Shamrock Haiku Journal

Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world

Issue 3



Haiku Journal

of the Irish Haiku Society


Focus on

EUROPE Off-Centre


Interest in haiku existed in Europe ever since the beginning of the 20th century.Wikipedia mentions some European non-English-speaking countries where haiku movements are best developed: "countries of Northern Europe (mainly Sweden, Germany, France and The Netherlands), Balkan countries (mainly Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania), and Russia." Shamrock has published or is planning to publish thematic issues focusing on each of these countries, as well as on Italy, Spain, Belgium, Poland and probably Turkey.

As for this particular issue, it presents a selection of haiku from several European countries where haiku scenes are far from satisfactory. Furthering our study of European haku geography, we showcase authors from the states that don't have formal national haiku associations, haiku magazines and/or websites. You'll see that there are many extremely interesting poets living 'off-centre'. Some of them publish their work in such magazines as Simply Haiku and The Heron's Nest, the others win prizes at international haiku contests, and therefore can be regarded as haiku plenipotentiaries of the countries they live in, the localities where haiku movements sometimes need as much help as they can get. This publication was meant as our small contribution to it.

Among the twelve countries represented in this issue, three are republics of the Balcan region (Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro), another three, the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), further three, central European states (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia), two republics of the former USSR (Belarus and Ukraine), and finally Portugal. We have made every attempt to find traces of haiku activities in such countries as Albania, Cyprus, Iceland, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, Switzerland, but to no purpose. We would be intersted in hearing from haiku poets, the natives of the afore-metioned states, should they read these lines.

Finally, we must mention that we tried hard to find Ukrainian haiku written in their native language but instead had to settle for those written in Russian. If we overlooked haiku poets writing in Ukrainian, we owe them apologies. Again, we would be interested in hearing from them and considering their work for publication.





Greedy mud!

see how it pulls off

the beggar's overshoes



transparent air

we can view

the last summer




prickley sow-thistle...

but look how the bee

befriends it!

-- Ales Razanav

(translated from the Byelorussian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




that riverbed stone

what does it know

about summer heat?




a street lamp alight

raindrops on the pane

suddenly awake




who can remind me

the name of this flower?

listening to the wind




what is he looking for,

this black moth?

a black flower?

-- Miraslav Shyback 

(translated from the Byelorussian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




Bosnia and Herzegovina

sparrow and a magpie

sipping water from

the same puddle

-- Denjo Mirsad 



summer here –

poppy petals

on the cow’s hoof

-- Ljubomir Dragovic

English versions by Anatoly Kudryavitsky




The Czech Republic


Evening nearing

a stray dog runs to meet me,

a bone in his jaws




On the night train –

two sober gentlemen

playing checkers




Glasses clinking

and clinking – seeping through,

a squeaky laugh

-- Kateřina Rudčenková 

English versions by Anatoly Kudryavitsky






White wooly clouds

growing whiter

after the swans flew near




Withered grass whisper –

underneath the thick snow,

dreams of grasshoppers




Unexpected winter –

all night I hear leaves fall

onto the snow




In the limestone quarry,

an ice-hole, today reflecting

the cold sun




Pine branch growing fast –

I open my window,

it enters my room




Fir-trees –

so high, but sinking

into birds’ songs




In the field of blooming poppies

vultures scream of

approaching autumn




Inspired by nightingales’ song,

frogs start croaking

with gusto




Leaves still warm

after the first thunderstorm –

hey, snails




Inside a frozen apple,

a pale worm crawling into

his last dream

-- Andres Ehin

(transl. from the Estonian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and the author)




Blustery wind

we‘re caught in the golden blizzard

of falling leaves




A tiny feather

descending –

birdless sky




The train screams

and slows down –

three silver firs on the pane

-- Arvo Mets

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




Autumn storm –

waves taking away with them

a sign "No swimming"




This plump girl

wearing her summer dress

she has so many flowers on!




Cold stove –

between the last year's logs,

a dried grasshopper




Morning fair –

a vendor shakes off snow

from his fir-trees




Old house brought down –

trees swarm

around the pit

-- Felix Tammi

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



birds singing,

the pear-tree flowering:

gulash soup on the simmer

-- Judit Vihar




an arrow in the grove

showing the direction

to butterflies

-- János Kurszán Kántor

English versions by Anatoly Kudryavitsky







Poetess's car:

silver handles and piston rods...

a train far away




Invisible thread:

a black butterfly pulling

the yellow locomotive




Night train...

after sleep, I wake up

within my dream

-- Valdis Jansons

(transl. from the Latvian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





warm breeze!

grasshoppers' chirping

invites autumn




autumn sky

the shadows of grass blades

sink in the river




clanking cold

a woodcutter's song

gets stuck in the trunk

-- Artūras Gelusevičius

(transl. from the Lithuanian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and Nadezhda Vinogradova)




Eagle in the blue sky

two wings outlining

a calm




White pelicans

and sacred cows…

a rainy day




I wore through my shoes

and now walk barefoot

can't see my home




Three white mountains

above the three green hills...

a long road

-- Paulius Normantas

(transl. from the Lithuanian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and Nadezhda Vinogradova)




Japanese tourists

up in the castle,

their eyes follow migrant birds




derelict house

the wind slams the door

producing no echo

-- Artūras Šilanskas

(transl. from the Lithuanian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and Nadezhda Vinogradova)



full moon

gazing upon the light

in my own window




cold night

barman pours wine for a late guest

on credit

-- Artūras Šilanskas

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




night brighter

than the last day...

first snow




first frost...

but children's clothes

thinner than ice

-- Mindaugas Valiukas

(transl. from the Lithuanian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and Nadezhda Vinogradova)







Mussels on the beach –

a tiny crab takes cover

in a flip-flop




Children sledding

sunbeams sliding

down the roof




Morning frost –

a sun drawn

on the car side




Early morning…

on a telephone cable,

chattering sparrows




A hospital bed –

my shadow in a hurry

to lie down




Dust-covered book –

a new title given to it

by somebody’s finger




Headlights on –

a car seeking out

unexplored routes

-- Nikola Madzirov

English versions by Anatoly Kudryavitsky





a nun wielding a broom

chases autumn

around the monastery




new moon –

hanging from the bough,

a half-eaten pear




autumn sky –

the raven follows

a war-plane




a bucket under the eaves –

one waterdrop falls in,

two leap out

-- Zoran Raonić

English versions by Anatoly Kudryavitsky






moonlit grass

the sleepless wind disturbs

flowers' dreams




a leaf falls

the old lake's eye





old road

sun unrolls its bright carpet

for a walker

-- Alonso Alvarez

(transl. from the Portuguese by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





leaving these deserted fields

never looking back





pollarded by the neighbours –

where have the birds gone?




Flee, butterfly!

men approach,

the whole armies




The desert wind


that trees are no more




A snow path…

dirty snow on my wellies,

the colour of men




Another storm…

the wind carries off myself

and almond blossoms

-- Casimiro de Brito

(transl. from the Portuguese by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





tiny bronze sculpture:

a dead woman praying

to the sun-god





in wastelands of the zodiac...

sand in gullies

-- Mila Haugová

English versions by Anatoly Kudryavitsky





Night heat

the air-blast from the fan

tries to lift a newspaper




Evening coolness –

the feeble trees lower

their leaves


-- Ruslan Goondakov

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



Summer heat –

stretched on a stone lion,

a street cat narrows his eyes




Novemeber –

morning coffee gets stronger

with each passing day

-- Alla Mutelika

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




the smell of ozone...

get on with the poems,

my old printer!

-- Tatiana Lugovskaya

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




A box of pencils –

only the black and the white





Sweltering heat –

a girl plasters her face

with make-up




Autumn dew –

tiptoeing the garden,

a cat




A street fiddler –

in his hat, the first

yellow leaf

-- Oleg Yourov

(transl. from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)






Girls with the Orchid

by Oksana Popova (Ukraine/Ireland)





Haiku & Senryu


summer solstice

daylight begins

with a crow's call




spring flowers

one by one a bouquet

forms itself




beach picnic

the rising tide nibbles

at the sand castle




a dusting of snow

more sugar sprinkled

on the cookies

-- Adelaide B. Shaw (USA)





under a soft rainfall

balsam flowers




empty now

a yellow water lily 

damselflies chase




scarlet petal

beaten against the pane

October light




dark solstice sun sinks

signpost to the open fields

lit up

-- Diana Webb (England)




down the valley road shadows shifting gears



on a bare twig rain beads what light there is



deck class sparrows claim my ferry seat



first light

eye to dreaming eye

with a kookaburra

-- Lorin Ford (Australia)




winter twilight

yellow apples cling

to the high branches




after her death

watching the rain

meeting the river




crowded promenade

a little boy jumps

our long shadows

-- Lynne Rees (England)




last off the train,

the blind man takes his time

to button up





a raindrop at the base

of a Worcester pearmain




a stray firework

tails off into the dark

lunar eclipse

-- Matthew Paul (England)




somewhere in this swamp

the sun has drowned

a ball of gnats

(after Ho-o)




narrow cave

a wave rushes in,

the shape of its howl




surfacing at low tide,

a shopping trolley

dripping with sunshine

-- Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Ireland)





a cat’s shadow rests

by the flowerbed




abandoned harbour –

an old fishing net

still catching rubbish




lying in clover

a tired dog letting

the world go by

-- Martin Vaughan (Ireland)




twilight hour

an amber glow of

crickets' calls




fishing boat at dusk

gulls' cries

swirling the mast




dawn    a snail uncurls from sleep

-- Aisling White (Ireland)




pruning the roses

a red ant attaches itself

to my arm




clear morning

the crack

of an eggshell




opening the door

the curl of sunset

in a rose

-- Laryalee Fraser (Canada)




withered trees

sparrows sink deeper

into their necks




shaded avenue...

an abstract painting

of bird droppings




sun ripe fields

the jostling backs of

coloured saris

-- Kala Ramesh (India)




autumn wind

a cloud of crows

out of the cedar




almost summer

replanting the fields

where the river ran

-- Susan Constable (Canada)




overturned hat

snow covers

the coins






next to the pickles

-- Rose Hunter (Canada/Australia)





a pause before calling out

each other’s name




dream over

I reach for you and

you're still by my side

-- John Zheng (USA)




patter of bamboo chimes

at dawn...

wind getting up

-- Hugh O'Donnell (Ireland)




dried fruits

on the bird table –

bees hum

-- Aine MacAodha (Ireland)




a shaft of sunlight

through the forest...

an open pine cone

-- Terry O'Connor (Ireland)




early evening

only a blackbird

traffics the lane

-- Katherine Gallagher (Australia/England)




morning fog...

leaving home

without my purse

-- Raquel D. Bailey (Jamaica/USA)




brittle petals...

my dry lips

on your dry cheek

-- Christine Vovakes (USA)





pressed in Grandma's

prayer book

-- Srinjay Chakravarti (India)




evening heat

her eyes on mine

just long enough

-- Josh Wikoff (USA)




retirement village

she carries his old dog

up the hill

-- Quendryth Young (Australia)




walking at sunrise

the scatter of pollen

from tall grass


-- Nathalie Buckland (Australia/Wales)




feast of the dead:

floating down the stream,

paper lanterns

-- Anima Yamamoto (Japan/England )




New Year's Day

lifting the lid

on another jigsaw

-- Helen Buckingham (England)






Malden Park


by Jeffrey Woodward (USA)

Walking, we forget.

Walking, we remember.

It is merely physical exercise today while, tomorrow, it may be a cause for deep meditation.

An Indian summer morning in my favorite city park, some 500 acres of rolling hills with little groves scattered here and there amid open meadows, two ponds ringed by cottonwoods and willows, some simple wooden footbridges to negotiate a shallow creek. 

I have the luxury of the entire park to myself, it seems, but an indefinable melancholy, a melancholy of unknown provenance, shadows my every step and proves itself an intimate, if unwanted, companion. Why?



watching the water

go under the bridge 

clear autumn



One can continue on, walking. One can continue on, in a state worse than that of any beast of burden, walking under the weight of regrets that one piles upon oneself repeatedly and habitually, a labor more unforgiving than that of a taskmaster’s mule.

The sky itself is relatively clear but beginning to cloud. The weather, delightfully mild. 

Here is a nice spot in the grass. Here one can sit and look. 

Look at the neighboring stalk of grass. What do you see?



the clarity

comes to nothing… 

a drop of dew



One can stand. 

One can walk, again. 

One can consider, in the soon-to-be vanished yellows and reds of autumn leaves, how an inexorable uniformity and sameness will settle over these hills, if only superficially, as every bold distinction is muted in the slow decline toward winter’s onset:



a mole is gray,

a mouse is brown

fields of autumn



Nevertheless, each individual red and yellow leaf still shows itself in sharp relief, even though the sky clouds slightly. Insects, too, sing in the grass that is losing its color, insects that with each passing day are fewer and more distant. The New England aster sprays here and there, clusters of pretty purple flowers, while the rarer Lindsey’s aster with its paler blue petals is plainly seen amid the white showy and heath asters that everywhere dot the slopes.



voices of insects

drift a little 

with the fleecy clouds



One walks to forget. 

One walks to remember. 

I abandon my pleasant seat in the grass. 

A cloud, even though the day is still luminous. A cloud, where all was clear before. 

One last hill to climb, then, in my morning walk:



through heath aster  

to the crest of a far hill  

and fleecy clouds



on a dusty path  

that leads me up into  

the sky of autumn