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Haiku Journal of the Irish Haiku Society

                 Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world       


Focus on


through the night forest –
moon hanging
on a tree-top

rain-lashed field
rapid streamlets make the soil

river flow
a hungry dog caught
the moon in the waves

dense undergrowth
a streamlet has lost
its way

towards the mosque
or into the blooming garden?
a crossroad

-- Kujtim Agalliu (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

autumn leaves
in the wind
their last dance

-- Kujtim Agalliu (transl. by the author)

cold moon in the pond
a raven rests in a
riverbank willow

-- Dritëro Agolli (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a gadfly
on the horse’s tail
a slap on the face

-- Nexhip Bashllari (transl. by Majlinda Bashllari)

early in the morning
a bird and the sun
on the same branch, playing

-- Konstandin Dhamo (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

fallen leaves extinguish
the fire in the water

-- Nexhip Ejupi (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a procession of ants
in the morning –
the way of the grain

-- Muharrem Gazioni (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

ant on the leaf –
of flight

three sunny days with you
how strong
the light of your eyes!

first day of the year –
dog-chew bones
go to the rubbish bin

dress lifted
the wind reveals
a girl’s birthmark

two candles
burning their shadows
burning silence

fog –
the shining of
orange pips

-- Millianov Kallupi (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

watching Mount Fuji,
cool and icy –
its heart burns inside

-- Betim Muço (transl. by Shyqri Nimani)

O volcano Aso,
lend me your mouth, so I
say two words to the world!

counting camellia petals
in the wind –
forgetting my age

-- Betim Muço (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

she spreads her wings
in a fierce claw attack,
this eagle of the cliffs

in Hiroshima,
Misasa river reflects
Sadako-san’s cranes!

-- Shyqri Nimani (transl. by the author)

kingdom of night
full moon outlines
a couple’s silhouettes

-- Shyqri Nimani (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a sheet on the roof
this rainy night –
somebody sings in Chinese

-- Ymer Nurka (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

apples falling from the branch –
the wind editing
autumn trees

-- Anton Papleka (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

what a beautiful bird!
hunter, blind
and speechless

-- Ali Podrimja (transl. by the author)

a parrot –
speaks in Albanian
and opens the cage door

an elderly couple
throw an old bed to the skip
both silent

-- Petraq Risto (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a lonely glow-worm
the darkness

-- Leidi Shquipanja (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

even the lake flowers
memories of spring

-- Xhevahir Spahiu (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

autumn leaf
letter remains unopened
since the first chilly day

-- Iliriana Sulkuqi (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

the dead of night –
in the owl’s eyes
the coming of a dream

in your window,
the hunger of a bird

lime blossoms –
this May’s
fragrant dreams

-- Elisabeta Tafa (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

this tree…
its eye has
grain-shaped tears

-- Moikom Zeqo (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)


"Orange Japanese Flowers" by Alush Shima

"Orange Japanese Flowers" by Alush Shima (Albania)



The History of Haiku in Albania


by Shykri Nimani



Haiku first came to Albanian readers as translations from Japanese. In late 1960s I, then a student at the Academy of Arts, was sitting in the American Cultural and Information Centre and reading Life magazine, where I found some classical Japanese haiku translated into English by H. G. Henderson. Much impressed, I started translating haiku into Albanian, and some of my translations were subsequently published in the Albanian magazine called Zëri i Rinisë (The Voice of Youth). In 1970, I published an illustrated book titled Japanese Haiku (it was a 49x9 cm bibliophile edition). I then spent two years in Japan studying the works of Basho, Buson and Kobayashi Issa, as well as paintings by Utamaro, Hokusai and Hiroshige. Upon return, I translated and published an illustrated bilingual book titled Japanese Haiku Poetry (Rilindja, Prishtina, 1984), in Japanese and Albanian. I based the selection of Japanese haiku on Daniel Buchanan’s One hundred Famous Haiku.

My translations seemed to inspire Albanian authors, who, in their turn, started writing haiku in Albanian. Between 1997 and 2007 four Albanian poets published full-size collections of their haiku, namely Betim Muço (1997), Moikom Zeqo (1999), Milianov Kallupi (2000) and Nasho Jorgaqi (2005). A few bilingual books appeared, as well; in Albanian and in another language, such as English, Greek, Macedonian, Croatian, Italian.

At present, there are more than thirty Albanian authors who specialise in this genre. Most active among them are such poets as Dritëro Agolli, Ali Podrimja, Xhevahir Spahiu, Nasho Jorgaqi, Betim Muço, Flutura Açka, Iliriana Sulkuqi, Kujtim Agalliu, Mihal Disho, Milianov Kallupi, Nexhip Ejupi, Moikom Zeqo, Qazim Shemaj, Konstantin Dhamo, Brikena Cera, Ahmet Mehmeti and Elizabeta Tafa. There were three haiku anthologies that appeared in our country: Agshol (2002); Haiku (2004), and Albanian Poetesses (2006). We must also mention a few publications of foreign haiku poets translated into Albanian.

An anthology of Japanese haiku translated into Albanian by the poet Anton Papleka has recently been brought out by Serembe Publishing in Skopje (Macedonia). It is spanning the period between 15th and 20th centuries. Haiku by Matsuo Basho translated into Albanian by the poet Qazim Shemaj have been published in book-form on the occasion of the Japanese Culture Week. In the course of it the League of Albanian Writers and Artists organised the event modestly called the Great Evening of Haiku Poetry, where this book was launched.

In 2001, the Albanian Haiku Club was established in Elbasan, the city in central Albania. Since 2005 the club periodically publishes the magazine called Haiku, edited by the poet Milianov Kallupi.


Translated by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky

Prof. Shyqri Nimani is a haiku poet, an academic and a graphic designer.


Yellow Tulips by Alush Shima

"Yellow Tulips" by Alush Shima (Albania)


Ezra Pound and Haiku


by Mark Lonergan



The modern haiku in English has evolved in interesting ways. Imagism, the poetic movement that set in towards the beginning of the twentieth century in London, owed much to Ezra Pound (1885-1972) who stressed the importance of brevity, directness and music in poetry. Pound felt that an image should eschew allegory and even metaphor, and be capable of being grasped instantly. The haiku form that allows for the juxtaposition of two disparate images was ideally suited for the goal and aspirations of the Imagist poets. Writing about his short piece called “In a Station of the Metro” Pound admitted that he had written many poems, some of them coming to 30 or more lines, to capture the poignancy and variety of metro commuters, but was dissatisfied with them and subsequently destroyed them all because they lacked the necessary "intensity" of expression – until he wrote the following two lines:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

This haiku, or rather a quasi haiku, resembles the poem written in the 16th century by a Shinto priest called Moritake that Pound himself translated into English:

A falling blossom
Returns to Branch:
A butterfly

It can also be compared with one of Basho’s best known pieces:

on a withered branch
a crow has settled –
autumn nightfall

This was Pound’s idea of capturing the complexity of thought and feeling immediately, without much ado. The poem strives to go beyond imagism by intensifying the poetic expression. In doing so it enters the sphere of vorticism that, Pound felt, rectified some of the defects of imagism. Successful as a short poem, it fails as a haiku because only the first line deals with an immediate experience while the second line involves the memory of an image that the poet uses overtly as a metaphor. A haiku is a haiku because all the images it conveys occur simultaneously in a person's present perceptions of the world. To become a haiku, Pound's poem would have to indicate that he saw the faces at the same time as he saw the actual petals, in the flesh, not in memory. Changing the poem around was suggested by Higginson by utilising the lesser image to suggest the larger image.

Petals on a wet, black bough;
The apparition of these faces in the crowd.

The following haiku-like poem by Ezra Pound in Ts’ai Chi’h, perhaps, brings us closer to the spirit of a true haiku but is lacking the brevity:

The petals fall in the fountain,
The orange-colored rose leaves,
Their ochre clings to the stone.

The minute observation of nature and the subtle play of colour suit the temper and sensibility of haiku masters.

Ezra Pound’s translations from Moritake Araki's haiku into English greatly influenced American imagist poets. His famous ‘metro station’ piece became a predecessor of modern-days urban haiku, where topics such as subways, commuters and shopping centres are ever popular. As modern society becomes predominantly urban based, it is important to have a broader approach to haiku and to tap into these rich sources of inspiration. In this regard Ezra Pound and the Modernist movement were significant in shaping modern notions on haiku. After all, what many have thought to be uniquely Japanese appears to have roots in western literary thought, too.


Aquarium of Mother Theresa by Shyqri Nimani

"Aquarium of Mother Theresa" by Shyqri Nimani (Albania)


Haiku & Senryu 

winter dawn
a buzzard quarters
the violet mist

again through the afterglow the ticks of a wren

high over the morning mist a lone goose returns

same space as yesterday drone fly

some of the snow falling
some of it rising
new year’s day

-- John Barlow (England)

across the lough
hillside shadows
of leafless trees

spectral moon
fields of snow fade
into mist

winter sun
reaching the opposite bank
my riverside shadow

October chill
moonbeams through the buddleia
reveal my breath

snow gone
a darkness returns
to the garden

-- Thomas Powell (Northern Ireland)

snow garden
yellow tipped
daffodil shoots

late autumn
stray cattle canter
past thin hedges

trimming the laurel –
this year’s bright shoots
first to go

storm warning –
jack rabbit caught in the gap
between flash and crack

overgrown garden
an old plough
turning brown

-- Martin Vaughan (Ireland)

mid-morning shadow –
last dewdrop
rolls off leaf
midge haze –
a dragonfly skip jives
with its reflection
low tide at noon
in the dry rock pool
a limpet ticks

beach reading
tiny rainbows dance
on her eyelashes

-- Marion Clarke (Ireland)

padding through
the cemetery grasses
her old cat

devour the seedlings
moon-silver path

frosty morning
the aroma of stewed apples
in her hair

-- Dawn Bruce (Australia)

the sand
slips from my fist…
autumn dusk

mirror at first light...
staring into each
other's eyes

40th birthday dream
wandering aimlessly
in the dark forest

-- Chen-ou Liu (USA)

the back yard Buddha
smiles on

spring sun –
a tinge of green
in the grey paintwork

-- Helen Buckingham (England)

leaf-strewn bridge
a ripple rakes
the stream

trail of bubbles...
a water dragon rests
on the creek bed

-- Cynthia Rowe (Australia)

empty shell
a cicada sings
its heart out

the bible
by his deathbed

-- Quendryth Young (Australia)

night rain
the stone lions
slump forward

distant thunder
white flash
of the cormorant's throat

-- Graham Nunn (Australia)

autumn sunset 
the lemon tree aglow
with golden orbs

a corncrake calls           
above the haystacks…
coming of summer

-- Barbara A. Taylor (Australia)

the mirror
without a face

daily walk
the welcome jig
of an emerald beetle

-- Bill Cooper (USA)

a ground hornbill
sings to the sky

moon glow
snatches of song
in the wind chime

-- Robert Lucky (USA)

sitting on
the embankment
midnight swallows

a jolly plump girl
I messed around with

-- Lucas Stensland (USA)

sleepless night –
the blinking
of radio towers
falling snow...
the steady hum
of appliances

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)

six starlings on the roof
preparing to jump

after last night’s party, dawn chorus

-- Hugh O’Donnell (Ireland)

during the cleaning
an angel’s body

seashore wind
the willow tree
leaning west

-- John Oliver Byrne (Ireland)

washed up wood
from a distant campfire

funeral –
trapped in an antique vase
air bubble

-- Bouwe Brouwer (the Netherlands)

spring in the park
the lawn
chequered with black birds

-- Bernard Gieske (USA)

silver snowdust falls
across the moon–
child’s round face at the window

-- Christine Vovakes (USA)

over give and take –
our toddler’s smile

-- Charles Tarlton (USA)

new dog
calling him
by the old one's name

-- Irene Golas (Canada)

March wind
the buzz
of flaking paint

-- Ignatius Fay (Canada)

construction site—
an autumn leaf lands
between withins

-- Lucien Zell (USA – Czech Republic)

autumn window
the monstera palm
monstera green

-- Peter Macrow (Australia)

open-air concert…                                    
the soprano upstaged
by kookaburras

-- Nathalie Buckland (Australia)

still water
carp drift
with the autumn breeze

-- Cindy Keong (Australia)

the cracked pot
oozes roots ...
scent of thyme

-- Leonie Bingham (Australia)

water hen's orange bill
appears then reappears

-- Helen Davison (Australia)

crow feather
the colour of
fallen leaves

-- Lee-Anne Davie (Australia)

watching closely
over the fallen apples
a garden gnome

-- Patrick Druart (France)

children play
in garden shade
sprinkler hiss

-- Scott Owens (USA)

spring moon
the scent of jasmine
spreading in the night

-- Ramesh Anand (Malaysia)

ants collect
granules of sugar –
daytime moon

-- J.D. Mitchell-Lumsden (USA)

first secrets
only the snow camellias

-- B.T. Joy (Scotland)

fat man in a green shirt
at a watermelon

-- Robert Witmer (Japan)

on the campus lawn,
fresh anthills surrounded
by fresh mushrooms

-- Caleb Mutua (Kenya)

we ask for a glass
of water

-- Stella Pierides (Greece)

evening in the mountains
the air holds the song
of a temple bell

-- Seánan Forbes (USA)


Translated Haiku

the rustling of pages
in the library
a distant river

on a snow-white page
I write the word ‘winter’
in white ink

white butterfly
on a snow-white wall
the pitch-black shadow

-- Herwig Verleyen (Belgium; translated from the Flemish by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

warm rain
a snail peeps out
on both sides of the shell

-- Artur Lewandowski (Poland; translated from the Polish by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





by Steven Carter (USA)



They don’t call it the big sky for nothing. Rowing on Swan Lake late one chilly afternoon I see diamond-white Mt. Aeneas, cut by frozen sunlight, dwarfed by thunderheads piling up over the “Chinese Wall” to the east; southward, mountain ranges leap-frog each other below the setting sun until the vanishing point, making my eyes ache.

A quiver of cobras, a battery of barracuda, a sleuth of bears: why not a mystery of mountains? Before and since Lewis and Clark, humans have travelled these mountains to find or to lose themselves. Is there a difference?

ripples fade
how the dark
knows the dark


Books Recieved

From Another Celtic Shore


"Another Country". Haiku Poetry from Wales

Ed. by Nigel Jenkins, Ken Jones and Lynne Rees

Gomer Press
First published 2011
176 pp; ISBN 978-1-84851-306-8 (pbk)
Available from the Gomer Press,
Llandysul, Ceredigion
SA44 4JL U.K.

This collection is the first ever national anthology of Welsh haiku, and therefore is destined to be a highly important publication. It comprises works by forty poets born in Wales or long-term residents there. Not only their haiku have been included; it also has a scattered collection of haibun. Tanka are present, as well, and even a rare form of somonka, i.e. linked tanka, found its way onto its pages. A sequence of linked tanka was, oddly enough, written not by two poets but just by one, Leslie McMurtry. The frequently described dualistic nature of a poet may well account for this kind of ‘dialogue within’.

Most of the poems are in English; some of them, however, are presented bilingually, and a poem by Eirwyn George is in Welsh only. Texts are arranged by topic, rather than by poet, and the topics are “Age and Youth”, “Culture and Society”, “Daily Life”, “Exits and Entrances”, “Love and Loss”, “Memory and Imagination”, “Nature Observed”, “People in the Landscape”, and finally “Shorelines”.

The poems are followed by “An Afterword: Haiku Poetry in Wales” that gives a short history of haiku movement in Wales, its appearance in the 1960s and its further development that intensified in the last decade.

Looking at the first section, “Age and Youth”, we first see three haiku by three different poets, then a haibun, eight more haiku, again by eight different authors, a haiku sequence by Noragh Jones, another haibun, five more haiku, and finally a third haibun. The same principle applies to each and every section of the book. Going through it, you have to constantly switch from one poetic form to another and from one poet to another. Frankly, I don’t know if it really makes things easier for the reader. I personally have a liking for well-structured anthologies but then again tastes differ.

As the editors stated in the Introduction, “work has been selected, primarily, for its quality as haiku writing, and secondarily for its Welsh interest.” Indeed, quality is there. Poems by such accomplished practitioners of the genre as Pamela Brown, Arwyn Evans, Caroline Gourlay, Nigel Jenkins, Ken and Noragh Jones, Matt Morden, Lynne Rees, Jane Whittle would ensure a high standard of any poetry collection and, carefully selected for this book, make it a worthy read.

A few examples:

Here’s an excellent ‘intuitive’ piece by Ken Jones:

Freezing wind
the dancing clothes
stiffen into people

The following haiku showcases Matt Morden’s keen observation:

end of holiday
a square of pale grass
beneath the tent

The next poem by Arwyn Evans is refreshingly metaphorical by its nature, which is rather typical of Celtic haiku, as well as of Japanese, of course:

the feathering
of falcon’s breath

One of the pieces by Nigel Jenkins made me remember Wallace Stevens who liked to describe the source of poetic inspiration in terms of ‘more than rational’ distortion:

hooter booms –
and a slice of the city
sails into the night

Personally, I would love to see more poems by the English poet Caroline Gourlay who spent most of her life in Wales, but then, of course, her work is well known to all the connoisseurs of the genre. Just one example:

insomnia –
through the door in my head
another door

Reviewing this book in Modern Haiku, Charles Trumbull wrote the following: “A volume such as this inevitably raises the question of whether there is a distinguishable "Welshness" about it — whether, after about fifty years, one can already speak of a Welsh haiku tradition. On the basis of this anthology, our answer would have to be no. Apart from haiku with purely local subject matter and poems written in Welsh, the concerns of the writers and their poetic treatment of them are not dissimilar from those of their brethren elsewhere.”

One can argue that the concerns of haiku writers and poetic devices they choose to use are similar all over the world, and have been since the times of Basho. This doesn’t prevent us from customarily defining such schools of haiku writing as Japanese, American, Australian, English, French, or - dare I say it? - Celtic. And it isn’t the local subject but rather poetic traditions of the locality that matter. This determines the way the poets work with the material, not to mention that the material itself may vary a lot, as the nature can be strikingly different in various parts of the world. 

Having read this anthology, I can’t help thinking that, despite the variety of haiku being written in Wales, the Welsh haiku movement is much closer to the Celtic stream than to the English one, or simply can be regarded as a part of the former. Of course, one cannot and shouldn’t underestimate the ever helping presence of a few English born haijin, residents of Wales and acclaimed masters of the genre, but influences like this can only strengthen the already strong tradition of Welsh haiku writing. Efallai y byddant hir hwylio.*

Anatoly Kudryavitsky

* And long may they sail (Welsh).


Maeve O'Sullivan. "Initial Response: An A-Z of haiku moments"

Illustrations by John Parsons

Alba Publishing, P O Box 266, Uxbridge, UB9 5NX, U.K.


66 pp.; ISBN 978-0-9551254-3-0

Available from the publisher.

This is the first individual haikai collection by the Irish poet Maeve O’Sullivan, her joint collaboration with Kim Richardson, Double Rainbow, having been published in 2005. The book adorned with a cover image and two beautiful illustrations by John Parsons comprises 156 haikai poems grouped according to categories in alphabetical order (e.g. Autumn, Birds and Blossoms, Children, Dearly Departed, Eating, Father’s Death Day, Graduation, etc., all the way to Zen/Meditation). Of course, topics like some of these account for a great number of senryu (three-line poems that describe human relations), and zappai (miscellaneous three-line poems) included alongside haiku. In fact, they may even outnumber haiku in this collection.

In some of the poems we can trace typically Buddhist themes of renewal of the cycle of life:

I blow raspberries
into your tiny palm –
sleepy nephew

There is much delicacy and subtlety in O’Sullivan’s style, particularly in her travel haiku and senryu, which bring us on evocative journeys to Spanish, French, Tunisian and Italian (as well as Irish!) landscapes:

Basque flower market
an orange hibiscus
trumpets its presence


I tell him I’m alone:
the look of horror
on the gondolier’s face


Holy City market
hawkers ignore
the call to prayer*

However it is when the haiku are most specifically descriptive of the Irish landscape that they truly excel:

punctuated by dialogue –
ewes and lambs

gorse flowers
cutting through their sweet smell

According to the tradition of senryu writing, this kind of poems is supposed to be humorous, which the poet duly delivers:

Chinese restaurant
the bride throws her bouquet
we collect our order

her umbrella blows
inside out again –
mother laughing

As with many of the poems in Double Rainbow, some of the author’s new works are highly personal and at times deeply moving: dedicated as they are to the poet’s father, Maurice O’Sullivan. In making this collection so personal and individual the themes of death, mourning and renewal are developed extensively. Three particularly poignant poems on the loss of her Father are:

father's death day
after hours of phone calls
soft November rain

midnight arrives …
ringing in the first
fatherless year

one sixth of his weight
on my left shoulder

Summing up, we must say that Maeve O’Sullivan has authored a subtle, honed, personal collection, which encapsulates a keen eye for the natural world; together with a gentle humour. However it is her studies on the human heart that are most deeply affecting: an ‘initial response’ to the pattern of life perhaps?

Sharon Burrell

* The latter senryu was one of three pieces first published in Shamrock No 1, 2007, which publication sadly didn’t get a mention in the book on the Acknowledgements page. – ed.


Doghouse Books

DOGHOUSE Books have three collections of haiku poems by two Irish haijin (only a limited number of copies left of the last two):

Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Capering Moons. DOGHOUSE Books. Publ. May 2011

John W Sexton. Shadows Bloom. DOGHOUSE Books. Reviewed here

Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Morning at Mount Ring. DOGHOUSE Books. Reviewed here

One can get them postage free for the price of €12 to anywhere in the world.

Also, check out here the range of poetry books and anthologies we've published.

PO Box 312
Co. Kerry

Tel: +353 (0)66 7137547
Fax: +353 (0)66 7137547

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