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September 29, 2003

Morning blue
dawn unfolds autumn
glory be

-Ogawa, Shiro
(Mitaka, Tokyo)

Baby mouths "o"
white-kimonoed priest
bamboo sways

-Nishimura, Reiko
(Sakura, Chiba)

Alone tonight
how blue
this moonlit iris

-Ray Rasmussen

Indian summer
and neighbor cooking
my curry

-Nagami, Hidetoshi

Golden harvest
the scent of autumn
in the farmer's song

-Angelee Deodhar

Sea color
changing bay by bay
summer trip

-Tachibana, Kennosuke

Lazy blue
dragonfly likes her

-Michael W. Corr

The orchid
among paint buckets
very white

-Ruth Franke
Blues time
birds fall
into dusk

-Joyce Arsnow
(Adelphi, Maryland)

from the notebook

Mitsuaki Kojima

Haiku painted in blue and white dominate this end-of-summer issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network. Arsnow wonders whether haikuists in Japan have seen a certain shade that she describes as "a powdery blue that descends at dusk when the air is still and the birds are peacefully twittering themselves to sleep. It is a color many American Impressionists (artists) tried to capture. I think of it as a very New England summer evening color that turns the leaves blue-green. It is one of my favorite colors. ... It is so beautiful to see."

In the next poem, Corr blends the color blue on his first line with the white of a lily on the third by mentioning calico-a small-patterned, printed cotton fabric-on the middle line of his haiku.

Prussian blue carp
tailed in calico
waltzing water lily

Canadian haiku editor Marco Fraticelli contrasts the blue glow of fireflies with multicolored fireworks in his next poem. And while swimming, Nishimura caught sight of the deepest shade in the color spectrum reflected by the atmosphere.

during the fireworks
those fireflies

Violet sky
summer night goes slow

Anna Akamatsu has been a constant contributor of fine poetry to this column for a few years now, but she recently wrote to happily announce the creation of her "first haiku composed directly-originally-in English."

in memory of

Her breakthrough was achieved while watching "Summertime," a romantic movie filmed in Venice in 1955 starring Katherine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. Akamatsu said that she was definitely "thinking in English then." Prior to her debut in English, she had reflected on the process of how she translated her own Japanese compositions. Reading from my book, "Haiku Composed in English as a Japanese Language," (Pukeko, 2003), she sympathizes with students who "feel it is much safer to translate their native Japanese" and agrees with a premise raised in the book that the "translation of haiku is impossible." So Akamatsu tried to conjure the original images of her Japanese haiku and to re-experience them until they became clear again in her mind before expressing them with English words. She admits she can't use this process successfully on other haikuists' poems, but she is able to bilingually share her own heartfelt messages.

Here's one more from our budding author of haiku composed in "English as a Japanese language." It's about her favorite sweetly perfumed white flower.

in a roof-garden
remains so

Want to try composing haiku ?


Readers are invited to send haiku related to colors in the autumn wind, club announcements and haiku books to David McMurray at Asahi Haikuist Network, International Herald Tribune/ Asahi Shimbun, 5-3-2 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8011, or by fax to: 03-5541-8539. View the Asahi Haikuist Network in color at

Herald Tribune/Asahi


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