Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

orange blossoms in her hair--the bride carries their son up the aisle

--Jeanne Jorgensen (Edmonton, Alberta)

* * *

rose blossoms of hope

live in my heart tenderly

mauve smiles light the world

--Honey Novick (Toronto)

* * *

Spring wind bends the fish--

relatives are arriving

brightly colored town

--Erina Kubo (Sapporo)

* * *

memories

hometown disappearing--

a carp streamer

--Kazuo Takayanagi (Tokyo)

* * *

spring typhoon,

fireflies and children

in the old house

--Lilia Racheva (Rousse, Bulgaria)

* * *

Family portrait--

spider pulls

the first thread

--Evgeny Ivanov (Moscow)

* * *

firefly in the gloom

grandma recalling

her first love

--Radostina Dragostinova (Sofia, Bulgaria)

* * *

song

in the jungle

fireflies

--Puja Malushte (Mumbai, India)

* * *

June musical’s

decorative tea lights--

backyard bash

--Melanie Vance (Dallas)

* * *

insomnia

chasing fireflies

at midnight

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

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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June drizzle--

missing Africa

impatience

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

Noting how the seedpods of the African impatiens flower explode when slightly touched, perhaps the haikuist can be consoled reading the following list of haiku mailed from Africa.

Adjei Agyei-Baah patiently prayed for rain in Ghana to halt the very hot, dry and dusty northeasterly trade winds blowing in from the Sahara. Such dry conditions led to water shortages and facilitated the spread of wildfires. Writing from Nigeria, Blessed Ayeyame conjured up the flashing cold light of a lightning bug attracting his mate.

harmattan peak

a blackbird sheds

the excess of dust bath

* * *

dangling on and off

a smoker’s lips ...

fireflies

Riding a minibus on a warm dusty day during the dry season in Kenya, Isabelle Prondzynski wondered whether it was better to leave the window open, or to close it. She soon realized “in any case the windows often do not shut properly!” Matatu are driven fast, “often recklessly, and drivers would certainly have no mercy with pedestrians who got in their way.”

matatu window--

a cloud of dust wafts

into my eyes

Prondzynski leads a group of haikuists who compose haiku in English that borrow words from Swahili. The refreshing vocabulary is commonly used by people when speaking English in Kenya. Her haiku student Caroline Mukami is wary of the brightly painted buses with blaring music.

I jump to avoid

a swerving matatu--

Soweto road

Following two years of such severe drought conditions, the weather suddenly cooled and it began to rain in Nairobi. In this haiku by Andrew Otinga, the word jiko refers to a charcoal-fueled brazier used for cooking and providing warmth during the cold season.

I and a chick

beside a hot jiko--

night time cold

Although the lyrics to “Africa” released by Toto in 1982 end with the refrain: “I bless the rains down in Africa I bless the rains down in Africa,” recently it may have rained too much. Lysa Collins mailed this haiku from Tanzania this week.

night rain

creeping down the veldt

which is always listening

According to Prondzynski, heavy rains led to “flooding, collapsing of bridges and houses, and a fair bit of hardship. At the same time, we all know that the country badly needed the rain, and so, we put up with it with as much good grace as we can muster.” In the next haiku by Otinga, we might incorrectly infer that the word safari refers to tourists on a hunting expedition or visiting a national park. Kenyans, however, use the word in the original sense of its Arabic etymology that means simply, a journey.

our safari bus

slows down again--

flooded road

Schoolteacher Patrick Wafula was quietly reading under a corrugated iron sheet roof when a drop of rain hit it as loud as a drumbeat. Used for both rural and urban low-income housing, the sheets are nailed onto wooden structures. His student Mumo Victor shivered when rainwater leaked through a hole made by a nail. His classmate Norah Sarange felt the climax of the story was nearing when the stone foundation of a house covered with the ubiquitous roofing material was submerged. Wafula concluded this fine literary collection from gifted young African writers by leaving a cooking pot, a simple metal saucepan, in view.

a raindrop splashes

on a page of my novel--

mabati roof

* * *

a cold drop

from a leaking mabati roof--

night time shower

* * *

only the mabati roof

of a sinking house is seen--

flooding river

* * *

flooded house--

a sufuria floating

on water

Awaking from a dream, Hiroki Ikenaga realized the rainy season has begun in Sapporo. Asako Utsunomiya found herself draped in a heavenly perfume in Hiroshima. Satoru didn’t get much warning before he got soaked in Nagoya. Eufemia Griffo dipped his ink brush in Milan, Italy. Junko Saeki suggests that the plum rain that falls in Tokyo at this time of year “seems to go well with tea ceremonies, which in my mind, call for somewhat wet air.”

early morning

with a sore throat--

the season shifts

* * *

From heaven

shower of sweet scent

white wisteria

* * *

First a drop

splashes on my cheek--

rain shower

* * *

sumi-e

a drop of black ink

lost in mist

* * *

plum rain--

a treat for

the tea ceremony

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The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear June 15 and 29. Readers are invited to send haiku about summertime 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).