Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

winter wayfarers each on his own way

--Eva Limbach (Saarbrucken, Germany)

* * *

Less than $55

first monthly salary

58 years ago

--Isao Soematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

today’s gold

flips high

Bitcoins

--Melanie Vance (Dallas, Texas)

* * *

Agamemnon’s mask

gold and grave and hollow-eyed

through the glass we look

--James T. Lloyd (Reading, U.K.)

* * *

Imperial palace

French Neo-Baroque style court

lullaby of birds

--Junko Yamada (Kamakura)

* * *

we carry history

across our tongues

birdsong

--Alan Summers (Chippenham, England)

* * *

her smile ...

the sound of those words

in my mouth

--Madhuri Pillai (Melbourne, Australia)

* * *

Drifting mist

lovers and losers

blossom viewing

--Guliz Mutlu (Ankara, Turkey)

* * *

taking an extra turn

in the roundabout--

cherry blossom breeze

--Simone K. Busch (Rheinbach, Germany)

* * *

winter vacation

graffiti on the school wall

waiting for pupils

--Zoran Doderovic (Novi Sad, Serbia)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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finishing line

how distant it seemed

charity walk

--Madhuri Pillai (Melbourne, Australia)

The benevolent haikuist accomplished a feat in record time. Andy McLellan tried in vain to locate the lovely places he’d visited before a record snowfall hid Canterbury, England. Waves cleaned a beach for Angiola Inglese in Pederobba, Italy.

annual road trip

all of our memories

covered with snow

* * *

dirty snow--

tangerine peels

waiting for a wave

Satoru Kanematsu heard someone whisper “sayonara.” Kiyoshi Fukuzawa was shocked by the result of a survey. Teiichi Suzuki watches tree limbs blur in the wind

Dear friend gone

is he calling me?

whistling wind

* * *

Class reunion

not one of us is free from

daily medicine

* * *

In the wind

willow sprouts turn

into green smoke

A good way to kick the smoking habit is to play a wind instrument, hints Lee Nash in Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire, France. Robin Smith views things differently in Wilmington, Delaware. Paul Geiger has to brush up his writing. Slobodan Pupovac has to slow down.

flute master class

sliding cigarette papers

under sticky pads

* * *

fresh perspective ...

trying my hand

at Cubist painting

* * *

first time

flunked the written passed the oral

drivers test

* * *

driving school

the foot of the instructor

firmly compresses the brake

Marilyn Ashbaugh shares her resolve to dance again in Edwardsburg, Michigan. She likely inhaled on the first day. Seizing the day in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Marco Fraticelli surely exhaled. Slobodan Pupovac eavesdropped in Zagreb, Croatia.

same ballet shoes

after thirty years

first dance class

* * *

I begin and end

yoga practice

with the corpse pose

* * *

deep breaths

behind the closed door--

yoga for the pregnant

Inglese didn’t hear any crowing this morning in her hometown. Rooster-shaped weathervanes have been swiveling atop church steeples in Italy since the ninth century. Weathercocks are a reminder of Jesus’ prophecy that the cock would not crow the morning after his Last Supper. Beate Conrad reminds readers that the anniversary of that religious event, Christ’s crucifixion, is celebrated today as Good Friday. The winter sun allowed Mario Massimo Zontini to rise later in Parma, Italy.

the squeaking

of the weathercock vane--

noise at dawn

* * *

Good Friday morning--

roses doted in the mud

by the salty sea

* * *

darkening sky

a winter rooster’s

late call

Conrad reported that at noon, all was dark in Hildesheim, Germany. An interpretation of the sound of silence is heard in this haiku translated for Nina Kovacic by Durda Vukelic Rozic in Zagreb, Croatia.

the 6th hour,

spring rain hits the land hard,

so deep the sky

* * *

deafening

tinkling of dishes

dinner without father

In poetic fashion, the stimulus of sight triggers Nikolay Grankin’s sense of hearing. Sight and sound are closely linked in Inglese’s next haiku. Helga Stania witnesses how sound changes physical shape in Ettiswil, Switzerland. Rosemarie Schuldes listens to a rainbow of sounds in Gross-Gerau, Germany. These four examples of synesthesia are effective because haiku are meant to be read aloud.

listening to

the sun rise

roosters’ yard

* * *

Hitchcock movie--

the dawn shouting

at the chicken house

* * *

slowly changes

the willow’s shape

a cockcrow

* * *

cock-a-doodle-doo

the colours of sound

snow melting away

Katherine L. Gordon watches snow disappear from Rockwood, Ontario. Junko Yamada says goodbye to a friend. Schuldes has been indoors too long. Pupovac contemplates an investment. In Moscow, Russia, Natalia Kuznetsova hints she might be ready to write a new chapter in her life. Dennis Woolbright attended his own retirement party in Kokura. Priscilla Lignori was inspired by a Buddhist divinity who perceives the sounds of the world.

Everything vanishes

in the melt of time

only the fear of nothing endures

* * *

Soft spring snow

thaws quickly away …

slight envy

* * *

melting icicles

the house of cards

collapses

* * *

blue sea--

the cottage on the cliff

for sale

* * *

retirement--

turning the final page

in this suspense book

* * *

perfect moon

manicured garden

sayonara

* * *

Back in the garden

amid the visiting birds--

the Kuan Yin statue

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo wrote this poem while thinking of her late husband in The Hague, Netherlands. Zelyko Funda smiles ear to ear in Varazdin, Croatia. Dubravka Scukanec savors time in Zagreb.

two years ago--

the stars still

less bright

* * *

a smile

spanning

23 years

* * *

twenty-five years

I still remember the first kiss

the dazzling tears

Marta Chocilowska updated the first haiku she sent to the Asahi Haikuist from Warsaw, Poland, four years ago: red cheeks my hands without gloves in your pockets.

still together

nesting under the eaves

house martins

Haikuist pamela a. babusci’s hopes turned into snowflakes in Rochester, New York. John Hawkhead goes with the flow in Bradford on Avon, England. In Los Angeles, Michael H. Lester revealed that “my wife and I went through every treatment available in the 1980s and ended up adopting.” His haiku is about one such hormonal fertility drug. Leonardo Lazzari beachcombed in Salerno, Italy.

fertility clinic

snowflakes falling

on my barren womb

* * *

winter waterfall

a cascade of syllables

in the setting sun

* * *

stream of consciousness--

populating the world

with the urine of nuns

* * *

sea waves--

the sand takes the shape

of her womb

Justice Joseph Prah peers at the shining large disk-like head of a wooden ritual fertility doll made by the Ashanti people from Ghana. A woman who hopes to become pregnant will keep such a blessed talisman on her person, and will dress and care for it as one would a real child. Lucia Fontana begins a lovely story. Julia Guzman waits a few more days in Cordoba, Argentina.

Full moon through window

into the light she

shifts her akwaaba doll

* * *

rose moon

the pregnancy test

two pink lines

* * *

Almost ready

the nine month belly ...

Full moon

Zdenka Mlinar walked a snowy field in Zagreb, Croatia. Suzuki watched a mysterious old woman perform on a moonlit theater stage in Osaka.

virgin snow

riding the snowshoes

of my childhood

* * *

Midwinter moon--

the shadow of a smile

on a Noh mask

Kazuo Takayanagi is keen to watch tonight’s full moon over Tokyo at precisely 21:36.

the rising supermoon

above the houses

--a sign of peace and prosperity

Vandana Parashar intends to pray and meditate at precisely one hour 36 minutes before sunrise in Chandimandir, India.

brahma muhurta

spring mist rises with every

chant of aum

Put haiku on your bucket list of things to do at http://www.asahi.com/ajw/special/haiku/. The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear April 6 and 20. Readers are invited to send haiku about blackbirds 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 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).