Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Safely back from a midday nap--on the earth

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

long march

soldiers pause to open

the canned beans

--Slobodan Pupovac (Zagreb, Croatia)

* * *

peeled beans

the sound bounces

in the empty pot

--Nazarena Rampini (Pogliano Milanese, Italy)

* * *

Wrapped rice cakes

stuffed with salty beans--

distant war

--Kiyoshi Fukuzawa (Tokyo)

* * *

buddha’s robe

every stitch

hibakusha tears

--Simon Steadman (Saffron Walden, U.K.)

* * *

the summer rain

on your face

first freckles

--Zuzanna Truchlewska (Laziska Gorne, Poland)

* * *

Sheaves of yellow succor

of an indiscriminate sun

drop like fallen dreams

--Honey Novick (Toronto)

* * *

Purification rite

two children dispute

an amulet

--Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi (Buenos Aires)

* * *

total blackout--

with foreigners

at the charcoal grill

--Rosemarie Schuldes (Gross-Gerau, Germany)

* * *

the call of charred grapefruit

in a rusty oilcan,

beach bikers revving up

--Sheila K. Barksdale (Gotherington, England)




Rainy night

termites devouring


--Yutaka Kitajima (Joetsu, Niigata)

The haikuist wittingly makes readers tingle with a homonym that means either sleeping people or a piece of timber supporting the floor. Throughout the residential district in his hometown, he said “termites are breeding below the flooring, destroying wooden structures--probably because of climatic conditions.” Penned in 1794, readers of William Blake still flinch at this verse: “O Rose thou art sick: The invisible worm ... Has found out thy bed.”

Margherita Petriccione was troubled by rodents in Scauri, Italy. Rudy Zalesak cringes at the plaintive voices of neighbors tired of seeing furniture left to rot on the front verandas of homes in Cary, North Carolina. Itoko Suzuki reported from Shizuoka that “without notice, real midsummer approached with the cicada’s shrilling,” happily adding, “alas I am still alive!”

late spring rain--

a high school book

gnawed by mice

* * *

Katydids argue

But not about the old sofa

Sagging on the porch

* * *

first cicada

chirp from veranda

this morning

Ashoka Weerakkody awoke in a cold sweat in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

sitting next to me

lovely lady with canine teeth


Satoru Kanematsu heard a silent curse from his veranda in Nagoya. Lothar M. Kirsch pondered a question with no answer while a red moon eclipsed through the center of the Earth’s shadow overhead Meerbusch, Germany on July 27.

Sultry night

the tongueless wind bell

in silence

* * *

Scarlet moon

dipping the meadow in silence

though one hand claps

Seeing a strange sun slowly sinking over the thorn veldt in Tanzania, Lysa Collins heard these sounds.

a ratcheting of crickets

follows shadows

no one’s length

One summer long ago in Marmora, Ontario, John Hamley worried “about the possibility of there being lions in an alder thicket between the cabin we rented and the farm across the field. So, whenever we went to play with the farm children, we walked as close as possible to the other edge of the road.”

Lions in those alders?

a child can never

be so sure

Lucy Whitehead had been looking forward to her summer vacation, until she peered into the cottage she rented in Essex, U.K.

antique mirror

a shadow that

won’t wipe away

* * *

lakeside holiday

something tentacled

stirs in the sink

Lucia Cardillo comes face to face with strangers in Rodi Garganico, Italy. Alan Summers is surrounded by waves of children queueing for an old fashioned dessert in Wiltshire, England. Marilyn Ashbaugh lines up a second time in Edwardsburg, Michigan.

summer festival ...

among the rowdy crowd

strange faces

* * *

ripples of heat

around an ice cream van

child by child

* * *

ice cream

sizzles on the sidewalk

toddler’s first cone

Reka Nyitrai couldn’t defy gravity in Bucharest. Corine Timmer felt flash frozen in Faro, Portugal.

summer fling ...

the hollow thud

of an apple

* * *

a slap of cold air

from the shop door

--summer in the city

Slobodan Pupovac cheered the Croatian football team until the very end of the final match at the World Cup Championships in Russia.

end of the match--

under the lights

column of bowed heads

Vandana Parashar introduced a classic Indian song with a Sanskrit title that means a cloud. Its melody has the power to bring rain. Kanematsu also relied on the frog’s forecast. Whitehead sang to the moon.

megh malhar

the frog’s croak

a notch louder

* * *

Tree frog’s croak--

it’s likely to rain

as forecast

* * *

midsummer twilight

a horned dancer calls

to the moon

Up late on Vancouver Island, Devin Harrison envied the gecko for its eyes--which can distinguish colors by the light of the moon. Twelve-year-old Owyn Malcolm peered inside a haunted house in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture. Urszula Wielanowska hesitates before turning a front door knob in Kielce, Poland.

sweltering night

clutch of eggs on the window

moon geckos

* * *

The cobwebs

in the dark

lit by fireflies

* * *

abandoned house

last year’s leaves

still on the doorstep

Rice fields have been left to fallow by their aged owners in Kiyoshi Fukuzawa’s hometown.

Rice field--

buried under summer grass

wartime hunger

* * *

Summer grass--

rice field returned to

white butterflies


Ghosts haunt The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Aug. 17 and 31. Readers are invited to send haiku about a scarecrow on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or 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).