Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

Following ... cultivator plows the crows feast
--Yutaka Kitajima (Joetsu, Niigata)

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long dirt road
in the old Ford
gas pains
--Erin Castaldi (Mays Landing, New Jersey)

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guilty-stained cheeks
a child hides mangoes
farmer smirks
--Germina Melius (Castries, Saint Lucia)

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morning sunlight
by the old shed
a white carousel horse
--Jane Beal (Santa Cruz, California)

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the lone crow’s caw
lost in the vast skies
laughing mountain
--Rp Verlaine (New York, New York)

* * *

peal of laughter
an echo resonates
in the valley
--Pitt Buerken (Munster, Germany)

* * *

weeds taking over...
the vegetable plot
--Alan Peat (Biddulph, England)

* * *

African violets...
up to my elbows
in dirt
--Veronika Zora Novak (Toronto, Ontario)

* * *

In high-rise condo
Imaginary garden
No dirt to be found
--Timothy Truett (Bethesda, Maryland)

* * *

new hobby--
my garden in the care
of gardeners
--Gordana Vlasic (Oroslavje, Croatia)


Corn tassels
just 12 square meters
son’s small farm
--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

The haikuist’s family rented a small section of farmable land from the city government. Yutaka Kitajima is sensitive to the way climate change influenced the eating habits and phenology of birds in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture.

Long-eared owl
attentive to frogs’
live chorus

Kiyoshi Fukuzawa noted how this year’s rice planting schedule in Kyushu was moved up when frogs started calling out from warmer-than-usual water-filled paddies and earlier-than-usual rains mixed with sunshine to color the southern skies.

A rainbow
arched over rice fields
frogs start croaking

John S. Gilbertson sketched a 5-7-5 ode to the idyllic rural landscape. Wang Hing Ming was inspired by a mural wall painting of a university campus with a panoramic view of Mount Sakurajima. Fukuzawa’s friend who recently passed away may have visited there in his youth.

Kagoshima night
moon playing on sleeping bay
tempting the artist

* * *

listened carefully
to springtime daisy flowers
seize the day, she said

* * *

Classmate gone...
his young days in Kyushu
rarely told

Wieslaw Karlinski planted a cold-resistant crop in Namyslow, Poland.

planting beans
in a new hat
old scarecrow

Germina Melius blew off some steam after having spent all morning kneading dough, carefully cubing mangoes and using a ceramic pie bird to make a hole in her pastry. Shortly after work ended, Robin Rich sat down to a meat pie and pot of good, strong tea in Brighton, U.K.

crumb-covered grass
birds linger in
a pie

* * *

high tea
fork in
the sky

Mary Vlooswyk gave a nod to the taste of sweet corn harvested at a small farming town in Alberta, noting “people will wait in long lines just to be sure they are getting Taber corn!”

Taber cornfield
lightning holds
a scarecrow

Angela Giordano tended a farm in Avigliano, Italy. Gerald Friedman was amazed at the lights he saw flashing in the Corn State. Saki Imaizumi wrote her haiku near cornfields at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo.

herd grazing
on the laughing mountains
the new grass

* * *

Illinois cornfield
too many fireflies at once
too many fireflies

* * *

ripening children--
plants watch
as they’re watched

Eleven-year-old Raegan Bradbury envied a colorful flyer in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture. Vasile Moldovan explains that it is not uncommon for a chicken to raise a duck on farms in Bucharest, Romania. The hen has very strong mothering instincts and will stay close to her adopted ones, keep them warm and away from danger. Neena Singh enjoyed a colorful garden show in Chandigarh, India. Ana Drobot wondered if a new color might bud in her garden.

The butterfly’s
flaming wings
on the rim of the birdbath

* * *

lightning afar--
the ducklings are nestling
under the hatching hen

* * *

pink and purple
zinnias shine brighter--
silver lightning

* * *

her smile...
the new rose
he planted

Kanematsu was aghast when neighbors eradicated foreign species of fish from a pond.

Drained-out pond
kids grab muddy carp
with bare hands

Venturing out from her home in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Masumi Orihara said she keenly felt the “ephemerality of humans.” Orense Nicod reached for the heavens over Paris, France. By focusing on a shining drop of condensation in Los Angeles, Bona M. Santos achieved a sense of calming awareness.

shooting up
stalks in the human world--
green bamboo

* * *

out of the earth
and into the clouds
iris stretches

* * *

the glimmer of a rainbow
on morning dew

Helga Stania was inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s installation of a “Life” exhibit at the Beyeler Foundation near Basel: in the museum gently floating green water.

Anne-Marie McHarg hunted in London. TD Ginting cast a fly in Murakami, Chiba Prefecture.

Detached from this world
I follow the scent--
Of another

* * *

the river flows far--
the trout meets the bait
in the s(tr)eam

Janice Doppler praised the efforts of wildlife and conservationists in Northampton, Massachusetts. Rose Menyon Heflin couldn’t escape the trills from Brood X in Madison, Wisconsin. Luisa Santoro muttered all day long in Rome, Italy.

restored grassland…
the pitch and cadence
of cicadas

* * *

The cicadas’ song--
Both town and forest alike
Echo with its hum

* * *

relentless memories
grumble in my ears

This haiku by Marcie Wessels in San Diego, California, added a new dimension to an audio recording of cicadas by her friend on the East Coast that were “getting louder by the minute.”

cellphone static
the backyard crescendo
of cicadas

Jodie Hawthorne found good places to put tilde punctuation and a 17-year-old cicada in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Marilyn Humbert dined al fresco in Sydney.

Brood X
you know where you belong
~ in a stir fry

* * *

summer evening--
backyard barbie smoking
with sizzling sausages

Santos enjoyed a song that was right on pitch: night heat cicadas hitting the high notes. Murasaki Sagano didn’t sleep long--the summer solstice is June 21. Ashoka Weerakkody felt it was a long night in Columbo, Sri Lanka, after a “shipwreck plunged into this summer solstice scenario with a fierceness our tropical isle had never suffered since the Indian Ocean tsunami 17 years ago.”

Shortest night
soundtrack of a film

* * *

so severe in daytime--
shortest summer night

Weerakkody noted that despite the pathetic local scenes of the ill-fated MV Xpress Pearl washing up acid-burned bodies, turtles and fish, “due to the corona lockdown our children stay at home and study through on-line classroom sessions … hence the kids’ feelings over the shipwreck may not surface for a while.”

palm fringed beach
teachers told to erase off
today’s essay


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear July 2, 16 and 30. You are invited to send a haiku about scary summer stories, the Tokyo Games, or the Paralympics, 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).