Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

where the brook took the ashes early snow

--Helga Stania (Ettiswil, Switzerland)

* * *

immigrant parents

yellow acorns

plunged in snow

--Jenna Le (New York)

* * *

gentle, near secret

the first snow falling

without much ado

--Pitt Buerken (Munster, Germany)

* * *

falling snow

the back of the deer

shimmers white

--Andrea Byrd (Chicago)

* * *

winter of my life--

snow falls lightly

on edges of hair

--John S. Gilbertson (Greenville, South Carolina)

* * *

moonless night ...

he sought occasions

of obscure anger

--Luciana Moretto (Treviso, Italy)

* * *

Chilly blast

stone-faced mug shots on

wanted list

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

Shoji screen

the soft syllables

of her trinkets

--Malintha Perera (Sri Lanka)

* * *

On first wintry night

a longing for a loved one

downpour of white flakes

--Bernadeth F. Ticar (Iloilo, Philippines)

* * *

river harbor

the first snow

arrives by ferry

--Serhiy Shpychenko (Kyiv, Ukraine)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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porch side mountains

the wind-pushed snow

all around us

--Alan Summers (Wiltshire, England)

The haikuist said he was “surprised and delighted to find out the Atlas Mountains were my main view!” The John McManus family took to the highlands in Cumbria, England. Marilyn Humbert likely escaped to the Blue Mountain tablelands near Sydney, Australia.

mountain snow

the sound of my children

tobogganing

* * *

first snow

skiers gather

on the high plains

This Sunday, Christina Chin will take to the streets to celebrate the rebirth of the sun in Kuching, Sarawak. After prayers, she looks forward to sharing warm soft rice dumplings called “tang yuan.”

incense smoke

amid sidewalk offerings

winter solstice

Sollars Elementary School student Megumi Yurco commands General Winter’s army, often broadcast on television weather reports as “Fuyu-shogun.”

Snowflakes:

tiny soldiers

deployed into softness

Recalling pretty flowers on the slopes, Masumi Orihara looks forward to skiing down White Horse mountain in Nagano Prefecture. Lucia Cardillo recalled itchy afternoons in Rodi Garganico, Italy. Late afternoon sunshine set Angela Giordano’s house on fire.

all sweat and gasping

only to meet

alpine flora

* * *

grape harvest

clouds of gnats

on his hat

* * *

sky ignites

in the painting on the wall--

red maples

Francis Attard tastefully blended colors in Marsa, Malta. Sue Colpitts joined red-breasted birds pecking at sweet grapes in Lakefield, Ontario.

shimmer of purple

the thistle’s wilting theme of

finches pecking seeds

* * *

ice wine

grapes on the vine

robins party

Kiyoshi Fukuzawa found autumn while driving away from Tokyo. Driving in the southwest of France, Eleonore Nickolay parked outside a campsite gate eyeing lychee-like fruit for a sour peach tasting jam preserve. Tsanka Shishkova returned home to Sofia, Bulgaria.

“Grapes for Sale” sign

hidden by colored leaves

forgotten vineyard

* * *

closed campsite

the fruit of the strawberry trees

falling off silently

* * *

the scent

of green fig jam ...

home again

Richa Sharma felt cozy in Ghaziabad, India. Vandana Parashar joined a tiny tea party in Panchkula, India. Kristen Lindquist was tickled with the thought of never having to leave Camden, Maine. Roberta Beach Jacobson might be wishing she had left icy Iowa for the warmth of a Mexican beach.

first snow

with a tinge of nativity

ginger tea

* * *

home alone

my daughter makes tea

for her dolls

* * *

alone in the kitchen

reading a romance

over a bowl of cherries

* * *

first snowflakes

writing haiku

about summer heat

Hifsa Ashraf dreads the coming winter equinox in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Now that he’s an elementary school teacher, Patrick Sweeney comes to grips with what it feels like to hibernate in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.

long night

an endless debate

with my inner demons

* * *

remembering the gray squirrel’s call

in the house

of illiteracy

Marshall Hryciuk presents a striking Canadian West Coast image. Penned near Sechelt, British Columbia, he “was trying to evoke a tall but decrepit pine tree by making the poem more vertical … and made the eagle more vulnerable.”

winged

bald eagle

on a pine

stabbed

by a heckle

of

crows

In search of Tuna Canyon Labyrinth, Jane Beal drove along the western Santa Monica Mountains on the Pacific Coast Highway in California’s Malibu.

the rear-view mirror

reveals the snow-capped mountains

as we drive away

Towards the end of the trip, she paired these two haiku under the title “beyond the night.”

sliver of white moon

shining in the deep blue dark

a broken seashell

* * *

we looked for the maze

but didn’t find it today

the music played on

Lucy Whitehead experienced the lightness of snowflakes in Essex, U.K. Hryciuk felt like a ship’s captain braving a heavy storm blowing in from Lake Ontario. Alegria Imperial savored mystery in Vancouver. The year’s most memorable event for Satoru Kanematsu was cheering for Japan’s rugby team.

the bob

of fuchsia buds

first flakes of snow

* * *

first sleet hitting the windows

in waves

a shot of Irish whiskey

* * *

last drop

of Copper Moon Cabernet

deepening night’s mystery

* * *

Brave Blossoms

Dashing ’n pushing

full of fight

Ian Willey’s year climaxed with the successful launch of an English haiku contest at Kagawa University. The event attracted 130 entries, “without much exposure to English-language haiku is an amazing accomplishment. Well done!” he announced. Here are two honorably mentioned haiku, respectively composed by medical students Junichiro Hirano and Sana Kawai, as well as Willey’s can’t-wait-to-get-home-for-the-holidays haiku.

Autumn starry sky

after driving

I’m lost in thought

* * *

Futon

Covered in sunlight

Reminds me of mother

* * *

pumpkin pie

my name pronounced

with a schwa

Angela Giordano said a heartfelt goodbye and then composed this one-liner: the last chemo-- I get lost in the embrace of a best friend.

Vandana Parashar stepped in large imprints left behind in the hills near Panchkula, India. Jenna Le returned to where she grew up in New York. John Zheng stuttered in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Neni Rusliana watched a blind man saunter away from Bandung, Indonesia. Goran Gatalica sipped from a full glass in Zagreb.

first snow

dad’s footprints too

gone now

* * *

what else has changed?

red clematis now blooming

in Dad’s yard

* * *

homecoming

trying hard to utter

an old friend’s name

* * *

moonless

he walks alone

with his white stick

* * *

father’s wine

in the middle of the night

full of stars

Eva Limbach’s beloved father died at the beginning of this year. He lived with her in the same house and loved music, “especially blues and jazz,” she said, “not that kind of music old people are used to listening to. He even chose the songs for his funeral ceremony.”

faded record sleeves

what to keep

and what to give away

Hifsa read about a spirit returning to life in another form.

last train

a ghost in the storybook

reincarnated

Doc Sunday went window shopping at a mall to inspect a refrigerator before buying it online at a much lower price. Pitt Buerken will try to keep his pet away from the postman bringing Christmas cards to his home in Munster, Germany. Anne-Marie McHarg must have been baking when she glanced out her kitchen window in London. Calling for the continued collegial sharing of haiku in 2020, Adjei Agyei-Baah makes a propitious proposal from Accra, Ghana.

Jingle Bells

home appliances

showrooming

* * *

Yuletide

the dog snaps

at the first snowflake

* * *

Looking delicious

Icing sugar falling

Ah! First snows.

* * *

moonlight talk

our friendship extends

into new year

Aljosa Vukovic prepared to ring in the New Year in Sibenik, Croatia.

Toy symphony--

mom’s belly pulsing

in rhythm

Readers are invited to enter the 9th Matsuyama International Photo-Haiku Contest in cooperation with The Asahi Shimbun. There is no charge to enter photo-haiku online before Jan. 14 at this home page: http://www.matsuyamahaiku.jp/contest/free_eng/entry/

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The Jan. 3, 17, and 31 issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network will celebrate the New Year. You are invited to send haiku about icicles, blossoms or the snow 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 (mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp).

* * *

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).