Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

heavy clouds over the cherry pink moon
--Tsanka Shishkova (Sofia, Bulgaria)

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new moon--
the stillness of sea
awaits a tide
--Teji Sethi (Bangalore, India)

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released from sway
lull in a strong wind
--Murasaki Sagano (Tokyo)

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Calm spring seas
birds pitching up and down
with the current
--Yuji Hayashi (Fukuoka)

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spring rapture
between your eyes and mine--
the sea is calm
--Suraj Nanu (Kerala, India)

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lighting up the books
I read at night
fireflies in a bottle
--Chen Xiaoou (Kunming, China)

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a random tall wave on calm seas
windy beach
--Ashoka Weerakkody (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

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Salty-fresh sea breeze
the scent of life wafts anew
from Manila Bay
--Mark Thomas Manalang (Baguio, Philippines)

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ships at anchor
waiting their turn to
unload the burden
--B.A. France (Annapolis, Maryland)

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midnight jogging
followed by the moon
virtual marathon
--Sherry Grant (Auckland, New Zealand)


The moon’s
silver waves
guiding the turtle home
--Raegan Bradbury (Misawa, Aomori Prefecture)

The 11-year-old haikuist at Sollars Elementary sketched a peaceful scene of sea turtles returning on the tide to lay eggs on the beach where they were born. His classmate, Aaron Royston, discovered a remarkable stone.

Small ravine
the wavy hair
of a stone goddess

Arvinder Kaur alluded to the words of Peggy Willis Lyles (1939-2010), which appeared in a 1980 issue of “Cicada” in Canada: summer night we turn out all the lights to hear the rain.

what it means
to hear the rain

Noisy Brood X periodical cicadas that remained underground for 17 years are emerging by the trillions now that ground temperatures are soaring over 17 degrees Celsius in North America. Haikuists have to clamor quickly to mark this generation in 17 syllables. Soil warms earlier because of climate change. Before 1950, cicadas used to emerge at the end of May; now they’re already singing. Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) experienced both rain and insect songs in Yamagata Prefecture.

Gathering the rains of May
how swiftly it flows
Mogami River

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the cicada’s cry
penetrates through the boulder
eternal stillness

This poem came to mind in Ian Willey’s last class of the day. At the time he said, tongue in cheek, “May Syndrome (Gogatsu-byou) is prevalent here in Kagawa. I hear there is no vaccination.”

the middle of May
a sleeping sickness spreading
through all the classrooms

On May 26 the full moon eclipses. In perigee position, the red moon appears larger than life. Payal Aggarwal penned an auspicious debut in Ghaziabad, India. Maria Teresa Piras searched for herself in Serrenti, Italy. Shadows hid Tsanka Shishkova’s true feelings.

lunar eclipse--
fenced in by dragon lanterns
I write my first haiku

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the red moon--
that part of me
that I do not know

* * *

lunar eclipse
how to kiss the lips
behind the mask

Rose Menyon Heflin composed this simile in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just like hungry wolves
We howl, lonesome, at the moon
Hoping someone hears

Anne-Marie McHarg gasped in London, England. Alan Peat donned cardboard viewing glasses to watch the moon overhead at a monastery in the Quercy Blanc region of France.

Here and there
World in bated breath
Moon rising

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eclipse eclipsed
all the monks
in welding masks

Robin Rich peered through a spyglass: lunar eclipse the pirate slowly blinks. Neena Singh admired moon-like beauty in Chandigarh, India. Marie Derley wondered where her extended family wandered. Not everyone will get to see it this time round, laments Germina Melius in Castries, Saint Lucia.

lunar eclipse
the bride’s face
under the veil

* * *

moon eclipse
my ex-sister-in-law
never seen again

* * *

his eyes will miss
death eclipse last winter

Poets refer to the celestial event as a flowering super-moon shadow. Teiichi Suzuki in Osaka, and Murasaki Sagano in Tokyo, respectively, noted how flowers are sensitive to the start of a lunar eclipse--especially its dramatic sudden blackout.

Lunar eclipse
an evening primrose
slightly tilts

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their heads higher up
lunar eclipse

Rosemarie Schuldes called it a corona moon, while rocking back and forth to the sounds of Johannes Brahms’ famous classical piece, “Wiegenlied” in Mattsee, Austria.

corona moon
humming to herself
an old lullaby

Mind at ease in Parma, Italy, Mario Massimo Zontini equated the celestial satellite to the flourish of an inkbrush creating an elegant circle. Vladislav Hristov revealed his openness in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

the night walk--
the spring full moon is
a bright enso

* * *

lunar eclipse
the open ends
of my enso

Yuji Hayashi’s sound sleep in Fukuoka was punctuated by periods of snoring. John Hamley took his eyes off the keyboard. Rich spotted a lunar moth. Satoru Kanematsu watched his step in a Nagoya park.

Hyphen, n, m dash
my interrupted sleep
spring dawn

* * *

Em dashes...

* * *

spot on
a moth’s wing
shadow passes

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Hazy moon
butterflies all down
in the grass

Out for a morning walk, Hamley spotted flowering bloodroot. Native American artists use its reddish sap as a natural dye. The white-petaled herb is called a snow-poppy in East Asia. In San Diego, Marcie Wessels prayed that blood keeps smoothly flowing in the veins of the vaccinated.

never seen by

* * *

new war moon
a clot
in the coursing stream

Francoise Maurice’s pet squinted in Draguignan, France. Bakhtiyar Amini’s eyes dimmed in Duesseldorf, Germany.

lunar eclipse
cat’s eyes
more yellow

* * *

stopped shining
your eyes

Haruka Takimoto studies haiku at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo, where long-clawed bears and pond turtles have reappeared. Goran Gatalica roared in Zagreb, Croatia. Jacob Blumner in Flint, Michigan, and Isabella Kramer in Nienhagen, Germany, respectively, observed the return of carnivores at the top of the food chain.

mountain laughing…
tickled by animals
escaping hibernation

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February wind--
the roaring waves
in my veins

* * *

above the bird feeder
a Cooper’s hawk
casts its shadow

* * *

new glasses...
the hawk’s wink
between clouds

The waxing moon causes high tides to rise higher . Stephen J. DeGuire admired how small, slender fish swarmed onto beaches in California last night to spawn and bury their eggs in the sand. His haiku is about the hatchlings that will be swept out to sea on the next spring tide. Richa Sharma lives near Sanjay Lake in Ghaziabad, India.

highs and lows
of springtide during
grunion runs

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a boulder and i share
the same blues

Veronika Zora Novak planted heaven. Vandana Parashar remained distant. Partha Sarkar veered left.

sowing stars...
my hands stained
midnight blue

* * *

six feet
between you and me
miles of night

* * *

A smooth journey and
A sudden turn--
A different journey

Alan Peat had a blue-sky day moon in mind when he penned this haiku in Biddulph, England.

all last night’s lights
a leftover

JL Huffman discovered gold in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, explaining “nature teases, tricks and sometimes treats us.” Subir Ningthouja was inspired by a river-song in Imphal, India. Hifsa Ashraf contemplated the renunciation of worldly things and purification of the soul.

Wild growth daffodils
draped along serene shallows
a golden necklace

* * *

a mountain sings
for the sea

* * *

Sufi meditation--
from the rock crevice
a cascading waterfall

Schuldes stirred a Viennese coffee. Eleven-year-old Riley Knox contrasted the colors and textures of schoolyard trees at Sollars Elementary in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.

unfolding plum blossom
a drop of cream
in my cup of coffee

* * *

Plum blossoms
boldly between
the green pines


Return to The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear June 4 and 18. Readers are invited to send haiku about cicadas or rainbows 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).