ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK / David McMurray

a postcard from relatives in America – with an Italian postage stamp
–Angela Giordano (Avigliano, Italy)

* * *

the end
to our relationship…
her postage stamp with a rose
–Charlotte Digregorio (Winnetka, Illinois)

* * *

Dear John letter–
she chose the stamp with
his childhood hero
–Eva Limbach (Spain)

* * *

farewell letter
the extra buffer
for luck
–Keith Evetts (Thames Ditton, England)

* * *

back lick
of a postage stamp
queen’s blushes
–John Hawkhead (Bradford on Avon, UK)

* * *

letter today
Takuboku Stamp
comforting
–John S. Gilbertson (Greenville, SC)

* * *

black metal curves
enchanting triangular stamps
I knew I would travel
–Sheila Riley (Alameda, CA)

* * *

under a golden ribbon
some old stamped envelopes
in the father’s office
–Francoise Maurice (Draguignan, France)

* * *

Get away from the cave
as small as a postage stamp…
a salamander
–Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)

* * *

first visits of the bees
to a lot the size of a postage stamp…
the newly built house
–Masumi Orihara (Atsugi, Kanagawa)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK
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perforations…
stamp on a pink envelope
torn lover
–Ashoka Weerakkody (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

The haikuist’s mail delivery was upended by tumultuous protests. JD Nelson listened to the sound waves of Lafayette, Colorado.

crickets at the pond
the last night of July–
radio towers

Satoru Kanematsu felt weary after the former prime minister was shot while delivering a speech in Nara on July 8. Frederick Kesner was at Osaka International Airport when he heard about Shinzo Abe’s murder. Tsanka Shishkova fell silent in Sofia, Bulgaria, mourning the loss of Japan’s longest-serving post-war prime minister. Former Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru (1878-1967) was commemorated on a postage stamp 30 years after his death.

Campaign Speech —
a downcast statesman
midday heat

* * *

The summer streets are simmering
Words raised, shots fired, then silence
the cloud of smoke dissipates

* * *

voiceless
murder in nara
big tears

Lee Nash texted before boarding a train in Poitou-Charentes, France. Gordana Vlasic snapped in Oroslavje, Croatia.

scroll
for the older woman femoji
deck breeze

* * *

instead of emoji
I sent my boyfriend
sunset

Writing from Menlo Park, California, Miera Rao inserted a negation on each line of her haiku to express the positives of a postage stamp.

No color divides
borderless rectangles
Visa not required

Giordano hesitated to post this denial: in the drawer the postcard that I never sent you.

Elisabeth Guichard shared good news from Lyon, France.

Summer report–
postcards only bring
good news

Charlie Smith wrote this haiku on a postcard with a “USA Forever” stamp depicting cherry blossoms on the grounds of the United States Capitol.

100 yen stamp
a faded postcard
vivid memories

Kath Abela Wilson drooled over the 45-cent “Cherry Blossoms Forever” postage stamp on its first issue in Pasadena, Calif., noting that stamp collecting “was the first time I fell in love!”

quiet little boy
who collects stamps
my first novel

Robin Rich posted a letter from Brighton, England. Murasaki Sagano took her time updating the addresses of her acquaintances and tying some strings around all the midsummer greeting cards she gratefully received in Tokyo. Kanematsu corresponded with haiku friends in Australia.

second class stamp
Why
hurry up love

* * *

time passes
group postcards–
summer camellias

* * *

In the middle of summer–
winter greetings
from Hobart

Craving a crime thriller in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, Patrick Sweeney rewatched a movie starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. With tears in his eyes, Suzuki rewatched the final scene of a 1970 Italian drama starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni filmed in a field of sunflowers near Poltava, Ukraine.

Charade
when honest M. Félix says:
“For a few minutes they were mine.”

* * *

No old stamps–
in the movie “Sunflower”
Sophia Loren’s Tears

Yutaka Kitajima peered through a magnifying glass in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture.

Through a magnifying glass
philatelic finds
enigma

Paula Sears may well have waited in line behind a neighbor she knew in Exeter, New Hampshire. The talented haikuist, however, was referring to an adhesive postage stamp worth a penny in 1840 which depicted Queen Victoria’s profile against a black background.

first in line
at the post office
Penny Black

Samo Kreutz listened carefully to a message delivered in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Stuck in a medical office, Mona Bedi learned to escape from Delhi, India. Going through her stamp albums, Anna Goluba said she could “let everything else go for a while” in Warsaw, Poland.

arrived safely
without any postage stamps–
the song of the troglodyte

* * *

confinement
I travel the world
with the clouds

* * *

Once upon a time
I collected stamps in a world
Without wars

Elancharan Gunasekaran prayed in Singapore. Natalia Kuznetsova observed a minute’s silence in Moscow.

the silence
at the war memorial
we fought for this peace

* * *

starry silence
embrace the troubled world
ceasefire respite

Pat Geyer received a card with the image of a duck in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

postcard in the mail…
I watch the spatula wade
‘cross postage stamp

Gordana Vlasic used an online service to track a package shipped from Oroslavje, Croatia.

good news!
travel postage stamp
to Poland

CX Turner inspected postmarks in Birmingham, England.

emotionally
timestamped
her love letters

In Rzeszow, Poland, Amin Jack Pedziwiater reset computer server settings.

sort my inbox
by mail system properties
encrypted postage stamps

Kristina Todorova expressed her gratitude in Sofia, Bulgaria.

still alive
the rose on the postage stamp
love letters from my parents

Stephen J. DeGuire admired a greeting card covered in bright pink carnations in Los Angeles. Luciana Moretto bought a colorful book of 10 stamps in Treviso, Italy.

free of shipping
when drawn in pencil–
Mothers’ Day

* * *

nice day
a set of floral stamps
I miss the garden

Elena Malec hosted a rainbow of shades in Irvine, CA.

lipstick kisses
postcard stamp
collection

Alan Peat gave up stamp collecting but not unrequited love in Biddulph, UK.

breaking cloud
the old stamp album
full of gaps

* * *

letter
to a lost love
I lick the back of the stamp

Priti Khullar held on, perhaps torn with sadness, in Noida, India.

first love–
old stamp
torn but not lost

Posting a letter from the island of Vis in Croatia, Zeljko Vojkovic dispelled the adage: sealed with a lick because a kiss wouldn’t stick.

love letter
the postage stamp is pasted
with a kiss

Chittaluri Satyanarayana shared this maxim from Hyderabad, India.

sticky pin
the poor man’s glue for
postage stamp

In these two haiku moments from Evetts, he tried to convey feelings that would become universal truths for the reader. The first sounds like a proverb, a fleeting thought. The second managed to capture the essence of a real experience.

postage stamp
the things we appreciate more
when used

* * *

his collection of stamps…
the distant gaze
in his eyes

Vessislava Savova peeked on her doorstep in Sofia, Bulgaria.

whisper in the street
a postage stamp on the back
of the postman

Writing from Tokyo, Kiyoshi Fukuzawa wonders if he can still use his 20 yen stamps dated 1973. Laughing waters, a poet from Sylacauga, Alabama, heads for the beach.

Pile of old postage stamps–
unknowns that are still valid
all date palms

* * *

coastal sunrise–
lazy waves of tourists
smothered in oil

Natalia Kuznetsova recalled stories of her father’s adventures away from home in Moscow.

dad’s stamp collection…
my first guided tours
around the world

Zdenka Mlinar’s father may well have been Hrvatska’s last philatelist. Every night before bed, Bedi admires small pieces of history.

Museum Night
father postage stamps
family pride

* * *

precious heritage–
dad stamp collection
on my bedside table

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The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear on August 5 and 19. You are invited to send a haiku related to insects or beasts on a postcard to David McMurray at Kagoshima International University, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail at ( [email protected]).

* * *

David McMurray has been writing the Asahi Haikuist Network column since April 1995, first for Asahi Evening News. He is a member of the editorial board of Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, a columnist for the Haiku International Association, and editor of Teaching Assistance, a column in The Language Teacher of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT).

McMurray is a professor of cross-cultural studies at Kagoshima International University where he lectures on international haiku. At the Doctoral School, he supervises students doing research on haiku. He is a corresponding school teacher of haiku in English for the Asahi Cultural Center in Tokyo.

McMurray judges haiku competitions organized by Kagoshima International University, Ito En Oi Ocha, Asahi Cultural 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); “A Single Haiku Tree, Music and Metaphor” (2015); “Canada Project Collected Essays & Poems” Vols. 1-8 (2013); and “Haiku in English as a Japanese Language” (2003).


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