May 6, 2022 at 07:30 JST
war--in the fields first green shoots
--Helga Stania (Ettiswil, Switzerland)
* * *
the syncopated greens
in a reed basket
--Lorraine A. Padden (San Diego, California)
* * *
damp leaf litter
sunlight on the furl
of a fiddlehead fern
--Marcie Wessels (San Diego, California)
* * *
mom places a bit of spring
on my plate
--Mona Bedi (Delhi, India)
* * *
ruminating on life
--Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo (Bombon, Philippines)
* * *
first green tomato
--Roberta Beach Jacobson (Indianola, Iowa)
* * *
a walk in the field
first asparagus in hand
waking up the snakes
--Ljiljana Dobra (Sibenik, Croatia)
* * *
a horse rolls
in the green meadow
the earth turns
--Mike Gallagher (Ballyduff, County Kerry, Ireland)
* * *
kelp forests sway
to the current’s tune
--Angi Holden (Cheshire, England)
* * *
in dripping rain
posing for the camera
--John S. Gilbertson (Greenville, South Carolina)
FROM THE NOTEBOOK
my butoh face
dances with Jizo
--Sanae Kagawa (Tokyo)
The haikuist warmly smiled and donned the facial expression of stone Buddha with fuzzy-focused eyes sitting in a flowering field. In the very next moment the solo dance performer relaxed her toes, feet, and legs.
of my butoh dance
Disheartened by a drier-than-usual Buddhist New Year water festival because of political unrest in Yangon, Myanmar, Hla Yin Mon said she kept tabs instead on peaceful cherry blossom events in Japan. She wrote a haiku while vicariously viewing online videos of the pink archway formed by rows of trees along a meandering river that empties into Tokyo Bay. For the first time since the pandemic began, Xenia Tran was able to take a leisurely boat trip around Loch Ness, Scotland.
the Meguro river
* * *
Ian Willey, an English teacher at Kagawa University, awoke listening to the four-notes opening motif of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.
a bird channeling
Matsuo Basho recorded the first movements of grasshoppers, frogs, and birds, as well as the budding, coloring, and falling of leaves. Borrowing a line from the tragic Noh play about the warrior “Sanemori” by Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443), the master poet penned in 1689: muzan ya na kabuto no shita no kirigirisu.
trapped by a helmet--
Writing from Kerala, India, Lakshmi Iyer would have liked to pose a question to the master poet.
Dejan Ivanovic prefers the way things used to move around in Lazarevac, Serbia. Anna Goluba checked on a little neighbor in Warsaw, Poland, whom she mentioned in the April 29, 2016 issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network: From among green blades Its stubborn stare... Grasshopper.
the way green grasshoppers
used to hop
* * *
Still hidden under green blades
Devoshruti Mandal lifted up a huge heart-shaped leaf in Varanasi, India. Pat Davis found acorns in Deerfield, New Hampshire.
under elephant ear leaves
* * *
the squirrel's stash
no longer secret
Stephen J. DeGuire uncovered a petrified forest at Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
perfectly pressed leaf;
save the green
Scientists, naturalists, gardeners, as well as members of the Royal Meteorological Society have kept track of the changes in plants and flowering patterns for more than 200 years using a database known as Nature's Calendar. Observing his lawn, Alan Summers noted, “Although robins are a Christmas symbol in the UK, I was seeing even more robins as winter was moving into spring.”
the white noise of winter
fades to spring
American haikuist Lafcadio and Croatian Slobodan Pupovac, respectively, spent the better part of a long spring day watching livestock graze.
in the green grass
waiting to be gathered
* * *
how the grass disappears
in the cow's mouth
Readers may wonder what Eric Kimura ate yesterday evening on Lanikai Beach, Hawaii.
The pan remembers
Last night’s dinner and reminds
My nose this morning
Since last spring, climatologists at the Japan Meteorological Agency refreshed the way they have been phenologically observing animals and plants. Collected data gauges how fast seasons change and measures the cultural significance of shifts in the four seasons including how climate change affects ecosystems. Satoru Kanematsu likes the idea of rewilding his lawn and backyard so that native bees can pollinate the dandelions and wisteria.
No Mow May
weeds in full bloom
* * *
fuji in full bloom
While weeding her garden, Masumi Orihara said she couldn’t stop thinking about the “buzz of attacking planes in the Ukraine.”
nothing, but honey
the buzz overhead searching
As Mother’s Day approached, Giuliana Ravaglia penned this haiku to express the passing of time in Bologna.
leaf in the wind ....
sound of the shadow
In an essay referred to as his idle thoughts on literature Shiki (1893) questioned why the Japanese people were inspired to write short poems, “Japanese and Chinese poems are mainly about nature. European and American poems are mainly about human affairs.” he claimed, reasoning, “Because poems describing nature are simple and pure, they tend to be short. Because human affairs are complicated and confusing, poems about them tend to be long.”
This pithy haiku by Teiichi Suzuki in Osaka was influenced by Basho and the Chinese poet Chuang Tzu (369BC – 286BC). Kanematsu visited Nagoya’s Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
on the broken helmet
* * *
Long spring day--
an old gorilla
deep in thought
Vincenzo Adamo took cover in Trapani, Sicily.
inside the shelter
a sparrow follows me--
trembles on my shoulders
Janice Bostock (1942-2011) exemplified how the light of nature can guide humans during difficult times on the final three lines of this tanka which began “white heron / returned from feeding grounds.”
lightens the darkening sky
of my homeward journey
Read haiku by the light of fireflies at http://www.asahi.com/ajw/special/haiku/. The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears May 20. Readers are invited to send haiku about postage stamps, on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
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).
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