Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

in the midst of war a raptor’s lone call
--Eva Limbach (Saarbrucken, Germany)

* * *

a solitary kestrel
hovers in the sky of spring--
panic underground
--Mario Massimo Zontini (Parma, Italy)

* * *

a lost ant
hunting for a way out
of the sugar mound
--Daya Bhat (Bangalore, India)

* * *

the pitcher plant
trapping insects
in plum rain
--Christina Chin (Kuching, Borneo)

* * *

Bomb craters
slowly filling
with wildflowers
--Mike Fainzilber (Rehovot, Israel)

* * *

war memorial
a toddler sings
the ABC song
--Pearl Pirie (Wakefield, Quebec)

* * *

she still folds napkins
into linen swans
in that Chinese restaurant
--Padraig O’Morain (Dublin, Ireland)

* * *

hidden in your palm
the line of life--
thousand paper cranes
--Florin Golban (Bucharest, Romania)

* * *

contour map
lines so close
we almost touched
--Lee Nash (Poitou-Charentes, France)

* * *

another madman
shifting the lines on a map
to his liking
--Mike Gallagher (Ballyduff, Ireland)


mother remembers
the day Guernica came
to her city
--Ed Bremson (Raleigh, North Carolina)

The haikuist described a literally and figuratively true event. Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) painting protested aerial bombing of the titular civilian town in the Spanish Civil War. First seen during a brief world tour in 1939, the powerful anti-war artwork came to the author’s mind again when his mom’s hometown of New York City was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Elancharan Gunasekaran folded paper prayers in memory of Aug. 6, 1945, when the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped. Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo spent her day in Bombon, Philippines, praying that she would never see a cloud of dust and debris formed by a nuclear explosion.

hiroshima summer
paper cranes
melt into river

* * *

mushroom cloud
turning days
into long nights

Marcie Wessels wrote this one-line haiku in San Diego, California, to voice her concern about Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine: air raid siren their home a bomb shelter.

Satoru Kanematsu’s hometown of Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, was bombed in 1945. When he watched fireworks this summer, he was reminded that similar horrors must be taking place in the distant west. Masumi Orihara compared people who hide their anger to unexploded bombs which could suddenly blow up.

Fireworks flash--
fear of the air raid
as a boy

* * *

blind gunnery shell
hidden in each family
approaching thunder

Aki Yoshida vented his anger while dark towering thunderheads billowed over Sapporo.

No Gun Violence!
a cumulonimbus cloud
raises its fist

Ricky Kesner made it through a night in Tokyo.

obscure sorrow’s silence
brought forth into light
night eventually dawns

Time healed Patrick Sweeney in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.

finished grieving
the weeping plum’s
pale green leaves

Nani Mariani wrote this line of relief in Melbourne: again the dawn is warm and she’s still there.

The haikuist petro c.k. reported from Seattle, Washington. Marta Chocilowska heard the news in Warsaw, Poland.

distant explosions--
trying to hide her concern
the war reporter

* * *

town under siege
the war newsman reports
that birds sing again

Angela Giordano might have made a wish while singing a nursery rhyme, “Ladybird, ladybird fly away home!”

refugee camp--
over the barbed wire
the cocciella

Mirela Brailean’s third line alluded to the death of a child and psychological trauma.

after the bombing
mom screaming among the ruins
a broken doll

Joanne van Helvoort revealed this “was my question when I was young” in the Netherlands.

my son asks me how far it is
to the war

Terrie Jacks’s rhyme reverberated a question from Ballwin, Montana.

upon the grave
flowers tossed
a mother’s sigh why?

Referring to the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa, Jessica Allyson wrote a Latin phrase on her third line that means, “who stands to gain?”

wars of words waged
beneath the Peace Tower...
cui bono?

It was so hot in Treviso, Italy, that Luciana Moretto uttered the religious desire to leave the earthly life to join Christ in heaven. Her third line is a Latin biblical phrase from Philippians 1:23-4 that literally means “I wish to be dissolved.”

gloomy aura
“cupio dissolve”

Isabella Kramer recalled a perfumed night in Nienhagen, Germany.

the scent of wild jasmine
on your naked skin
midsummer night--

Again and again Yutaka Kitajima deadheaded flowers to keep them from going to seed in stifling hot Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. Kanematsu watched funeral flowers lose their spiral in the rain.

bloom in relays for

* * *

much too fragrant for
dear friend’s wake

Fainzilber watched lights turn on. Kramer overheard undertones of impish impoliteness. Constant complaining bent Kanematsu’s ears.

Soft rain
filling the shelter

* * *

midsummer night
behind fireflies’ dance
cheeky whisper of goblins

* * *

Farmers sigh:
swans in the rice field
white nuisance

Marie Derley composed this haiku in a “gassho-zukuri” house at the World Cultural Heritage site in the village of Ainokura, Toyama Prefecture.

toads in heat
the rice fields reveal
only their cries

Luciana Moretto planned a road trip after she read the startling news that archaeologists unearthed a land tortoise buried with its egg by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

summer solstice
excavations of Pompeii...
tortoise to nowhere

Pippa Phillips figuratively got lost at a turn in St. Louis, Missouri.

roadside verge
branching off
into a daydream

Gallagher protested aerial bombing. Francoise Maurice silently protested in Draguignan, France.

watching their profits soar
weapon makers

* * *

war crimes
listening to the silence
of the trees

Written with a specific focus and devoid of flowery expression, Roberta Beach Jacobson shared a minimalist poem from Indianola, Iowa. It resembles Lynne Truss’s book title about a panda who “Eats, Shoots & Leaves.” Aghast, O’Morain recoiled. Carl Brennan apprised readers of today’s menu in New York, New York.

twigs shrubs
zebra’s diet

* * *

after all the bending
a green shoot
also, a slug

* * *

My young cat dining
al fresco on dragonfly--
earthly Paradise

Kanematsu thundered “plastic waste pollution is a big problem!” His haiku warns that microplastics in the sea are putting hundreds of species at risk of becoming extinct.

plastic dinosaurs
thunder crash

Ashoka Weerakkody composed this poem when Sri Lanka’s president fled, but later submitted his resignation.

rain clouds
restless as the sun staggers
a day not quite done

Horst Ludwig, whose mother once helped him “run from the approaching Soviet army… so we still could get further west” rolled his wheelchair to a sunny spot on the Pacific Ocean and watched a container ship rise from beyond the horizon.

All great heroes
in life-threatening fights long for
nothing going on...

Anna Goluba has found a way to maintain her spiritual balance in Warsaw, Poland.

War, first time so close…
I memorize
Another poem

Sweeney prepared for the return of spirits and souls of loved ones when festivals commemorating dead ancestors are held from Aug. 13 to 15.

first Obon
on K’s lantern
I float a picture of Gina Lollobrigida

Lilia Racheva floated a peace offering from Rousse, Bulgaria. Ken Sawitri watched translucent, bell-shaped jellyfish float in Blora, Indonesia.

summer wind
a dove feather
on a paper boat

* * *

moon jelly
a prayer to end the war beating
the boneless sky

Margaret Coats shared her most recent haiku from California. An avid poet, she is currently judging an online competition for the Society of Classical Poets, which gloriously promotes rhyming, rhythmic and rapturous verse. She fondly recalls spending “four and a half beautiful years in Kyoto.”

See the shoreline quake,
heat waves rippling sand and sea…
A moment’s mirage


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear on Sept. 2, 16, and 30. Readers are invited to send haiku related to oil, oceans, or Oceania, 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 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).