Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

hanging a rose by her doorknob Valentine’s Day

--Taofeek Ayeyemi (Lagos, Nigeria)

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Unknown what’s on her mind
getting a new vaccine
--Kiyoshi Fukuzawa (Tokyo)

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mother at seventy-five
learns about vaccination
intelligence quotient
--Lakshmi Iyer (Trivandrum, India)

* * *

flu vaccination
carefully going home
early winter
--Murasaki Sagano (Tokyo)

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flu vaccination
in a dose of inoculant
the sunshine
--Samo Kreutz (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

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measles shot
the nurse follows up
with a red lollipop
--Kristen Lindquist (Camden, Maine)

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counting the days
kept apart
plum blossoms
--Sherry Grant (Auckland, New Zealand)

* * *

a plum tree
blooms alone...
silent village
--Daniela Misso (San Gemini, Italy)

* * *

The uncertain purity
of the city
--Zachary Bell (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

a place in my heart
with his name on it...
--Karen Harvey (North Wales)


Gleaming dawn
Covid vaccine news
from the States
--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

The haikuist awoke feeling his prayers had been answered. Masumi Orihara believes “safe vaccination is what the world is urgently wishing for.” She praised the sacrifices made by volunteers during vaccination trials. Nani Mariani counted the slow passing of time, and of lives, in Melbourne, Australia. Sherry Grant’s debut haiku to this column blossoms with faltering love from Auckland, New Zealand.

Easing up
winter of the world
the vaccination subjects

* * *

in this place
rose petals fall one by one

* * *

plum blossoms
a lonely heart

Mark Gilbert confirmed that “there is a desire for a magic bullet” in Nottingham, U.K. Robin Rich is ready for a quick-fire response in Brighton, U.K. Giuliana Ravaglia fathomed fog in Bologna, Italy.

queues and pricks
an inoculation
against hard knocks

* * *

head of state
invests in a vaccine
just a little prick

* * *

the tip of fear

On pins and needles, Ashoka Weerakkody worried that the promised vaccine is hibernating rather than working in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

new vaccine
in bumpy transition
cold chain

Pat Geyer felt squeamish in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

the sound
of a flu shot--
swine squeals

Upon hearing this column’s call for ox-themed haiku, Leyla Igarashi said her husband Hisaji blurted out the following three lines “in one go.”

I can say it
in many a language

Anne-Marie McHarg bellowed best she could while reading a library book in London. Pronunciation expert Aaron Ozment might agree with that onomatopoeic observation for lowing cattle, but he disagreed with neighbors in Kagoshima over the weather. Mariangela Canzi could care less about the cold in Mariano Comense, Italy. In Krakow, Poland, Marta Chocilowska was satisfied she had enough rice to pound into cakes. All is well in the world, according to Maxianne Berger in Montreal, Quebec.

Humble ox
bellows low--
“It’s my year”

* * *

Early spring morning
brilliant sunlight, singing birds
folks grumble “It’s cold!”

* * *

cold morn
I fling the window
and bring in the sun

* * *

no snow
in the bowl
rice cake

* * *

sentinel cat
observing snow’s slow descent
all is well

Contrary to the New Year musings of his favorite haikuist who lived in snowbound Kashiwabara, Adjei Agyei-Baah shooed the spiders away from his home during Ghana’s dry, dusty wind season. Taofeek Ayeyemi’s windblown house in Lagos, Nigeria, lacks any sign of life.

harmattan dusting
parting ways with
Issa’s spider

* * *

sudden wind…
the static leaves
of a plastic plum

Paul Faust preferred to be in his own house in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. He hoped that the arrival of the vaccine in Japan might end his isolation.

pandemic patient
positive the transition
hospital to home

* * *

source of the new hope
dispelling a year of fear
vaccine in the arm

In Duesseldorf, Germany, Bakhtiyar Amini experimented with haptics: non-verbal communication that conveys meaning through physical contact. Helga Stania’s haiku communicates her feelings of love in Ettiswil, Switzerland.

her whisper--
final touch of
my drawing

* * *

loving him
beside the lake
under the moon

Nani Mariani practiced elocution in Melbourne, Australia. Charlie Smith reported bittersweetly from North Carolina that he “got the first dose of vaccine,” but his wife “is still waiting for an appointment.” So, they “wear a mask even on our dog walks and evening strolls.” Pitt Buerken reported from Munster, Germany, that “we have less vaccine,” so he remains worried about the new strains of the airborne virus.

falling in love
I like to talk in front of a mirror
and smile

* * *

evening stroll
mistletoe on old oak
masks meet

* * *

covid distancing
the young couple shows their love
blowing kisses

If only “the plague would calm down,” Teiichi Suzuki said he hopes to be among the first to physically experience the flowering season in Osaka.

of COVID-19 vaccine--
plum blossoms

Amita Paul likened the vaccination received in the previous century to “a medium sized coin pressed into the skin and branded there with fire. It grew with the person, a cratered moon shape, first on soft baby flesh, then on the taut skin of youth, then on the sagging upper arm of middle age.” Suresh Babu felt the round cicatrix left by a previous vaccination. Kath Abela Wilson hadn’t thought about vaccination for a long time because it used to only “be an odd thing that happened at school, for tuberculosis or polio.”

engraved coin
branded into
human flesh

* * *

a dollar scar
on her right arm

* * *

those little spots
in a circle on my arm
a halo disappeared

Marie Derley recalled the fear of Y2K computer viruses in Brussels, Belgium. Lenard D. Moore responded to an online cold call in North Carolina.

the year 2000 bug
20 years later

* * *

questions answered
for electronic interview--
late night chill

Francis Attard forgave the street artists who ran away in Marsa, Malta: Metro--first graffiti maker in a mask cheats the CCTV.

After a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled Croatia, Zdenka Mlinar lit a candle for the deceased at a church in Zagreb. Vasile Moldovan compared blossoms to fireworks in Bucharest, Romania. After an explosion of activity, tranquility was restored in Hifsa Ashraf’s hometown of Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Day of Mourning
looting of demolished houses--
forgive them, God

* * *

chain explosion--
the apple buds open one
after the other

* * *

after fireworks
with the stars


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Mar. 5 and 19. Readers are invited to send haiku about strong spring winds or calm spring seas on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or 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).