Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

the birdsong hangs on the bare branches
--Angela Giordano (Avigliano, Italy)

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first blackbird’s song
kissing the night off
your skin
--Claudia Brefeld (Bochum, Germany)

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fleeing when I spot her--
a currawong’s new year
--Madhuri Pillai (Melbourne, Australia)

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a ptarmigan’s
disappearing act
--Jay Friedenberg (Riverdale, New York)

* * *

imminent snowstorm
a chickadee whistles
a tune or two
--Luminita Suse (Ottawa, Canada)

* * *

new chicks
a magpie leans into
its reputation
--John Hawkhead (Bradford on Avon, England)

* * *

Spring birdsong
the Great Buddha has
long earlobes
--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

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Lilac dawn
among the plum blossoms
an iguisu’s song
--Nisha Raviprasad (Kochi, India)

* * *

plum blossom
flock after flock
sing for supper
--Vera Constantineau (Sudbury, Ontario)

* * *

back and forth
from suet to nest
--Paul Geiger (Sebastopol, California)


my new dentures--
how hard is it to say
Asahi haikuist
--Aljosa Vukovic (Sibenik, Croatia)

The haikuist tried out a new set of false teeth. This issue marks 26 years of publishing lighthearted, as well as painstakingly composed, haiku by our readers. Marek Printer is proud of his boy’s progress in Poland. Mark Manalang wrote his debut haiku for this column in Manila’s Chinatown.

plum blossoms
my autistic son says
without hesitation

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Binondo nocturne
spring’s breeze sings to me of love
as I walk alone

Today is Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Celebrations include a church service on the meaning of life after death, decorations of pure white lilies and hunting for eggs. The Easter lily is native to the Ryukyu islands. In Panchkula, India, Vandana Parashar paid homage to a tree mentioned in the Bible. Lucia Fontana’s family fashioned prayer beads from large seeds in Milan, Italy. Rose Menyon Heflin looked heavenward from Madison, Wisconsin.

a new shoot emerges
from silver fig

* * *

red grains
from magnolia cones
grandmother’s beads

* * *

Colossal pine trees
A still and quiet power
Radiating faith

Satoru Kanematsu felt protected by a statue posed with legs crossed and hands on the lap. Mary White placed one hand in the other with her palms facing heaven above Dublin, Ireland. In Swansea, Wales, Jim Young reflected on the temporary nature of the human condition.

Just sitting
the patient Buddha
a long day

* * *

alone all day
one hand nesting
in the other

* * *

in the gale
Buddha is still sitting still
everything passes

Hifsa Ashraf reflected during the rhythmic repetition of ritual prayers practiced by Muslim mystics in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

evening zikr…
I come across
my real shadow

John S. Gilbertson faced a hill to climb in Greenville, South Carolina. Lenard D. Moore mailed his haiku from North Carolina. Aaron Ozment wondered how high he has to climb.

On hillside of hell,
hundred-billion souls stand--

* * *

rush hour moon--
mail jeep’s yellow lights flash
up the hill

* * *

How tall is the hill
under the trees and bamboo
enough for the birds

Tsanka Shishkova’s uphill climb was fruitful, leading her to write this line: the scent of spring plums on the hill.

Stephen Toft wrote this one-liner about whispering to cattle in Lancaster, U.K.: spring blossom i sing to the bull.

Wade German made a pilgrimage in Delta, British Columbia.

spring snow...
carrying old bones
to master’s shrine

Vladislav Hristov bowed under an old, bent evergreen in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Realizing that Jesus of Nazareth may have been crucified on a cross made from the yew tree, Mario Massimo Zontini counted his blessings in Parma, Italy. Francoise Maurice’s ears perked toward the treetops in Draguignan, France. Kanematsu swayed sacred tree leaves during prayers.

I found my home
by the jutting yew

* * *

Winter garden--
all the colours pale
but the yew’s

* * *

the swept clouds
by the yew tree tops
voice of gales

* * *

Small home shrine--
offered cleyera

One “beautiful Easter morning a few years ago,” Ed Bremson said he “was taking a walk,” in Raleigh, North Carolina, and thought of this haiku that has become his all-time favorite:

Easter morning...
all the birds singing
Savior, Savior

Marion Clarke recalled how exciting Easter used to be in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland, when parents hid chocolate eggs for children to find around the home.

Easter Sunday
when chocolate
was still a treat

All winter long, a Japanese “hiyodori” called “hi-yo hi-yo” to Yutaka Kitajima, who then replied to the bird with a click of his tongue. As if an old friend, this remarkable interaction with a wild bird in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, he says “helps me outlive these depressive days.”

Perfect sky
for a walk--whispers
the bulbul

Mary Vlooswyk admitted she’s “been trying, unsuccessfully, to spot and photograph a snowy owl” in Calgary, Alberta. Mario Zontini was startled by a large bird of prey in Parma, Italy. Goran Gatalica was amazed by a whirring of colorful annuals of the daisy family in Zagreb, Croatia. Eleonore Nickolay heard the month come in like a lion in Vaires sur Marne, France.

snowy owl
today is a day
to just blend in

* * *

In the snow
there is no life⁠--then
a barn owl

* * *

mother’s garden--
blurring the zinnia flowers
the hummingbirds

* * *

March gust
sweeping away
the chaffinch’s song

Sally A. Fox heard these serenades in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The mockingbirds sing,
The egret calls out, spying
The splash of a fish

Kitajima easily recognized the “Chie-yo, chie-yo, ...” of a white-eye, but lamented, “to catch sight of it is another matter. One of its favorite foods is camellia nectar.” Christof Blumentrath in Sweden, and Ozment in Kagoshima, respectively, were rewarded for their patience.

among camellias
a white-eye

* * *

spring wind
the garden packed
with birdsong

* * *

Hours of birdsong
from an unmoving forest
I saw one at last


It’s a Good Friday to read The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear April 16 and 30. Readers are invited to send haiku related to social distancing or going for a spring walk 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).