Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

In my ear--whispers from the dark side of the moon

--Qi-Hang Guo (Dalian, China)

* * *

shooting star--

the new year wishes

disappear in mist

--Hifsa Ashraf (Rawalpindi, Pakistan)

* * *


by our first


--Marion Clarke (Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland)

* * *

inbox blank

after sending all my heart’s content

year of the pig

--Ashoka Weerakkody (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

* * *

“less phone time”

a reminder put

on my phone

--Vandana Parashar (Chandimandir, India)

* * *

divorce papers

bleed onto the floor--

Valentine’s Day

--Karen O’Leary (West Fargo, North Dakota)

* * *

two solitudes ...

a dog and a pig

look at the same moon

--Eufemia Griffo (Milan, Italy)

* * *

A baby wild boar

with a melon

prayer for peace

--Asako Utsunomiya (Hiroshima)

* * *

on Mount Etna--

the beauty of the snow

around me

--Rosa Maria Di Salvatore (Catania, Italy)

* * *

Chilly breath

collects fragrant air

flower shop

--Murasaki Sagano (Tokyo)




a valentines card

mailed to herself--


--Liz Gibbs (Calgary, Canada)

The haikuist loves mysteries, and because valentines are sometimes mailed anonymously, she thought about what a lonely woman could do on lovers’ day. Aparna Pathak scratched her chin thinking about who mailed her in Gurugram, India. Priscilla Lignori showed her 17-year-old granddaughter, who was born on Feb. 14, the way she used to write to boys. Richard Jodoin yearned for yesteryear in Montreal.

anonymous valentine

I caress the scar

on my chin

* * *

Box in the attic--

finding Valentine’s Day cards

that were never sent

* * *

Valentine emails ...

crammed into my mailbox

postcard nostalgia

Valentines is a tradition dating back to the late 1300s in Europe, where the first day of spring was associated with the middle of February when songbirds returned to choose new mates. Spring began 10 days ago in Japan, prompting Vasile Moldovan to contrast Japanese and European seasonal markers. Both cultures have traditionally relied on the sun to mark a change in season.

cats in love--

really, did they learn about

Saint Valentine’s Day?

Christina Chin juxtaposed finding true love with the tradition of decorating dining tables with paper cranes at ceremonies, explaining that “a thousand cranes need to be made in order for a wish to come true.” While knitting, Karen O’Leary couldn’t help but go over what she had done in West Fargo, North Dakota.


thousand paper cranes

Valentine dream

* * *

picking up

lost stitches--

the reunion

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams played a high-stakes game in Fairlawn, Ohio. Maria Chiara Miduri beheld a present in Turin, Italy. Adjei Agyei-Baah’s love never faded in Accra, Ghana.

dating game--

betting one “luv u”

candy heart

* * *

red flower

stands still

between my hands

* * *

Valentine Day

holding onto

her plastic flowers

Receiving a souvenir from Abu Dhabi, Masumi Orihara said it was “an ideal valentine for a stubborn, but sweet person.” Writing from Essex, U.K., Lucy Whitehead says sometimes her “day doesn’t go according to plan.”

milk chocolate from

a stubborn camel

in the shape of colored stones

* * *

Valentine’s Day

an iced gingerbread heart

in pieces

Alan Summers returned to his favorite pub in Wiltshire for a late night dish popularized by a controversial 1969 British sitcom starring Spike Milligan.

curry and chips

downed at the local pub

the stars as if new

Haikuist marina colne wrote this one-liner to express her desire to enjoy another day in Geelong, Australia: Fave cafe. “We’ll see you next year.” The wait staff.

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo relished this year’s zodiac sign in The Hague, Netherlands.

dinner for one--

the taste of this year

in a pork bun

Teary-eyed Reka Nyitrai decided to stay put in Bucharest, Romania. Antonella Filippi responded to a cold shoulder in Turin, Italy. John Hawkhead puckered up in Bradford on Avon, U.K. Lucia Cardillo felt shy in Rodi Garganico, Italy. Danijela Grbelja consoled a friend in Sibenik, Croatia.

halved onion

on the cutting board


* * *

sudden chill--

we can do nothing but laugh

at our love

* * *

February chill

we catch drifting snowflakes

between our lips

* * *

St. Valentine’s ...

on a toothless smile

timid kiss

* * *

glass of cheap champagne

cold February 14th

sympathetic ear

A few days ago in the Netherlands, Joanne van Helvoort felt “sure his Valentine’s card will come this year, too.” Vandana Parashar reintroduced herself to a loved one in Chandimandir, India. Jeanne Jorgensen directed prayers next door in Edmonton, Alberta. Julia Guzman said goodbye in Cordoba, Argentina.

nothing changed

his wobbly written


* * *


every meeting is now

our first

* * *

neighbour’s failing heart

chilled by thoughts of surgery

… last flush of sunset

* * *

Saint Valentine’s day--

leather gloves on the table

after the farewell ...

Teiichi Suzuki warmly recalled when his grandmother read fairytales seated by “a fireplace at the rural home where I was born” near Eiheiji, Fukui Prefecture. Murasaki Sagano got tickets to a musical in Tokyo.

The distant old home--

a fireplace at the center

of my family

* * *

Mary Poppins

opera glasses in focus

Valentine’s Day

Satoru Kanematsu shivered each time an ambulance wailed past the neighbor’s doghouse in Nagoya.

Howling wind

polished fire engines

on standby

* * *

Freezing moon

casting sharp shadows

silent howls

Charlie Smith roused his old dog Wendy to go out to see what all the neighbors were gawking at from his front lawn in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Howling wind

super blood wolf moon

shadows dance

Prijono Tjiptoherijanto from the University of Indonesia suggested the color red is linked to romance and Valentine’s Day. Ashoka Weerakkody cautions would-be Romeos to check for skin allergies before applying bright red henna. Franjo Ordanic celebrated his 50th Valentine’s Day in Oroslavje, Croatia.

three red roses

with simple ribbon

arrived today

* * *

pray to thee Saint

Valentine please, let her not redden--

hair dye test

* * *

fifty years--

a glass of red wine

a blue pill

Chin called upon young performers in a dance troupe to climb up high on a pole to snatch mandarin oranges and red envelopes with money inside to celebrate the last day of the Chinese New Year Spring Festival in Sarawak. As the days slipped by in Portugal, Corine Timmer dreamt of going to China. Writing from her hometown in Dalian, China, Qu Yao sadly acknowledged that this year’s lunar festival had run its course, but astutely noted how “the end is a new starting point.”

lion dance

a red packet hangs

from our balcony

* * *

waxing moon--

a flying pig

in my dream

* * *

a windy morning

not to leave

but to start


There’s a whole lotta love at The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear March 1, 15 and 29. Readers are invited to send haiku about a peach of a day, maple syrup, or migrating songbirds, 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).