Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

different songs to the north and south of the songbirds

--Ljiljana Dobra (Sibenik, Croatia)

* * *

migrating birds--

no one sings

on the northbound boats

--Antonella Filippi (Turin, Italy)

* * *

northbound group--

wounded wild goose remains

morning marsh

--Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)

* * *

nightingale song

the nurse opens my window

a little wider

--John McManus (Carlisle, England)

* * *

returning swallows ...

she calls me

by my old name

--Eva Limbach (Saarbrucken, Germany)

* * *

losing my place

in the middle of a Hail Mary

passing crows

--Patrick Sweeney (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

Sunday dinner

near the crematorium

a flock of geese

--Don Wentworth (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

* * *

migrating songbirds

stuck in mud

a child’s shoe

--Precious Oboh (Warri, Nigeria)

* * *

lonely squawk

of a migratory bird

March full moon

--Krzysztof Kokot (Nowy Targ, Poland)

* * *

The dawn

A discontinuous hoot

between chirps

--Ana Maria Lopez Navajas (Albacete, Spain)





satori moments

Master Crow

--Don Wentworth (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

The haikuist may have experienced Zen Buddhism enlightenment. Satoru Kanematsu applauded the performance of a fox and a butterfly. Returning home after that school play, he was reminded of a symphony composed by Antonin Dovorak (1841-1904) with the lyrics: “Quiet-like, some still day, I’m jes’ goin’ home. It’s not far, jes’ close by, Through an open door.”

Spring school show

acting the fox cub

grandson yaps

* * *

Sunset glow--

the school chime playing

Goin’ Home

Marshall Hryciuk was surprised by the arrival of brightly colored butterflies migrating to Toronto. Although Teiichi Suzuki hasn’t been lucky enough to see one yet, haiku about the first butterfly are listed in the spring section of season word almanacs.

days after a snowstorm

painted ladies

flatwing towards us

* * *

Local horse track--

hoping to come across

first butterfly

Paul Geiger was startled by an acrobatic flock of tiny gray birds that zoomed through a blossoming buddleia in Sebastopol, California. Jennifer Hambrick greeted a new neighbor in Columbus, Ohio. Milan Stancic Kimi woke up feeling fully energized in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

bush tits

a small cloud whiffs through

the butterfly bush

* * *

golden-crowned warbler

a soprano moves in

next door

* * *

hidden nightingale

revivifies with a song

morning affection

Nightingales are more often heard than seen. Luciana Moretto spun round to the bush a beautiful song was coming from. Further, down the street she excitedly admitted, “I felt my heart pounding ... how wonderful!”

drilling the air

curls of soft metal ...

nightingale’s warble

* * *

heedless of passers-by

on the sidewalk

an amazing robin

Jeanne Jorgensen was nonplussed by the sound of a manly harbinger of spring on her front lawn. Robin red breast sings “here I am. here I am” so much like a man

Yutaka Kitajima noted a change in the voice of a Siberian friend who has been visiting since last autumn in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. Malintha Perera responded to a lower octave in Sri Lanka. Karen O’Leary joined a singalong in West Fargo, North Dakota. Lucy Whitehead’s father taught her birdcalls in Essex, U.K.

Dusky thrush

burst into twitter

in the mist

* * *

V formation

a bird drops

one treble clef

* * *

spring cheer--

my fluttering friends

share their songs

* * *

bright spring day

dad and I listen

for the cuckoo’s call

Guliz Mutlu set the marker pin for a world map on Ankara, Turkey. Madhuri Pillai found everything right with the world in Melbourne, Australia.

narcissus blooms

at the center

of the earth

* * *

whiff of jasmine ...

bluer than the sky

kingfisher’s blue

Reka Nyitrai blanched in Bucharest, Romania.

her name

on his lips ...

white peach

Aljosa Vukovic was quarantined in Sibenik, Croatia. Moretto lamented human confinement. Pawel Markiewicz waited for cranes to arrive in Siemiatycze, Poland. Ramona Linke admired a loving pair that has come to nest in Germany on a briny lagoon along the southwestern shores of the Baltic Sea.

come down with the flu

I’m staring through the window

migratory birds

* * *

flying over

the walls and barbed wires

migratory birds

* * *

the last thaw in spring

I think about migration

first crane’s arrival

* * *

morning mist

across the bodden meadow

two cranes

Taking a seat at a haiku meeting in Kanagawa Prefecture, Masumi Orihara suddenly realized that “the man sitting next to me was my former boss. After so many years we talked about each other’s journeys.”

a chance reunion

across a lot of waters

migrating swallows

Kiyoshi Fukuzawa was amazed by flocks of feral green birds from Sri Lanka that thrive in Tokyo after escaping from pet cages. They change the type of tree on which they perch according to the season--for example they seem to prefer pink in springtime and golden ginkgo in autumn. Devin Harrison has heard the garrulous, hyperactive birds on Vancouver Island. But his ear prefers the angelic simultaneous yet independent melodies of birds that have crisscrossed the heavens for centuries.

Parakeets gone wild

singing on cherry trees

songs from the south

* * *


from somewhere in the smog

feral parrots

* * *

speaking in tongues

the sacred polyphony

of migrating birds

Slobodan Pupovac wonders if his pet could survive in Zagreb. Mark Meyer lives on Mercer Island in Washington. Kanematsu ducked suddenly when an incoming bird flew into his house.

sad song--

a small canary

in the cage

* * *


jackhammers scare away

the morning’s songbirds

* * *

Sudden spring--

in my room flutters

a stray bird

Eleonore Nickokay longed to follow the cranes leaving her hometown in France for the north of Europe. Harrison headed for the hills.

call of the cranes

I glance at

the travel deals

* * *

yellow warblers

a few ounces of gold

in the willows

Patrick Sweeney heeded a Feng Shui compass to find his balance, while a loved one received care in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.

under Chinese white stars

grand larceny

in my heart

* * *

blush of lightning over the bay

the mid-point

of her treatment

Kitajima had a “flashback from the catastrophe in the spring of 2011” when he was frantically trying to flee nuclear radiation fallout.

Fill her up--cold hands fumbling with a road map

Franjo Ordanic is a fan of a 1980 Willie Nelson tune featured in the movie, “Honeysuckle Rose”-- which took its title from a song composed in 1929 by Fats Waller, who loved the name of the spring blooming vine.

“On the Road Again ...”

before the world tour

a farewell song

Put haiku on your bucket list of things to do at The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear April 5 and 19. Readers are invited to send haiku about the end of the Heisei Era in Japan or the beginning of a new era, 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).