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Haiku Journal of the Irish Haiku Society

                 Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world       



We are five years old! Founded in January 2007, Shamrock Haiku Journal has since been published quarterly. On this occasion, we have prepared SHAMROCK HAIKU JOURNAL: 2007 – 2011, a print edition of the twenty issues of Shamrock, the Journal of the Irish Haiku Society, as they appeared on the Shamrock website. This paper-based collection comprises works by 248 authors representing 38 countries. It covers the full range of English-language haiku, from classic to experimental styles, as well as haibun and selected essays on haiku.

The translated haiku that appeared regularly in Shamrock over the last five years are not included in this book, as we hope to arrange a separate publication for them.

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Shamrock Haiku Journal: 2007 – 2011
Edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky.

Copyright © 2007 – 2011 by Shamrock Haiku Journal.

All rights reserved.

Published in Dublin, Ireland.

Printed in the United Kingdom.

Price €15.98
ISBN 978-1-4709-3830-7

Trade paperback. 240 pp.
6"x9", perfect binding.

Preview available here

Shamrock Haiku Journal Readers' Choice Awards 2011



The following piece that appeared in our No. 19 was voted the best haiku published in Shamrock Haiku Journal in 2011:


autumn wind
the sound of surf
in the flame tree

-- Lorin Ford (Australia)



The following haiku that also first appeared in our No. 19 was a close runner-up: 


the owl's last call
before dawn
winter solstice

-- Aubrie Cox (USA)




The following piece that was first published in our No 20 became the winner in this category:


ninth floor
a series of pictures
of grasses


-- Quendryth Young (Australia)


And the runner-up was the following piece that also initially appeared in our No. 20:

dog day's night -
just me and Milo
barking at the moon

-- J.D. Heskin (USA)


We congratulate the worthy winners, and express our sincere gratitude to each and every reader who cast a vote.



Haiku & Senryu 

bandaged in ivy,
last winter's
broken tree

dandelion suns
turned moons –
the wind halves and quarters them

where an orchestra of bees
tunes up for summer

writing messages –
willows dip fingers into
the languid river

down the spider’s thread
that ties my door,
a spark of shine

-- Clare McDonnell (Ireland)

border crossing
of a horsefly

scampering chipmunks
on a sand hickory trunk
early autumn

riding the thermals
a broad winged hawk

-- Raffael de Gruttola (USA)

nowhere left to hide
a lone crab scuttles between
islands of stillness

the first drops of rain
striking the limestone shelter
colour again

evening approaching
curlews stilt-walk
on their reflections

-- Pat Boran (Ireland)

two canaries
in a covered cage

distant conversation
a trickle
from a tap

a sliver
of moon

-- Hugh O’Donnell (Ireland)

the calm before…
this old fishing boat
anchored to the moon

the whispers of apple blossom
to the moth

in a silver frame
that summer breeze
through our hair

-- Terry O’ Connor (Ireland)

New Year's Day
the glare of two suns
along a flood plain

mild winter
a ragged red rose
in limbo

splits of green in last year's reeds a bunting

-- Thomas Powell (Northern Ireland)

dawn chorus
seeds of light

damp morning –                                             
the muffled thud
of the airing cupboard door

-- Helen Buckingham (England)

my brother's funeral
a fisherman's
last cast

moonlight on the snow
my shadow races ahead
down the hill

-- Joseph M. Kusmiss (USA)

a crow's cry...
the village stillness

job interview
falling leaves
with every step

-- Chen-ou Liu (USA)

winter morn…
wiping a foggy window
to watch the fog

where my tree-house
once stood

-- Al Fogel (USA)

old snake
on pavement
sloughing off spring

rush of blood –
seeing through
my mother’s skin

-- Noel Sloboda (USA)

floor plan
the overlay
of white-footed ants

schoolyard gust a chorus of crinkled oak leaves

-- Bill Cooper (USA)

early snow
the vole burrows under
the woolly thyme

heat shimmer
a fly caught
in the honey jar

-- Alicia Hilton (USA)

spring rain
the classroom smells
of wet wool

cedar branches
sway in the wind
jazz concert

-- Joanna M. Weston (Canada)

long breath
a python flows from
its knot

regatta –
scudding to a fair wind
the summer clouds

-- Jan Dobb (Australia)

dull day –                             
across the wet sand
all the shells face down

crisp afternoon                                           
driving through the shadow
of a flock of birds

-- Natalie Buckland (Australia)

morning market
the face on the t-shirt

after the bushwalkers pass

-- Tiggy Johnson (Australia)

a moth coming
closer and closer...
the bridge of my nose

silk cravat stored
in the bottom drawer
mothballs having dinner

-- Noel King (Ireland)

stirred from my slumber –
pine marten
stealing apples

spring dawn –
mistle thrush’s song
muffled by diesel engine

-- Michael Andrew (Ireland)

job rejection letter
folding another
paper airplane

sudden cloudburst —
the separated couple go
under one umbrella

-- Mark Lonergan (Ireland)

through leafless trees
the crescent moon –
a blackbird shatters silence

occluded moon
in the northern sky
owl hoots

-- Padraig O’Horgain (Ireland)

foggy day
sheep on the hills
climb into clouds

May noon
starlings circle the blackbird
with a worm

-- Maire Morrisey-Cummins (Ireland)

old shadow box…
framed in the window
the gibbous moon

-- Cathy Drinkwater-Better (USA)

Santa bell-ringer –
the homeless guy
drops a coin

-- Steven Carter (USA)

random thoughts –
the on and off switching
of fireflies

-- Adelaide B. Shaw (USA)

the blind dog
sniffs the darkness

-- Greg Hopkins (USA)

milling through my arm hair
afternoon breeze

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)

fire drill
the years I ignored
silent alarms

-- S.M. Abeles (USA)

cut anthurium
planted in burnt-out kettle –
slow clock of decay

-- Patrick Chapman (Ireland)

wild iris flowers
yellow stars fill
a black ditch

-- Ann Egan (Ireland)

discarded newspaper
beside the canal –
origami swan

-- Cíaran Parkes (Ireland)

a child
tracing smoke trails
from her granddad's pipe

-- Liam Ryan (Ireland)

rising moon
the ocean pulls
itself in

-- G.R. LeBlanc (Canada)

June wedding
churchyard robins
trill an alarm

-- Vera Constantineau (Canada)

dawn delivery
on the doorstep
ivory pools

-- Rachel Sutcliffe (England)

my spare tyre
hall of mirrors

-- Tracy Davidson (England)

new year’s wishes
sprouts between the
concrete slabs

-- Ramesh Anand (Malaysia)


wheat ear
the way time ripens
within it

-- Sergey Biryukov (Russia, transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

in the overgrown pond,
pale duckweed sobs,
then narrows the gap

white flash –
the last butterfly
among flying leaves

in the depth of shadow,
a blade of grass moves –
slanting beams of light

-- Vladimir Gertsik (Russia, transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

girl with a red fan,
dancing –
my geranium all abloom

fried eggs wrapped in cellophane –
white chrysanthemums
with yellow hearts

-- Nina Gorlanova (Russia, transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

after rain
all the snails
on the move

-- Tonka Lovrić (Croatia; translated from the Croatian by Djurdja Vukelić-Rozić)

downpour over –
on each table
pools of moonlight

-- Tonka Lovrić (Croatia; translated from the Croatian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

prison cell
a chrysalis clinging
to the bar

-- Alexander Martusenko (Russia, transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

IHS International Haiku Competition 2011 Results

The Irish Haiku Society is proud to announce the results of the fourth IHS International Haiku Competition. This year we saw a further increase in the number of participating authors. 232 haiku by poets from fourteen countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Romania, USA and Wales) were submitted to this year’s competition in Category A. As for Category B open only for participants born or residing on the island of Ireland, we received 37 poems. Poets submitting their works in this category were expected to write about poverty and include reflections upon or references to "Poverty: punishment for a crime you didn't commit" (attributed to Eli Khamarov). This year’s competition was adjudicated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, and it was judged blindly. The following is the list of prize-winning and highly commended haiku in both categories.


Category A 

1st Prize

 Quendryth Young (Australia) receives the first prize of € 150 for the following haiku:

turning tide
the buoy bobs

2nd Prize

The 2nd Prize of € 50 goes to John Barlow (England) for the following haiku:

the windfalls
he gathered
gathering dusk

3rd Prize

Bouwe Brouwer (the Netherlands) receives the third prize of € 30 for the following haiku:

 November rain -
the fence
around the ruin



Highly Commended Haiku

In alphabetical order:


Ernest J. Berry (New Zealand)

early dusk
the elderly sexton
wreathed in mist


Marion Clarke (Northern Ireland)

storm on the lough
streetlamps on Seaview
lit by sunrise


Beth McFarland (Northern Ireland - Germany)

laid at the feet
of a cat,
all the Alps


Peter Newton (USA)

first snow...
filling the emptiness
of a curled leaf


Roland Packer (Canada)

again you speak
of leaving


Cynthia Rowe (Australia)

wild persimmon
autumn sun fills
the last leaf


 Priscilla Van Valkenburgh (USA)

island morning fog -
the spruce tree and wooden bench


Category B 


1st Prize

Clare McCotter (Co. Derry) receives the first prize of € 100 for the following haiku:

silver moon
climbing a scaffold of stars
unemployed builder


2nd Prize

The 2nd Prize of € 30 goes to Thomas Powell (Co. Armagh) for the following haiku:

 charity shop -
we debate the need
for a book on Gauguin

3rd Prize

 Mary O'Keeffe (Co. Cork) receives the third prize of  20 for the following haiku: 

coffee morning
in the hull of her handbag
she stows her daughter's lunch


Highly Commended Haiku

In alphabetical order:


Clare McCotter (Co. Derry)

gold autumn dawn
melting over the fields
she once owned

Clare McCotter (Co. Derry)

rose dawn
pulled tight around
the bagwoman's shoulders


Beth McFarland (Co. Tyrone - presently, Germany)

all the unborn children
cherry blossom
in the wind


Conor O'Neill (Co. Dublin - presently, Chile)

outside the bank
a beggar's empty hands
counting raindrops

Thomas Powell (Co. Armagh)

work prospects...
I search the sky
for yesterday's swallows

 Our congratulations go to all of the winners. We also express our sincere gratitude to the Administrator of the competition, without whom…



Case Exhibir by Eleanor Leonne Bennett

"Case Exhibit" by Eleanor Leonne Bennett (England)





Toward Evening


by Steven Carter (USA)


Indigo rain cloaks the city but I cast a shadow – no, no, I am my shadow.

Oddly translucent, my shadow tramples a thousand eyes of rain winking and blinking on the sidewalk. Glancing at the sky, which has turned violet-lavender… And the moon – how can there be a moon? – and Neptune! Rings clearly visible in the mist, her necklace of moons sparkles against a backdrop of friendly stars which shine but don’t sparkle. 

Ahead walks a stranger, shoulders hunched against the cold. Descending on me, a deep feeling of compassion for him and for all the strangers, nomads, exiles of this earth; it’s a warm shawl in the rain.          

But where am I?

dying wind
by the roadside cross
a candy bar

The haiku from this haibun was first published in FreeXpresSion, Volume XIX, Issue No 3, March 2012.


Book Review

Breath: Haiku

by Sandra Simpson

Published by Piwakawaka Press, Tauranga, New Zealand, 2011

64 pp, ISBN 978-0-473-19150-4

Available from the author (for details, e-mail her at nzhaiku[at] replacing [at] with @).

Priced at $NZ17, $A17, $US21, £14.

Sandra Simpson grew up in Manawatu, New Zealand, and then lived abroad working as a journalist in such countries as England, Qatar and Lebanon. She is back in New Zealand now. Her first haiku was published in 1995, and her works have since appeared in Heron’s Next, Simply Haiku, Kokako, Stylus and Presense. This book is her first collection; it contains 88 haiku, one or two to a page, grouped into four sections according to the four seasons known in the western world. Poems alternate with Sandra Simpson’s own nature photographs, which to my amateur eye look like high-quality ones. Strangely enough, page numbers are missing throughout the whole book.
     In the preface the author discusses the importance of breathing. We can’t argue with that, can we? Another a little bit too obvious statement there is that that ‘as humans, we are an integral part of the cycle of the natural world.
Towards the end of the preface the author maintains that ‘haiku poets write in the hope that the barrier of their words will “disappear” so the reader may also experience the [haiku] moment.
     Let’s see how it works in this book. If anybody expects not properly constructed haiku from an author on her first collection, this is clearly not the case here. Sandra Simpson has been around for more than fifteen years, and her technique of haiku writing almost never fails her. Same goes for the sound arrangement of her haiku:

rain and more rain
the welcome mat
begins to sprout

     If I am not mistaken, Ralph Waldo Emerson was the first who wrote about “a surprised man of the world”. In this book also, the poet likes to show that nature’s beauty takes her by surprise. It can be, and is effective but the author uses it perhaps a tad too often.

reading and re-reading
the same sentence –
lotus flowers

autumn leaves –
my forgotten chore
remains forgotten

dandelion moon –
the book I ordered

     Sandra Simpson clearly is a keen observer, which always helps a haiku poet.

waiting for the rains
both sides
of the pillow hot

     There are also a few senryu in the book, almost all of them convincing.

family photo box
how my father smiles
in black and white

     The poet likes to use the words from the local dialect, supplying each but one with a footnote. The unexplained word, however, poses a mystery.

standing naked
in moonlight –
the taste of nashi

     Having looked up the enigmatic ‘nashi’ in the dictionary, I found out that it is “a member of the Nashi movement, or the Putin Youth, in Russia, an analogue of the Hitler Youth.” This made me wonder if this organisation’s international outreach extends as far abroad as New Zealand – or does the word ‘nashi’ mean something else in the Maori language?
     Overall, there are fine poems in the book, some of them better than the others, but all perfectly adequate. The book at its best:

packing again –
folding the sunset
into every garment

earthquake season
the avocado
rolls this way & that

     This collection comes highly recommended, and should be a good addition to anybody’s haiku library.

Anatoly Kudryavitsky

I have since been advised that nashi is the Japanese name for what is known in some parts as apple pear. Still, a little footnote explaining it would have been most appropriate in the book.


Doghouse Books

DOGHOUSE Books have a limited number of copies left of two collections of haiku poems by two Irish haijin:

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

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

Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Capering Moons. DOGHOUSE Books, 2011. 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

Copyright © by Shamrock Haiku Journal. All rights reserved. All the Shamrock Haiku Journal contents are copyright by the indicated poets/artists. All the rights revert to the authors and artists upon publication in Shamrock. Any unauthorised copying of the contents of Shamrock Haiku Journal is strictly forbidden. The Shamrock logo image is copyright © by Christine Zeytounian-Belous (Paris, France). 
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