Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

starlings return then again vast blue
--Helga Stania (Ettiswil, Switzerland)

* * *

balcony in flower
the prison blues
of a small canary
--Slobodan Pupovac (Zagreb, Croatia)

* * *

Bringing spring
first from the planter
--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

so much room
for silence
wild crocuses
--Radostina Dragostinova (Sofia, Bulgaria)

* * *

tulip bulbs
working out how old
you would be
--Alan Peat (Biddulph, England)

* * *

circle of petals
under the plum tree
finches feast
--Vera Constantineau (Sudbury, Ontario)

* * *

bring its scent to me
with your voice
--Murasaki Sagano (Tokyo)

* * *

the breath i take
from your lips
--Isabella Kramer (Nienhagen, Germany)

* * *

plum blossoms
the unconditional love
she asks for
--Xenia Tran (Highlands, Scotland)

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browning daffodils...
she loses interest
in a matter of weeks
--Barrie Levine (Wenham, Massachusetts)


after blooming...
she removes the flower stems
around the fence
--Goran Gatalica (Zagreb, Croatia)

The haikuist observed a gardener’s hands. Kiyoshi Fukuzawa knelt down at a cemetery in Tokyo. Since he moved to Osaka, Hidehito Yasui’s dear mother had a handful of garden chores to do.

On the gravestone
an old woman’s hand
picking spring grass

* * *

Winter camellia
encouraged by mother
living in snowy hometown

Murasaki Sagano visited more than 100 temples in Kyoto.

Departed souls
suffused with its scent
white magnolias

The warming climate coaxed the arrival of a cherry blossom on March 26 in Kyoto. That is the earliest ever recorded since 1409. The date of the first Japanese cherry blossom to appear at Jisho Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, in Kyoto has been tracked for 732 times since the year 812. This long and complete seasonal record serves as proxy evidence that phenologists use to study seasons and that haikuists can use to compare traditional and modern haiku. Subir Ningthouja awaited news of the cherry tree that is faithfully measured at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

Yasukuni shrine...
five sakura twelve days early
blossom the season

Satoru Kanematsu received complimentary bus tickets in Nagoya. Enjoying her garden in Tokyo, Junko Saeki was nonplussed by the soaring number of private companies selling Starship tickets to the international space station or around the moon. Tsanka Shishkova was enticed by the new way to travel.

Spring once more
reissued free pass
the aged

* * *

quiet rain
on my lily buds
another ship to space

* * *

time traveler
getting old imperceptibly
but it’s still tempting

Mirela Brailean couldn’t sleep last night. At winter’s end we feel changes in sleep patterns, appetite, energy and the desire to be social. Sushama Kapur and Fukuzawa, respectively, seemed to agree with researchers who claim that people who regularly walk in the forest have lower stress and sleep better.

under the plum in bloom
white night

* * *

under the evergreens
our morning walks

* * *

Hazy plum blossoms--
I’ve walked and walked to feel
fragrant air

Vincenzo Adamo was rewarded during an early morning hike on the island of Sicily, which protects a nature reserve in Trapani with a splendid view of Mount Erice. Sagano enjoyed a refreshing laugh.

bright dawn
wedged on the mountain ridge

* * *

Schoolgirls talk
their heads in the clouds
laughing mountains

Helga Stania composed this one line on a Swiss mountain: while spring swooshes green hush of moss.

Giuliana Ravaglia composed these two lines that mirror the Apennines on a lake in the Emilia Romagna near Bologna, Italy.

april breeze--
scent of the mountains on clear water

Stania composed three more lines when she watched the river wear down the mountain. John Zheng walked along Stones river in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Amita Paul dreamed of traveling the high mountain pass from the Punjab to Ladakh. Vandana Parashar reflected in Kargil, a town nestled in the Himalayas where borderlines divide India and Pakistan on opposite sides of the same mountain.

spring songs
listen to the friction
of pebbles

* * *

lonely walk
steps in sync with
a robin’s chirps

* * *

Leh Main Road
where the snow lay
lamplit day

* * *

on the other side
of the mountain
people just like us

Mihovila Ceperic-Biljan stayed home to write in Rijeka, Croatia. Ivan Gacina folded 1,000 paper cranes in Zadar. Counting to 10,000, Junko Saeki believes “you can do almost anything if you are willing to do it on all fours.”

distance learning
the garden covered
with writing

* * *

echo of the mountain...
my senbazuru in collusion
with the wind

* * *

planting my garden on all fours
the sweet peppers called,
“the temple of ten-thousand wishes”

Alan Peat penned four lines. This debut to the column reflects his interest in writing online educational books and books about 20th-century art, noting, “It keeps me from mischief!”

laughing mountain
both remote
and vivid

Angela Giordano wrote a shoelace-shaped haiku: the shoes were colored with fresh spring grass. Rosemarie Schuldes’ family took two steps in Mattsee, Austria. Beate Conrad sorted out a three-line haiku in Hildesheim, Germany.

pine tree topiary
toddler’s boisterous steps

* * *

puzzle pieces
yellow and green jumbled up--
spring breeze

Entranced by a 700-year-old Sufi ritual in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Hifsa Ashraf watched as white robes rose and fell in unison, spinning faster and faster.

spring breeze
whirls the white rose
dervish dance

Nani Mariani made a wish while watching children dance around a sacred fig tree with aerial roots in a village in Victoria, Australia. Minal Sarosh observed newlyweds who didn’t social distance in Ahmedabad, India. Marek Kozubek walked down a familiar path in Bangkok, Thailand.

Banyan tree
by this spring
I want to walk down the aisle

* * *

newly married
the jasmine creepers cling
to each other

* * *

still the same way--
through a flowering meadow
our love

Randall Herman drove past a faulty neon no vacancy sign in Victoria, Texas.

spring snow
the flicker of
a motel’s NO

John S. Gilbertson has friends in need in Greenville, South Carolina. Allison Escobar learned at Sollars Elementary School that no two snowflakes look the same.

one way friend
asking for a lend--
never thinking again

* * *

A snowflake:
this friend is not
like others

Yutaka Kitajima greeted a gentle soul peering out from a snowbank in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. Masumi Orihara greeted a face peering out from sheets hung on a laundry line.

Peaceful face
of the stone image
from deep snow

* * *

daisies just planted
new neighbor smiles her “morning!”
among the washing

Ramona Linke was saddened to hear a plea for comfort from a loved one in Beesenstedt, Germany. Zdenka Mlinar sympathized with a neighbor’s sufferance of an earthquake in Zagreb, Croatia.

contact restrictions
sometimes she longs for
hot milk with honey

* * *

a smile on the face of
the demolished house owner
hidden pain

Having worked with elders for many years, Elizabeth Moura looks forward to her own retirement and living in a converted factory in the small town of East Taunton, Massachusetts.

lined with seedlings

Mona Iordan would love to welcome guests to her home in Bucharest, Romania. Tradition promises a kiss to anyone who passes underneath the green sprig with pale berries. Alwine Kose promised tea to visitors in Germany.

suspended over my door--

* * *

cold morning moon
I’m foaming up matcha
for the gate-crasher

Parashar watched charismatic guests flit about in Panchkula, India. Rajeshwari Srinivasan slept peacefully in Mumbai. Shishkova couldn’t sleep. Anne-Marie McHarg awoke revitalized in London.

spring again
every garden buzzing with
social butterflies

* * *

embossed in my dreams
colors of spring

* * *

song of nightingales
before dawn

* * *

The whole world awakens
In pure exquisite beauty
A spring butterfly


Haiku blooms at The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears April 30. Readers are invited to send haiku about fireflies, 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).