Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

plum blossoms the softness of granny’s hair

--Taofeek Ayeyemi (Lagos, Nigeria)

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plum blossoms
on her cheek’s satin skin
a kiss
--Francoise Maurice (Toulouse, France)

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Naked tree
such a beautiful curve
blue canvas
--Murasaki Sagano (Tokyo)

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spring breeze
a wisp of cloud caught
by tree limbs
--John Zheng (Itta Bena, Mississippi)

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dripping fog
...and there standing tall
--Vandana Parashar (Panchkula, India)

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trellis of shadows
high sugar maples
crisp in the chill
--Marshall Hryciuk (Toronto, Ontario)

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from the aviary
at far end of the garden
daybreak sonata
--Paul Callus (Safi, Malta)

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catching my breath
along muddy ascent
snow-covered blossoms
--Masumi Orihara (Atsugi, Kanagawa)

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turning over
a new leaf...
his faltering steps
--Madhuri Pillai (Melbourne, Australia)

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how about giving
a different name and background
when meeting someone new
--Foteini Georgakopoulou (Athens, Greece)


tangled hair with steam
hina dolls
--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

The haikuist hair-sprayed a display of dolls. A glue hairdo could have damaged them. On the third day of the third month on the Japanese calendar, women traditionally decorated their hair with willow branches symbolizing a long and healthy life. The haikuist also cut tiny masks. Vandana Parashar checked for her phone, keys and mask before going out to shop for new clothes.

Making masks
for herself, her dolls

* * *

new trend
the tailor gives matching masks
with every dress stitched

Alwine Kose announced “It’s a girl” during a unique gender-reveal get-together in Germany.

first snowdrops
beside his breakfast plate
pink baby shoes

Patrick Sweeney in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, and Aaron Ozment in Kagoshima, respectively, cried under trees.

only when the leaves are green
do I mourn
with the willow

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Why mourn the cherries?
mourn the pink kissed face and breast
of a lonely wife

Helga Stania crooned “A woman left lonely” in Ettiswil, Switzerland. The haikuist’s idol, Janis Joplin (1943-1970), replied from the depths of her soul “well, the fevers of the night, they burn an unloved woman.” Rose Mary Boehm pined in Lima, Peru. Sherry Grant’s haiku from Auckland, New Zealand, will steal your heart.

second lockdown--
will soon grow tired of waiting
Joplin sang

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In the cloud forest
My soul thirsts for the scent
Of pine and spruce

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fresh mint
under plum blossoms
stolen kisses

Aljosa Vukovic flattened, dried and mounted an old flame in Sibenik, Croatia. Kanematsu recited an autumn song by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Hidehito Yasui noted that falling leaves refer to autumn, whereas fallen leaves are a winter seasonal reference.

“Only you” on the radio--
spinster puts a rose
in the herbarium

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Fallen leaves
poem by Verlaine
on dry lips

* * *

Fallen leaves
run about in confusion
capricious winds

Buddhist nun Chiyo-ni (1703-1775) composed an autumn haiku that can be translated as follows: morning glory! the well bucket-entangled, I ask for water. Cognizant of the Japanese practice of ringing temple bells to rid the sins committed in the previous year, Randall Herman shared this haiku from Victoria, Texas.

with pruning shears she draws near
the well-bucket--
one hundred and eight bells

Vincenzo Adamo Paceco praised nature in Sicily, Italy. When Murasaki Sagano opened her curtains this morning in Tokyo she refreshed her love for Henri Rousseau’s (1844-1910) lush green grass, leaves and trees. She said she passes her days indoors leafing through art books. Masumi Orihara suggested metaphorically that “the older plum trees grow, the more appealing they look.”

wrapped in ivy
the Buddha statue

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Winter window--
tall, thick and round-shaped
Rousseau’s evergreens

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warped mossy trunk
pure-white plum blossoms

After reading the following translation of a haiku by Tohta Kaneko (1919-2018), Kanematsu gazed at vibrant and deep indigo blues in the sky over his head: Plum trees are blossoming and all around the garden, blue sharks are arriving.

Plum blossoms
blue sharks Tohta saw
where are they?

Pravat Kumar Padhy re-enacted a scene from Matsuo Basho’s book in Bhubaneswar, India: Anemone on Basho’s Narrow Road leading the way.

An evergreen conifer that grows beside Amy Losak’s home in Teaneck, New Jersey, reminded her that slow learners at school used to be told to sit in a corner and forced to wear a conical white paper hat. Rosemarie Schuldes’ hedge was brilliant. Clinging to memories, she hasn’t taken down festive decorations in Mattsee, Austria. Vladislav Hristov’s trash can’s full in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

my arborvitae
wears today’s fresh-fallen snow
a bright dunce cap!

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snowy thuja hedge
in sun glitter
my old diamond band

* * *

ivy wreath
at the entry door

* * *

christmas tree
sticks out
even in the bin

Ozment rents an old house with copper eaves that have turned green with oxidation. Kose turned green with envy.

The sagging gutter
pleasing patinated angle
Why bother fixing?

* * *

Valentine’s Day
the flower boy rings
next door

Nani Mariani ran her finger down a well-worn jamb in Melbourne, Australia. Marshall Hryciuk lives in a lovely old home near residential parks in Toronto. Hidehito Yasui bemoans the state of emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Osaka.

wooden window frames
the beauty of the fallen grain

* * *

leaf upon leaf
tumbling in light before me
intersection of oaks

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Winter blast
benches in the park
exclusive for fallen leaves

Ramona Linke felt the American Wild West. Hryciuk marveled at a 2,000-kilometer long river that flows from southwestern Canada to the Pacific.

snowy plains
buffaloes pawing for
fresh green shoots

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blue haze
spans the tumbling Columbia
evergreens to evergreens

Lysa Collins penned one line in White Rock, British Columbia: Unexpectedly--a touch of the windswept spirit. Angela Giordano wrote: flowering plum--in my hands strands of white hair.

Giuliana Ravaglia composed two two-lined haiku, then held her breath in Bologna, Italy.

first wind of the year--
the snowdrop just emerges

* * *

april breeze--
linden scent on her skin

Ian Willey watched his daughter blow out 16 candles, musing to himself, “You think they’ll keep growing forever and I suppose they do.” Dina Towbin lost more than a tree in Lima, Peru.

smoldering candles
my daughter says she isn’t
growing any more

* * *

Whoosh the wind blew it down
The tree you climbed endlessly
And you disappeared


Grow with The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears Mar. 19. Readers are invited to send haiku about gales 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).