Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

wheat field and white sky finishing each other’s sentences

--Pippa Phillips (St. Louis, Missouri)

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reaping rice--
my first haiku translated
into Japanese
--Mirela Brailean (Iasi, Romania)

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snipping straw
from the old scarecrow
the farm crow
--H. Yin Mon (Yangon, Myanmar)

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morning breeze--
sunlight ripples across
a field of wheat
--Paul Callus (Safi, Malta)

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the harvest wind weaves
through the wheat stalks
--Hifsa Ashraf (Rawalpindi, Pakistan)

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rippling wheat
a vixen’s tail
in the moonlight
--Xenia Tran (Nairn, Scotland)

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crescent moon
the curved sickle
of scorpion’s tail
--Adjei Agyei-Baah (Kumasi, Ghana)

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a monk observes
a scarecrow’s stillness
--Padraig O’Morain (Dublin, Ireland)

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gleaning the paddy field
I wonder who will keep
scarecrow company
--Christina Chin (Kuching, Malaysia)

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Groping my way through darkness
I find myself trapped
in a spider’s web
--Zamantha Collin Segismar (Misamis Oriental, Philippines)


the scarecrow
pops a button
autumn rain
--Tom Bierovic (DeLand, Florida)

The haikuist had hoped to eat to his heart’s content, but autumn rains ruined his crops and swelled the strawman. Sara P. Dias sewed a pair of buttons onto a scarecrow’s face in Cape Town, South Africa. Ram Chandran noticed a stocky-looking farmworker in Madurai, India.

Straw hands wave lazily,
button gaze fixed on the sky
Kids in the strawberries

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with new hay

Satoru Kanematsu’s scarecrow did little more than attract crows to a cornucopia of fresh foods in Nagoya. Karen Harvey’s granddad charmed fauna in Pwllheli, North Wales. Aljosa Vukovic gave away his slim-fitting duds in Sibenik, Croatia.

Crows enjoyed
the first crop of corn
son’s scarecrow

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the robin’s nest
under granddad’s old hat

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Armani suit
enchanted a starling

In Thames Ditton, England, Keith Evetts realizes that bird-scarers are ineffective, yet he rhetorically questioned on one line: scarecrow will you save the blackness.

Harvey’s strawman lent-out his clothes at dusk when nighttime temperatures dipped in Pwllheli, North Wales.

who’s wearing
Worzel Gummidge’s old togs
a homeless man

Hidehito Yasui tried to hide under a white panama hat in Osaka. Tsanka Shishkova’s moonlit chaperone wore a dapper Italian fedora.

A red dragonfly
perched on the brim of my cap
eye to eye contact

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with a Borsalino hat
harvest moon

Sanae Kagaya has heard that the streets of Ginza are paved with gold, but he was surprised to learn some buildings are topped with golden sheaves of rice.

on a golden rice-field
shopping in Tokyo

Arvinder Kaur kept her distance in Chandigarh, India. Marie Derley said she loves the cornfields in Ath, Belgium.

arm’s length--
he leads by the example
of a scarecrow

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peeing in the field
the scarecrow sees
the corncobs moving

Driving along a country road in San Gemini, Italy, Daniela Misso said she “bumped into a very weird scarecrow.”

a scarecrow
seems to stumble...
pumpkin field

Rosemarie Schuldes lost her way in a cornfield in Mattsee, Austria, and didn’t add a third line to her haiku. Angela Giordano got lost in a man’s eyes in Avigliano, Italy.

maize maze
I lost my thread

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rice harvest...
specks of gold in the farmer’s eyes

Wieslaw Karlinski became a gentleman farmer in Namyslow, Poland. Mirela Brailean’s interlocutor swirled back and forth in Iasi, Romania.

Return after years
in an air-conditioned car
the fresh scent of hay

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rippling wheat--
the way she chooses to tell me
about pregnancy

Hifsa Ashraf watched aerial acrobats in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Teiichi Suzuki pitied the poor farmers who couldn’t harvest their crops before heavy rains. In his haiku, sparrows are a metaphor for farmers. Sparrows are crop pests in Melbourne, Australia, where Nani Mariani penned her poem. Kanematsu welcomed an endangered species to gather up leftover grain from a pesticide-free cropped rice paddy crawling with green frogs, spiders, grasshoppers and mantises.

harvest day
cut through the wheat stalks
a flock of sparrows

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A cloudburst
submerges rice fields
stray sparrows

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from out of nowhere
harvest season

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Storks gleaning
from harvested fields
blessed autumn

Evetts claimed that he was “confident there were no such things as ghosts,” but admitted that he “had a moment of shock alone on a hot county road at nightfall.” Karen Harvey’s haiku evokes the 16th-century witch craze. Vandana Parashar mulled a tall tale about beetles creeping around Panchkula, India.

summer thunder
by the road at twilight
rain wraiths

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stubble burns
all around the scarecrow
playing with matches

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summer field
my brother says glowworms
are witches

A haikuist from Alabama, Laughing waters conjures up a glowing ruby ring. It would perfectly match the ruby slippers worn by the Wicked Witch of the East in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

midnight breeze
ruby on her finger gets bigger

Perhaps getting ready for Halloween this weekend, Kanematsu referred to the dance of the dead. Kagaya spotted a bewitching Japanese flower growing on a streambank. She is a Butoh performer, whose ghost-like white make-up in the “dance of the dead” symbolizes reanimation.

moths danse macabre
in full swing

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toad lily’s
polka-dots dance
with raindrops

Mona Bedi perceived a faint refraction of light through a pending rainfall in Delhi, India. Mario Massimo Zontini sketched a pastoral view of Parma, Italy. Roberta Beach Jacobson tried her hand at ekphrasis, the art of writing poetry about famous paintings. Henryk Czempiel cut a flower to put behind his ear in Strzelce Opolskie, Poland.

returning from the fields
the women sing

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in the fields
farmers and egrets
reap ripe rice

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his wheat fields
offering comfort
van Gogh

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a weed
among the ears of wheat
vivid red poppy

Note how Marilyn Humbert varied the rhythm for two haiku moments in Sydney, Australia: a leisurely rise and fall of voices amid growing golden waves of grain, and a pithy exhilarating push after it was cut.

gusty day…
the conversations
of ripening wheat

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the rush
wheat grains
into the silo

J.L. Huffman looks forward to a slice of oatmeal bread in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

wave in the wind
beckon the baker

Yutaka Kitajima imagined the methodical life of a farmer from the distant past in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. Murasaki Sagano observed a farmer in a field praying to a stone statue; a jizo is the guardian deity of children. Robin Rich created the rhythmic sound of a grain thresher. Pitt Buerken gazed serenely all night long in Munster, Germany.

In prayer
honed saw-edged sickle
peasant rice

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Rice reaper
offering some lunch
to a jizo

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shhh shhh shhh
the farmer sleeps
night before harvest

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late summer night
contentedly the moon looks
at rippling wheat fields

Ken Sawitri’s family enjoyed an evening meal at a one-star rated outdoor place in Blora, Indonesia. In London, Brandon Broll questioned a metaphor that was coined in a monologue penned in 1855 by Robert Browning in the poem “Andrea del Sarto.”

al fresco dining
like it was a star
my daughter picks up her last rice grain

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You say less is more
Shall I venerate you too
With a grain of rice?

Alan Peat composed two haiku and reported from Biddulph, England, that “the weather has been pretty grim … but when the sun is out and the wind gets up the wheat fields certainly are a fine sight.”

rippling wheat--
over the golden sea
a fly

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waves of wheat--
on the seabed
harvest mice

Driving along a greenway in Raleigh, North Carolina, Charlie Smith remarked how Japanese arrowroot vines had taken over. Vasile Moldovan paid tribute to ancestry in Bucharest, Romania. Having watched the Summer Games from Peshawar, Pakistan, Azim Khan saluted the Olympians.

royal purple
vast roadside reign
kudzu flowers

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emblem of nobility
of the ancient castle
a sheaf of wheat ears

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Japanese judoka
nine shining golds

Vukovic was attracted to golden waves. Kaur reminded readers that the “wheat harvest is also a time for the lovers to indulge in each other.”

rippling wheat--
I run my hand
through your hair

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wheat stalks
basking in the glow
of her complexion

Czempiel said he has enjoyed every day this autumn simply watching this scene unfold in a field near his home: rippling wheat the land glides beneath the cloud cover.

Haiku usually refer to the moment in which they are composed. Mike Montreuil wrote to say that he tried “a small experiment.” He’s anchored his haiku moment in the season of red leaves and forecasted that in two months plenty of snow will fall in Ottawa, Ontario. Kanematsu’s haiku moment deftly included a current season word by mentioning its harvest one year ago.

October colours
a white Christmas will descend

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Grandson’s gift
acorns on my desk
since last fall


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Nov. 5 and 19. Readers are invited to send haiku about an island vacation or winter seclusion on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by 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).