Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

French word for snow on the tip of my tongue
--Ian Wiley (Takamatsu, Kagawa)

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won’t it be great when kids
can stick their tongues out
at me again
--Patrick Sweeney (Misawa, Aomori)

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subtle signs
in the snow--
heart-shaped melt
--Andrea Eldridge (Donnelly, Idaho)

* * *

head in the clouds
I try to remember
the poetry prompt
--Karen Harvey (Pwllheli, North Wales)

* * *

maple syrup--
and other things
you can’t make up
--Keith Evetts (Thames Ditton, U.K.)

* * *

sending a submission
my name
--Terrie Jacks (St. Louis, Missouri)

* * *

Strong spring wind--
swinging the clothesline
frantic jeans
--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

into the zen garden
tricycle wheel stuck
--Mary L. Leopkey (Gillies Bay, British Columbia)

* * *

spring soon
the bench at the gate
is painted green
--Serhiy Shpychenko (Kyiv, Ukraine)

* * *

still green
beneath the bark
--C.X. Turner (Birmingham, U.K.)


homesick reed--
a song whose name
I can’t remember
--Pippa Phillips (St. Louis, Missouri)

The haikuist held a name at the tip of her tongue. Yutaka Kitajima composed this haiku based on the three lines of the Ukrainian folk ballad “Koloda-Duda,” which inspired Pete Seeger to end his 1955 hit song with a rhetorical question, “Oh, when will they ever learn?”

Cossack song
“Where are the flowers?”
through the blasts

* * *

Where are the flowers? The girls plucked them
Where are the girls? They’re all married
Where are the men? They’re all in the army

Now in its 27th year of sharing haiku, this column is guided by the great traditions of poetry but also seeks to learn new literary inventions. In this rapidly changing world, contributors are welcome to break new ground and discard old rules where necessary. For example, rather than leaving out something unsaid, the ellipsis at the end of the next line composed by Nicholas Klacsanzky in Kyiv, Ukraine, informed readers to pause and reflect. Which is exactly what Kanematsu did while watching the nightly news from Kyiv Oblast. Tsanka Shishkova paid the piper in Sofia, Bulgaria.

leaving town…
I pay the scarecrow
with a hug

* * *

Hugging kids
in the dark shelter
sounds of bombs

* * *

antique bookstore
a homeless man counts coins
in the violin case

Hearing a robin, Kanematsu said, “it reminded me of my favorite song by Simon and Garfunkel” about an older woman in the 1967 motion picture “The Graduate.” Milorad Ivankovic lives near a river in Vrsac, Serbia.

Spring sunshine
“Mrs. Robinson”
vinyl disc

* * *

sun disc drowned
by the Danube demon of the deep
winter solstice

Herons are usually seen wading in water, but not when it’s frozen, noted Mary L. Leopkey on Texada Island, British Columbia.

twenty below
blue heron hunches
forty metres up

Sweeney might have been wondering about his elementary school records that have been kept hidden away from the light of day under the jurisdiction of a bishop of the Catholic Church. John Zheng sketched a foreboding poem in Greenwood, Mississippi. Isabella Mori remembered screaming winds on Coast Salish Territories, British Columbia.

basement of the archdiocese
my illiteracy
on microfiche

* * *

abandoned church
a web strand hanging
from the ceiling

* * *

squinting at the violent storms
of my childhood

Writing from Hamilton, Ontario, Jennifer Tan seized the day by invoking the Roman god of doorways to face a beginning as well as an end. Kanematsu’s new pet ran around in circles.

memories can regress
Janus sees time left behind
carpe diem for dear life

* * *

Warm winter--
chasing its own tail
a kitten

Milan Rajkumar feared he had lost his head in Imphal, India.

spring fever--
a mandarin duck sleeps
without a head

Joe Sebastian described a common nightingale he saw in Bangalore, India, as plain brown except for its reddish tail.

stripper’s last act
ruffling her red tail,
the nightingale

Climate change is no joke in Bangalore, suggested Daya Bhat on two lines, adding that “it’s unforgivable to hurry the cherry blossoms before they are ready for the show!” Jerome Berglund rushed in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

early cherry blossoms
a welcome too warm

* * *

tacked a calendar
over cracked holes in the wall
afraid made it worse

Christina Chin got wind of a surprise in Kuching, Borneo.

an onion
in the lunchbox
April Fools day

Kanematsu and Leopkey, respectively, are eager to begin coloring this spring.

Seeds and bulbs
in his desk drawers
green-thumbed son

* * *

burying bulbs
as I mourn the fallen fir
bark mulch

Charlie Smith pointed to the first sign of spring in Raleigh, North Carolina. C.X. Turner spotted soft-colored, not screaming bright, lustrous leaves in Birmingham, England.

solitary crocus
sprouts hope

* * *

I look again
for signs of spring
lime green magnolia

Helen Buckingham kept on looking in London. Corine Timmer witnessed time pass in Faro, Portugal. Kanematsu poked fun at himself.

green moon
what it never is
on the other side

* * *

the grooves
in her face

* * *

Not fond of
my mirror image

Wishing she could see real robins in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Masumi Orihara settled for limpid tones on YouTube. In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Hifsa Ashraf vividly imagined autumn. Comforted in her dream, Meghan Elizabeth Jones awoke to a fall fog. Barrie Levine peered through a looking glass in Wenham, Massachusetts.

forest theater
right up to their feathers’ tips
robin’s aria

* * *

fall sky
in full bloom
the Japanese maple

* * *

quiet autumn morning
draped by moist fog
mom’s shawl around me

* * *

amber light
in the syrup jar
autumn sunset

Maid Corbic described a smooth flowing springtime in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

glides over the hand
that maple sweet syrup
taste is exotic

Horst Ludwig passed his time “lying pretty well stuck on my sofa… going through photos of journeys past.” Patricia Hawkhead was lost in thought. Even pets felt stress in Kyiv, Ukraine, according to Nicholas Klacsanzky.

Old Civil War Road
the old Civil War Cemetery
oaks with some last leaves

* * *

winter’s end
her white hair

* * *

adding to
my black pug’s white hair

Natalia Kuznetsova watched birds keel over from alcohol poisoning.

robins savouring
frost-fermented ash berries...
knockdown side effects

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo may have been pricked by a prickly pear in Bombon, Philippines.

i look at cactus
and think of pineapple

Albert Schepers puckered up with a drink in Windsor, Ontario. Robin Rich took a stab at writing a political haiku with veiled meaning in Sussex, England. In Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, T.D. Ginting wrestled with paperwork. The parenthesis on the third line added an associated meaning.

s([h][w])eltering beneath
the sycamore’s shade
sound of lemonade

* * *

lemon faced
blond haired leads
news with tax hike

* * *

Tax form filed--
the pandemic
the lessons that I (l)earned

Haikuists largely live in the moment. Columnists, too, are never really expecting what they write to be remembered for long — so, 27 years after I sent my first fax to the proofer, artist and editor team in Tokyo, it is heartening to know that the Asahi Haikuist Network now reaches so many people around the world.


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear April 15 and 29. Readers are invited to send haiku about nature or human nature 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 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 The International University of Kagoshima, 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: “Teaching and Learning Haiku in English” (2022); “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).