eyes on the last

slice of pizza

* * *

hot chocolate

steam rises

like a train

Claire Bowman feels welcome back at Irving Middle School in Virginia. Simon Hanson hoists a colorful world flag outside his home in Queensland, Australia. Jeanne Jorgensen ponders time and space in Edmonton, Alberta. Helga Stania tries to put a finger on what she’s feeling in Ettiswil, Switzerland.

American flag

waving to me

as it rides the winter wind

* * *

Red, white and blue

orange, yellow, green

brown, black and violet . ..

* * *

sun so bright

it could be any season

streets shine with ice

* * *

a vastness

wandering through me

end of year

Sweeney finally decides to get something off his chest.

A solitary dog’s barking

I go in and tell her

what he said

This stirring haiku by Anna Goluba Warsaw, Poland, was first published in the haiku journal “Brass Bell.”

Finally together ...

Family reunion

In dollhouse

Anthony Q. Rabang enjoys traditional flavors in Ilocos, Philippines. Schepers’ family walk off a holiday feast in Windsor, Ontario. Richard Jodoin awaits his pet to return home in Montreal. Nash finds a new home. Kiyoshi Fukuzawa selected a new label for a party with old friends. Mario Massimo Zontini pauses a while in Parma, Italy.

the adobo simmers

in the rice cooker

window sunbeams

* * *

cranberry time

amid fallen leaves

the family walk

* * *

New Year’s Eve

following the snowplow

a little white cat

* * *

New Year’s Eve

my hostess offers me

the home I lost

* * *

New wine

brighter than maple leaves--

seniors reunion

* * *

sunset over the river

and taste of new wine:

both lingering

Here are three lines from a tanka Jeanne Jorgensen wrote while driving home down a mountain with her husband to Edmonton, Alberta. It was a bitter cold minus 20 degrees, but a warm chinook wind was right behind them.

our long drive home

a vanilla pudding sun melts

into orange parfait

On the way they talked about the mountains and the sheer reality of them. Their vacation to the United States had meant driving through Banff, then west through 300 miles of tunnels along a narrow highway that ran upon high ledges blasted out of the rocks. A sudden rock fall or avalanche would have carried them over the edge down more than 500 feet into the narrow river valley below. She added “we always drove very carefully indeed.”

Angela Giordano revels in a fine year in Italy. Debbie Strange fingers flickering flower designs in chilly Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thomas Canull counts down in Carmel, Indiana.

end of year--

on the terrace the fires

and the sparkling wine

* * *

New Year’s Eve

frosty windows blossom

with candlelight

* * *

few will mourn its death

only a ticking of the clock

that all celebrate ...

Stania topped this one-line haiku off with overflowing champagne: vintage this day with its mantle in the glass. Kanematsu will likely be the first of many a fine poet to gather for the sunrise on New Year’s Day.


that man gazing at

sunset glow


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Jan. 5 and 19, 2018. You are invited to send haiku about something you do for the first time 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 (

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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).