Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

moonrise cold breath whitens politician’s earthly voice

--Francis Attard (Marsa, Malta)

* * *

early morning mass

the priest wears pure white vestments ...

carillon bells call

--Pat Geyer (East Brunswick, New Jersey)

* * *

1/1 4 a.m. going

to sleep diving

into champagne bubbles

--Ludovic Heyraud (Montpellier, France)

* * *

incoming year

the desire to leave

unwonted habits

--Slobodan Pupovac (Zagreb, Croatia)

* * *

Warm winter--

lost in timeless space

book cafe

--Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)

* * *

from the ceiling

i hang my paper snowflake

sculpting the air

--Charlotte Digregorio (Winnetka, Illinois)

* * *

No more job

watching a Western

New Year’s Eve

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

going uphill

with a straight back

camellia in bloom

--Kazuo Takayanagi (Tokyo)

* * *

night snowfall

carried away the last chair--

the one that creaked

--Philmore Place (Minsk, Belarus)

* * *

in a quiver of wind

the cold moon

covered in clouds

--Pat Davis (Pembroke, New Hampshire)




first day

of the new year

fresh coffee

--Alan Summers (Wiltshire, England)

Awaking to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee during “the freshly made day of a new year is always a special combination,” the haikuist suggested. Juxtaposition of coffee with an incoming year is essential for Natalia Kuznetsova in Moscow. Eva Limbach quickly broke a promise.

New Year’s morning--

the time seems out of joint

before my coffee

* * *

good resolutions ...

from our new year’s cake

the biggest piece

On the first morning of the year, Yutaka Kitajima drew precious water from a well in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. An essential resource, water pipes in Japan can be suddenly cut-off by freezing temperatures, storms, not paying one’s water bill or insolvent commercially run waterworks.

Washing up

with the first water--

brows graying

Julia Guzman conveyed her best wishes from Argentina. Luciana Moretto reacted to the words of an outspoken politician in Italy. Year of the pigrefugees kiss the landthey’ve just stepped on * * *

“the party is over”



Radostina Dragostinova cleaned up after the party was over in Sofia, Bulgaria. Lothar M. Kirsch separated his recyclable garbage in Cologne, Germany. Traces of Ludovic Heyraud were swept away in Montpellier, France.

cold moon


painted on the dustbin Christmas tree

* * *

Short night

after New Year’s fireworks

glass collecting containers

* * *

1/1 on the beach--

Fussy waves still sweep

my footprints off the sand.

Tsanka Shishkova hopes to see the super blood wolf moon eclipse over Sofia, Bulgaria, this weekend.

cold moon …

the red sazanka


Pravat Kumar Padhy vividly described on one-line what it might feel like to reach the red planet: Shogatsu--ekphrastic haiku of man on Mars. He rose with the sun on New Year’s Day in Bhubaneswar, India.

first sun

the butterfly endures

its morning journey

Satoru Kanematsu composed a haiku about the last thing he had to endure in 2018. His dentist rarely finishes a treatment in one sitting. Jeanne Jorgensen reread a doctor’s report in Canada.

Year-end chill

one more visit to

the dentist

* * *

biopsy results

falling snow slips down

the barren Ash tree

Dr. Kirsch may have caught a cold. The moon caught Pat Davis’ attention in Pembroke, New Hampshire.

Out of the city

me and the moon


* * *

cold moon

and a rustle of pines

the watchman pauses

Over the years, posters and schedules at the rural rail station Ashoka Weerakkody frequents have been alternatively bleached by the sun and faded by the rain so that “hardly anything is readable, and in this particular station of mine the board doesn’t show the arrival times of trains though the other half faintly shows departures!”

the village station

not yet ready for next year

half a time table

Chris Graves works as an archivist in Thuwal-Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Justice Joseph Prah met someone in Accra, Ghana, that he had not seen for a long time.

the halting train wheels

wake me up in the desert

more stars than black sky

* * *

new year reunion

wrapping a black scarf

around a snowman’s neck

Dejan Pavlinovic felt exposed in the cold creeping toward Pula, Croatia. Helen Buckingham spotted an eerie silent-flying barn owl that goes by monikers such as: white owl, silver owl, demon owl, ghost owl, death owl, night owl, monkey-faced owl and rat owl. Francis Attard worried for a sparrow.

warming the cold moon

with my breath ...

he sees through me

* * *

cold moon

the church owl

clocks on

* * *

under cold day moon

fledgling leaves nest in haste

a sparrow’s first fall

Wind instruments played a fast and happy piece of music for Lilia Racheva in Rousse, Bulgaria. Horst Ludwig prayed for peace in St. Peter, Minnesota. Ken Sawitri slept in on New Year’s. A cold wind made Nazarena Rampini run in Pogliano Milanese, Italy.

cold moon,

only the wind plays

icy scherzo

* * *

The war was over ...

from the old steeple again

two New Year trumpets

* * *

New Year’s rooster

the trumpet seller is sound


* * *

winter wind

moonlight runs

through the clouds

Mario Massimo Zontini’s nose turned red on a cold night in Parma, Italy. Debbie Strange went ice skating on a lake near Winnipeg, Manitoba. A wide-rimmed glass allowed Puja Malushte to sniff a rich, warm rum aroma on a cold evening in Mumbai. Tsanka Shishkova said nothing more in Bulgaria.

cold moon--

she has a pretty face and

a running nose

* * *

Christmas skates ...

a rainbow of little boots

in the warming hut

* * *


in the lake

winter rum glasses

* * *

fireplace ...

two glasses and

white silence

Hopella Best notes how Sollars Elementary in Aomori Prefecture was quiet during the holidays.

going past

the snowy woods,

an ancient silence

Carlos Gesmundo emigrated to freezing cold Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he recently awoke in a sweat from a dream about reveling and eating roast pig in his hometown in the Philippines. On Jan. 20, like rippling streams of seawater, one million festival goers will parade with rhythmic carnival dancers on their way to the central basilica in Cebu to reenact events related to the Christianization of the island since 1521.

Sinulog dream

sweaty costumed dancers

hog the lechon

Having settled in Itta Bena, Mississippi, John Zheng will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21. He recalls much harder times in “the 1970s in China,” when he “was sent down to the countryside for re-education … growing vegetables and rice, raising pigs.”

MLK Day--

wondering what dreams

I’ve realized

* * *

the year of the pig

memory of farm life

returns with an oink

Kanematsu counted from the year he was born. On Jan. 14, he feted those who turned 20.


my eighth Year of Boar

New Year’s dawn

* * *

If I could

go back to my youth

Adult Day

Charlotte Digregorio cheered the incoming 23rd year of this Asahi Haikuist column for sharing “decades of amazing work, teaching, and authorship to benefit aspiring and experienced poets.” Julia Guzman circled an important date on her new calendar. Priscilla Lignori returned home.

First day of the year

hanging the new calendar

I remember dad

* * *

First day of the year

we return to our hometown

with sister’s ashes


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Feb. 1 and 15. Readers are invited to send haiku for valentines 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).