Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

flight of wild geese late with income tax return fines

--Francis Attard (Malta)

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a winter blue sky

vapor trails

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

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sun-diamonds spangle

the bright blue, wetland waters

brown pelicans nod

--Jane Beal (Bolsa Chica Wetlands, California)

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now and then

a head in the waves

seal sighting

--Lucy Whitehead (Southend-on-Sea, Essex)

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a rookery of flamingos

morning clouds

--Helga Stania (Ettiswil, Switzerland)

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the smell of fear

a hawk swoops down

from the mountain

--Amy Losak (Teaneck, New Jersey)

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rustling of leaves--

the melodious song


--Angela Giordano (Avigliano, Italy)

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friendless party

sharing the kill with the pride

hood of flies

--Justice Joseph Prah (Accra, Ghana)

* * *

white rhinoceros

teacher points to the

eraser on my pencil

--Guliz Mutlu (Ankara, Turkey)

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Reading wind

wild boar and hunter

draw nearer

--Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)




highway fireflies

waver and blink

silent migration

--Daryl Muranaka (Bedford, Massachusetts)

The haikuist observed a caravan of thousands of migrants from Honduras walking on highways through Mexico in the hopes of gaining asylum in the United States. Fireflies don’t migrate in the same way that butterflies head to Mexico, but the haikuist knows that when pollution ruins the lightning bug’s marshland habitat they move. Here is another of Muranaka’s poems.

the highway leaves

dance above the road

flock of butterflies

Brushfires swept through Huntington Beach, California, where Jane Beal lives. She reported that “family and friends have been badly affected by the smoke from this year’s fires.” She understands firsthand how climate change leads to wildfires and extreme heat. Smoke makes the air unsafe to breathe and heatwaves endanger the young and the elderly. Wildfires destroy homes and the forest habitats of wild animals. Beal was inspired to pen this haiku at Camp Mariastella in Wrightwood, at an elevation high in the San Gabriel Mountains.

tiny bird hidden

in mountain mahogany

a vanishing song

This haiku by Iliyana Stoyanova from St. Albans invoked the 1966 jazz music of “Wild is the Wind” by Nina Simone. Slobodan Pupovac’s haiku was inspired by “The Lion King,” the musical and the 1994 animated film by Walt Disney. Melanie Vance hiked a massive pink granite dome in Texas hoping to see a mountain lion.

the wilderness

of her voice

the pearly dewdrops


* * *

cold eve--

the elephant lies on the bones

of its ancestors

* * *

fall leaves

on the Enchanted Rock

bald eagle’s overhaul

Mountain climbing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Midhat Hrncic sported a fresh, healthy red color complexion. Zhelyko Funda squinted skyward in Varazdin, Croatia. Natalia Kuznetsova cringed downward in Moscow.


over the cliff in the canyon

red sumac

* * *

a cliff

dove fluff falling

from an eagle nest

* * *

staring at me

with that sharp eye of my ex--

a hawk in the tree

Danijela Grbelja tried her hand at an intangible cultural heritage recognized by UNESCO. Laurence Brothers observed “fiercely independent creatures finding one another, heedless of anything else but the skies.” Nina Kovacic eyed an eagle piercing the horizon.

the art of falconry

a strong heartbeat

in silence

* * *

two falcons

pierce the sky

heaven’s eye

* * *

fishing eagle

between the blueness

of lake and sky

Justice Joseph Prah heard protests rise from Accra, Ghana.

savanna wildfire

the anthill points to

the sun’s rage

* * *

roasting savanna

here and there

the heat in the crow’s voice

Joan McNerney was able to muster two lines in Albany, New York.

The sun … an eye without pity

glares down on us.

A wild Barbary macaque may have conjured Francis Attard’s memory of an old toy wearing a red fez. Lucy Whitehead spots a red tail. Yutaka Kitajima eyes a winter red Daurian in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture.

Gibraltar monkey

with no hat on to snatch

red dragonfly

* * *

flash of red

through the fading garden

my old cat chases a fox

* * *

Fresh songster

orange breast straightened--

a redstart

Treading carefully through a forest, Gordana Vlasic came face-to-face with a 27-year-old reminder of the day Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia. The haikuist had been hoping to spot a rare Slavonian grebe--an attractive diving bird with distinctive golden ear tufts, black and gold crest, and red underbody.

slavonian fields

biotopes for birds--


Tomorrow, Steliana Voicu and her family will celebrate the centenary of the Great Union Day--the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom on Dec. 1, 1918. They look forward to a military parade and fireworks while eating beans with sausages, meat rolls and cakes.

National Day--

mom teaches me

meat roll recipe

Lee Nash penned a fanciful haiku about the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Nikolay Grankin spotted a playful fawn in Krasnodar, Russia. When Horst Ludwig’s “daughter touched the window pane with her little nose … man, did those animals ever take off, down the driveway and vanish in the woods across the road.”


prancing white tiger,

guardian of the games

* * *

baby deer

on the forest floor

the sunbeams

* * *

Snowed in (and that’s it).

Eight deer passing the window

headed for the road

Lothar M. Kirsch read this haiku to welcome visitors from Cologne to his new house on Eifel plateau near a national park that is home to the endangered black stork, and a zoo which keeps crowned cranes.

Chattering cranes

as they advertise

for ONE company

Dubravka Scukanec in Zagreb may have enjoyed reading “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery (Gallimard, 2006).

rustling in the leaves

two girls and hedgehog

going separate ways

Haiku grace the first few chapters in Barbery’s bestselling novel that shares the interleaved thoughts and reactions of two narrators. In a section titled “Profound Thought No. 1,” a little girl composed one haiku and then cited another, explaining, “My favorite haiku is by Basho.”

Follow the stars

In the goldfish bowl

An end

* * *

The fisherman’s hut

Mixed with little shrimp

Some crickets!

Mary Vlooswyk, a birder in Calgary, spots two different bird species.

cormorants perch

above the Bow River

prairie wind waves

* * *

summit draft

a raven’s wing-beat

on the way home

Helga Stania couldn’t resist these two choices on a menu in Ettiswil, Switzerland.

autumn foliage

order of fish

with saffron sauce

* * *

foehn wind

flavors the alp cheese

with walnuts

Satoru Kanematsu received two gifts on Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan.

This year’s rice

from brother farmer--

thanks a lot

* * *

No problems

with my cancer check--

chestnut rice


Wild haiku at The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Dec. 7 and 21. Readers are invited to send haiku about bare trees or a cold moon 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).