September 2, 2022 at 07:00 JST
dog catching its tail never ending cycle of war
--Elancharan Gunasekaran (Singapore)
* * *
now we pay dearly
--Rosemarie Schuldes (Mattsee, Austria)
* * *
do not be afraid
--Albert Schepers (Windsor, Ontario)
* * *
our hands on the tablecloth
next to the oil bottle
first cold pressed
--Marcellin Dallaire-Beaumont (Brussels, Belgium)
* * *
germinating in the garden
--Francoise Maurice (Draguignan, France)
* * *
a layer of soybean oil
on the chicken curry
--Hifsa Ashraf (Rawalpindi, Pakistan)
* * *
the five-star chef’s
--Hla Yin Mon (Yangon, Myanmar)
* * *
stop staring cow--
I have questions
for you too
--Herb Tate (Jersey, U.K.)
* * *
In the salad bowl
tailfin waving olive oil
flavor of the sea
--Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)
* * *
a gathering dusk
church lamps burning
looted sunflower oil
--Mike Fainzilber (Rehovot, Israel)
FROM THE NOTEBOOK
the ten plagues of Egypt...
we are well on track
--Luciana Moretto (Treviso, Italy)
The haikuist quoted the book of Exodus, which predicted the coming of frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the killing of firstborn children. The biblical story also foretold water would turn to blood. On a hot day in Yachiyo, Chiba, T.D. Ginting observed wallowing livestock, but the verb he truncated in this one-line haiku can also mean to lie drenched in blood: the mud--the pigs (s)welter.
Patrick Sweeney fought off insects at an apple orchard in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture: the retreating army’s bite marks on the waxed fruit.
Jerome Berglund was bothered by a bug in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
fling on instinct didn’t see it,
now I can’t find it
Maid Corbic came under attack in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
bugs are everywhere
in the hot summer session
I need protection
Mark Jabusch followed cicada sounds in Surrey, British Columbia.
Semi calls to us
baffles humid summer heat
cool sounds run with joy
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Sunil Sharma heard a lament for the dead.
Dirge of ocean
lost on land
When Mel Goldberg lived near Flagstaff, Arizona, he often “hiked mountain trails in the chilly mornings, and regularly saw rattlesnakes curled in rocky crevices waiting for the sun to warm them before they could move.”
in a crevice
a rattlesnake awaits the sun
Joel Dias-Porter recovered an old dream from the house where he grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
under the bed
in my childhood room
Marcie Wessels watched two males doing push-ups out her window in San Diego, California, until one of them gave up and ran away.
on the patio
texas spiny lizards
Satoru Kanematsu recalled the smell of scorched earth when he was a little boy living in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, on Aug. 15, 1945.
of burnt soil
Atsuko Tanimura was attracted to beams of sunlight piercing through her garden. On closer inspection, she spotted wormholes in the leaves that were creating miniature halos. The halo effect, called “higasa,” is a large ring of light in the sky, and one has been seen shining above the cenotaph at ground zero in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
a bug-eaten leaf--
Masumi Orihara picked a mint-flavored herb from her organic garden for today’s lunch.
in every shiso leaf…
Kanematsu relentlessly sprayed bugs with insecticide.
nibbling my young plants
Neo said it was so hot in Shenzhen, China, that he had to stop working overtime as a video editor for Tencent. Drought has disrupted the region’s hydropower, and office buildings shut down air conditioning to spare an overextended electrical grid.
cicadas keep company
this is my summer
Drought and warming temperatures increase the reproductive rates of insects. Giant grasshoppers and Mormon crickets ravaged crops in western North America this summer. Their biblical name dates back to the 1800s, when they first ruined the fields of Mormon settlers in Utah. Eva Limbach came to realize that war can find any nation and anyone.
will find us
Kanematsu and his grandson were warmly welcomed at the door of a haunted house attraction held at a religious shrine. The haikuist said that visiting the creepy place made their skin crawl, which helped them to cool down.
at House of Horrors
Adjei Agyei-Baah ran straight home to Kumasi, Ghana.
the helter skelter
Mexico is experiencing a severe drought. Human-caused climate change has altered rainfall patterns, so Jaspe Uriel Martinez kept cool in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo by reading Junichiro Tanizaki’s philosophy behind “In Praise of Shadows.” Written in 1933, the essay explains the aesthetics of traditional Japanese homes. Western homes tend to be designed to make full use of available light, whereas those in Japan try to keep it out, filtering it through a series of blinds and screens until it stops, well short of the center of the building.
Nothing on the table
except summer’s moonlight
and slight shadows
Ashoka Weerakkody keeps a clean kitchen in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
waiting on the pantry table
Juliet Wilson is concerned by an unintended side-effect of the use of huge machines to vacuum olive trees at night while birds are roosting. When the haikuist shops in Edinburgh, Scotland, she looks for brands imported from the Island of Lesbos that promote the traditional hand-picking of olives on dry, sunny days in September.
so many dead birds--
the secret harvest
of olive oil
Angela Giordano noted the silencing of bird cannons and other sound-emitting devices that frighten birds away from crops. Natalia Kuznetsova voiced concern for this year’s harvest in Moscow, Russia.
the cannon silent
over the cornfields--
winds of peace
* * *
a murder of crows
in the unharvested field--
no man’s land
J.D. Nelson flocked to The Village at Lafayette mall in search of a deal on Labor Day.
one hundred pigeons
circle the shopping center--
the end of summer
A.J. Anwar’s poem was inspired by the titular 2019 film depicting the travels of a British journalist to Ukraine to report on starvation in 1933.
her grain stolen even now--
Mr. Jones’ famine
Moretto was inspired by Italian poet Eugenio Montale (1896-1981), winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature, whose verse prayed for a sunflower because he lived in an unforgiving, arid land burned by salt.
summer of war
sunflower oil in short supply
our faith too
Suzuki relived the boiling sun of 1888 in Arles, France, by viewing “The Sunflowers” in a permanent art collection at Sompo Museum of Art in Tokyo.
Oil colors added
to Vincent van Gogh’s sunflowers
the simmering sky
During drought in Tokyo, Murasaki Sagano lives by the maxim “mottainai,” explaining don’t waste, one cup of water is enough! Showing such respect is similar in meaning to the proverb “waste not, want not.”
Olive oil and salt
on cold tofu
Helga Stania noted how life goes on. After months of bitter fighting, the Ukrainian city of Mariupol lies in Russian hands.
a woman plants flowers
Maurice used figurative language to convey biblical blessings of peace and prosperity. The heatwave that baked Provence, France, all summer long prompted trees and bushes to shed their leaves early, creating scenes that appeared autumnal.
hand in hand
the fruits of the fig tree will ripen
in spite of the war
Samo Kreutz haggled over rising oil prices at a market stall in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
those calloused hands
of a Greek huckster
Stania suggested this poetic line: olive oil freshly pressed this day with a hint of bitterness.
Kanematsu cringed at the sounds coming through the wall.
the woman next door
scolds her kids
Married to an Italian, Orihara’s Japanese friend shared her secret of how to keep peace at home.
Peter Leroe-Munoz got used to hearing an Italian phrase meaning “hello beautiful.” Other than saying it’s hot, Kanematsu suggested that nobody had the energy to carry on a conversation. Maurice exclaimed that it was just too hot to translate from French.
olive oil shop
* * *
no other greetings
on the bus
* * *
in my cold beer glass
a bug’s hum
A former farmhand, John Zheng lives in the Mississippi Delta.
a harvest plate
with boiled corn
Yasir Farooq might have reached for a snack at home in Karachi, Pakistan, while reading a story from “The Arabian Nights.”
opened olive bottle
the genie takes me back
to Mount Sinai
Lori Kiefer’s father was from Cyprus, and she said that olive oil was a staple part her family’s diet.
the can of olive oil
pressed from his tree
Leroe-Munoz applied a small amount of moisturizer in Gilroy, California. Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo’s fever was soothed by her grandmother in Bombon, Philippines.
it firms the skin
she says with a dab
* * *
grandma’s gentle touch
on my burning forehead
Capota Daniela Lacramioara found it unbearably hot in Galati, Romania. Dejan Ivanovic opened a tin of tightly packed oily sardines in Lazarevac, Serbia.
roasting in the sun--
in coconut oil
* * *
in vegetable oil
--golden brown waves
Lakshmi Iyer likes the silky feel but not the scent of traditional shampoo in India. Hla Yin Mon admired the hydrating effect of her hair conditioner.
weekend hair wash
burnt smell of coconut
* * *
the Asian’s hair blacker
Kanematsu got a new pet.
An old man
pulled by a poodle
Berglund wrote a line of programming code using a lambda, which looks like a double-colon: to wind up in an abusive relationship with her dog :: a gift. The statement before the punctuation explicitly refers to what he is talking about, and the default name after the punctuation refers to the method he intends to take.
Taofeek Ayeyemi submitted this haiku from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a geographic location that has experienced both drought and flooding: Summer solstice -- a hound dog bites the hunter.
Note how the punctuation on Kanematsu’s second line allowed for an either/or hyperbola in his poetry.
The earth’s sick
Suzuki said he is recovering from heatstroke after falling sick in a room without air conditioning.
through the ward window
Whet your thirst for poetry at http://www.asahi.com/ajw/special/haiku/. The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Sept. 16 and 30. Readers are invited to send haiku about gasoline or oil on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to (email@example.com).
* * *
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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