Shamrock No 34 Haiku from Ireland and
the rest of the world

An international online journal that publishes quality haiku, senryu and haibun in English

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IHS International Haiku Competition 2016 announced!



The Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2016 offers prizes of Euro 150, Euro 50 and Euro 30 for unpublished haiku/senryu in English. In addition there will be up to seven Highly Commended haiku/senryu.

Details and previous winners here:
http://irishhaiku.webs.com/haikucompetition.htm

All the entries shall be postmarked / e-mailed by 30th November 2016.

Good luck to all!











through the railings
of Trinity College
a whiff of wild garlic


weeping ash –
on twig ends
beads of light


Easter morning
a dog goes on barking
at the echo of himself


cloud break –
the oak in a drift of stars


day’s end –
ewe and lamb dragging
their own shadow


April evening –
everywhere settling
the no-sound of snow

-- Hugh O’Donnell (Ireland)




low winter sun
the blindness
of my shadow
 

out of the morning mist
a mountain arrives
after the mail man


empty harbour
i walk through the uneasiness
of gulls


winter moon a pale tide through my window


evening mist
a swan drifts towards
eternity


coastal storm
a wave breaks
over the moon

-- Eamonn T. O’Neill (Ireland)




wetlands
wind sings a lullaby
to a baby frog


submerged village
the only visitor
moonlight


between darkness and light a paper aeroplane


father's ship barometer –
the weather
many storms ago


old goat
climbing into a greater
solitude


New Year’s Day
the bookshelf Buddha
weaves sunbeams

-- Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Ireland)




walled garden
the cat drops into a pool
of shade


camping site
the sun sinking
into pine branches


plum blossom
churning in the breeze
a lark’s song


sandstone gorge
the cliff-face burnished
in sunshine


winter dawn
the filigree of branches
framing pale sky

-- Gavin Austin (Australia)




waking up tipsy
cherry blossoms
in the mist


a rat snake
lying by the kerb –
its persistent grin


dawn on the lake
the distress signals
of a moth


shallow pond
a turtle following
in another's footsteps

-- Ian Willey (USA – Japan)




park bench
the passing shadows
of birds


after the funeral
the world through
grandpa’s glasses


evening light
through the window
into the chardonnay

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)




spring morning calm
a pinwheel spun
by rain


waterslide a beetle in magnolia rain


sap bucket
the spider abandons
a half-finished orb

-- Bill Cooper (USA)




summer dawn –
an empty chrysalis rustles
in the wind


cloudy morning –
the half-closed eyes
of a screech owl


long drought –
a drop of nectar clings
to the hummingbird's beak

-- Theresa A. Cancro (USA)




winter dawn
from all things grey
color’s warmth


wet path
in my shadow
spring fragrance

-- Martin Gottlieb Cohen (USA)




mountain path
meeting the snail
halfway


woodsmoke . . .
the acorn’s long
shadow

-- Mark E. Brager (USA)




yellow moon
a spotted salamander
revels in log rot


cactus thorns
a black snake unknots
its shadow

-- Anna Cates (USA)




midnight marsh
a night heron wades
into the moon


six year drought –
the creek overflows
with emptiness

-- Kevin Valentine (USA)




childhood fields
a bobwhite calling
across the years


boardwalk rain
footprints collecting
under an awning

-- Rick Tarquinio (USA)




also with us
on the mountain
a snail


spring light –
threading the river,
a loon's wail

-- Louisa Howerow (Canada)




frosted dawn
crows spill across
the horizon


shining wind the halt and sway of evergreens

-- Debbie Strange (Canada)




old battlefield
the widespread silence
of molehills


swimming
in moonlight swimming
in the lagoon

-- Jan Dobb (Australia)




winter morning
the white rabbit
vanishes into the snow


learning
the art of dying
chrysanthemums

-- Christina Sng (Singapore)




deep river bend...
the fisherman casts
into a cloud


stir of breezes...
a spider’s thread
arcs in the light

-- Paul Chambers (Wales)




Saturday a.m.
worm workout
on the topsoil


young blackbird
shifting around
sewing wild oats

-- Noel King (Ireland)




orange-tipped
a butterfly’s wing
dips into sunset

-- David Kelly (Ireland)




dawn
the whisper
of a butterfly’s wings

-- Rachel Sutcliffe (England)




my breakfast table
maple syrup sweet-talks
the blueberry pancake

-- Ayaz Daryl Nielsen (USA)




gooseflesh
the passing shadow
of an owl

-- Aron Rothstein (USA)




train whistle…
last feather of the last
passenger pigeon

-- Cyndi Lloyd (USA)




fog
flowing
ice-melt

-- Bob Carlton (USA)




dune she-oaks
mixing sea
and sky

-- Duncan Richardson (Australia)




Aloysia...
the prettiness of
her name grows

-- Anne Curran (New Zealand)




summer rain
the sound shaped
like my tent

-- Bouwe Brouwer (the Netherlands)




insomnia –
the skipping stone
skips forever

-- Rajandeep Garg (India)




morning dew –
rose bush
disrobed

-- Padmini Krishnan (Singapore)








autumn leaf
falls into lake water
the whole tree shaken


since we’ve split up
the hallway mirror preserves
the steam of your breath

-- Nicolae Dabija (Moldova; translated from Romanian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)








Wife and Cat

by Al Ortolani (USA)


There are no curves like the curves of my wife, standing before the mirror on a Friday morning, brushing out her yellow hair. The cat sits on the sink, cool water running from the faucet. He laps at it before it swirls down the drain, quenching his night’s thirst. I rest my hand on the flat of her stomach. I know everything about her. Still, I know nothing but what she lets me see. The cat drops to the carpet, curls on a pile of laundry.

waking to her footsteps,
frost blossoms
melt in morning sun








Let Silence Speak

by Sean O’Connor

A Haiku and haibun Collection

Alba Publishing, P.O. Box 266, Uxbridge,

UB9 5NX, England, 2013

90 pp, ISBN 978-1-910185-30-8

Available from www.albapublishing.com

Priced at Euro 12/USD 14/BP 9.



This is one of the better collections brought out by Alba Publishing that should be commended for their continuous interest in Irish haiku. It introduces to us a haijin who probably doesn’t need an introduction, as he has been around for years. Between 1998 and 2000 Sean O’Connor co-edited Haiku Spirit magazine (with James Norton). His haiku appeared there, in Blithe Spirit and in Shamrock, as well as in The New Haiku, Zen Poems and Bamboo Dreams anthologies. He has published a joint collection of haiku, Pilgrim Foxes (2001), with Jim Norton and Ken Jones. This is his first solo collection that brings together 134 of his haiku and three haibun, with an introduction by James Norton.

The material is presented in small sections, with haiku interspersed with haibun; some have a geographical topic, e.g. Pennsylvania, New York, Bucharest, Japan, Dublin, Rural Ireland, the Burren; some others have titles like People, Earthquakes, the Edge, Zen. One of the sections has to do with Sean O’Connor’s profession, as he used to work as a psychiatric nurse – and also to play Irish music, the latter is the path he is following these days.

There is plenty to love in this book: Sean O’Connor’s best haiku are pleasure to read and reflect on.


in this late night
a fallen silver beech
almost azure


A well-travelled Dubliner who still resides in Ireland (how many of those would you find only fifty years ago?), he gives us his account of what he has seen or experienced in various countries. E.g. in Japan:


cold morning
the bamboo grove
groaning


or in Romania:


Bucharest
a cat sniffs
a bullet hole



or in Ireland:


Bull Island fog
hearing the fog horn’s
absence


His observations are always concise and refined.


white plum tree
its blossoms
touching stars


Sean O’Connor has a particular liking for nature and a keen eye for its peculiarities, which every haiku practitioner never fails to record, sometimes in his mind, and collect.


mountain thunder
silencing
a thousand cicadas


The poet is equally masterful when he writes senryu:


her dementia…
every day she meets me
for the first time


Of his haibun, the best is the one called Mary; it takes the reader through the whole range of emotions that come with another person’s dying. The only minor fault with this nearly perfect piece is that two words, ‘breath’ and lamb’, are present in both the prosaic part and haiku, which shouldn’t be the case.


Another haibun titled Bow has been written in memoriam and is homage to the late and sadly missed Welsh haiku poet Ken Jones. Yet another one, A Huge Firework, is a long memoir-like piece, a melancholic story interspersed with haiku. I’ve seen plenty of long haibun, some of them convincing, like this one, some others less so. The question is, how long should be a perfect haibun? Of course, this is debatable, and I don’t know the answer to that. I wonder if anybody does… 


Of course, a haibun still has to be poetic prose mixed with haiku, and Sean O’Connor delivers exactly that. Some other writers’ recent attempts to insert haiku in pieces written like newspaper articles and pass them for haibun are utterly regrettable: take poetry out of haibun – and it ceases to be a haibun.

This collection comes highly recommended and will be a welcome addition to anyone’s haiku library.


Anatoly Kudryavitsky


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