Shamrock Haiku Journal

Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world

Issue 4




Haiku Journal

of the Irish Haiku Society



Focus on





Cricket's song...

drops of the autumn rain

land in a cobweb

-- Ludmila Balabanova (translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)






Windy evening –

from the opposite river bank,

the scent of grass




A hazy veil

hiding the morning river –

visible now, my breath




Dinner by candlelight –

between the two of us,

quivering air


-- Ludmila Balabanova (translated by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





Tiny daisies

plaited into the braids

of ageing grass




So what’s my shadow doing

on its own,

out in the cold?


-- Ginka Biliarska (translated by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





November sadness –

a waterdrop

down the pane



after rain,

slimy mushrooms among

the rotting leaves


-- Ivelina Doicheva (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





winter solstice –

the fly's

halted flight


-- Ana Doicheva (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





summer here –

yet another ball reposing

on the roof




summer afternoon

the hammock’s shadow

sways the grass




bees gathering:

the white sleeves

embroidered with roses




muddy path –

roses, fresh after the rain,

keep their distance


-- Iliana Ilieva (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





puddles on the road

a belated cart

spatters the grass with stars





leaning over to

an acorn cup on the path –

upturned sky


-- Hristo ke Pella (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)






Christmas morning

snowflakes falling

into my tea




funeral procession –

white all over,

the cherry tree




hot day

the peacock unfolds

his fan




lunch-time in the zoo

a line of ants aims for

the lion’s meal


-- Marica Kolcheva (transl. by Petar Tchouhov)





Sunday afternoon –

the keyboard sticky

with plum jam




coffee break –

on the back of a chair,

two jackets

-- Maya Lyubenova (transl. by the author)


summer sultriness

a railway track

hardly breathing


-- Georgy Marinov (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)


steamy horse

on the muddy road

cool him off, snowflakes!


-- Georgy Marinov (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and Petar Tchouhov)

Jimson weed by the steep

the wind musses up

its shadow


continuous cawing –

a prodigal crow

has re-joined the flock


-- Axinya Mikhailova (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




a single cuckoo –

and lo, the chorus of frogs

has stopped!


-- Antoaneta Nikolova (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)






cold morning –

in the packed tram, a woman

with a steaming basket




after this long

day of cleaning,

bright moon


-- Rositza Pironska (transl. by the author)




torrential rain –

at long last our tomcat





a hornet –

just enough to bend

the petunia


-- Rositza Pironska (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





cold moon –

shadows within shadows
along the snowy road


-- Dimitar Stefanov (transl. by the author)






bit by a blizzard

then bandaged up by it


-- Dimitar Stefanov (transl. by Ludmila Kolechkova and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





Autumn here –

the sun nestling among

the black branches




Rusty September sun –

thin moon crescent

cuts off birds’ singing




Shabby pine-tree –

through holes in its pockets

the wind wails



Look, among

a quantity of acorns,

the moon, also hanging!




Water recedes –

mussels start whispering

with thousands of lips




Glistening like silver

in the dried well,

dead moons’ bones


-- Edvin Sugarev (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)






shooting gallery

the hunter wins

a teddy bear




streetlamp –

in a puddle, no room

for the moon




first snow

footprints leading

to the cobbler's house




reading a crime novel –

a dog chasing

his tail




Father’s Day

the little girl wants

a male doll




old bicycle

a raindrop falls from

the shed’s roof


-- Petar Tchouhov (transl. by the author)






fish market –

the deafening yelling

of the sellers

on the carpet

of violets,

the slim shadow of a pine


-- Rositsa Yakimova (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)










by Petar Tchouhov


      At the beginning of the 1990s the renowned Bulgarian poet Ivan Metodiev founded a poetic circle called “Nava”, and soon started a magazine of the same name. This marked the beginning of his search for “Bulgarian haiku”. Trying to give a proper definition to the term “nava,” Metodiev used the word “explosion.” He gradually came to the conclusion that any short poetic form, or even part of a longer form, can be a nava. As for haiku, he considered them to be one of the possible forms of nava. Extravagant and provocative, the nava movement was too eclectic; in the end, its foundations turned out to be philosophical, or even mystical rather than literary.

      Bearing this in mind, we can say that the “real”, or “organised”, if you like it better, haiku movement in Bulgaria started, in fact, not earlier than in 2000 when the Bulgarian Haiku Club was founded. Before that, writing of haiku and other short form poetry seemed to be a casual matter for most of the Bulgarian authors. The year of 2000 witnessed the birth of a true haiku community, whose members have since obtained a certain theoretical knowledge and acquired the necessary skills of haiku writing. Their presence is quite noticeable in modern days' Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Haiku Club has published several anthologies and individual books of poetry, and organised several haiku conferences and competitions. We now can say that it has found its niche in the literary and cultural life of Bulgaria, as well as abroad.

      The first anthology published by the Bulgarian Haiku Club, Rain Seeds, appeared in 2001, immediately after the Club was founded. This book was the first of its kind in Bulgaria; its aim was to promote the emerging haiku movement in our country. As it happened, the editors included some three-liners by a few established Bulgarian poets, which, even by the most generous of estimates, could not be described as haiku. Moreover, none of the authors of those poems, some of which were not among the living any more, ever called them haiku. The editors of that volume obviously wanted to raise the prestige of the edition and, so to speak, to enter the Bulgarian literary scene with a bang.

      Subsequent anthologies published by the Bulgarian Haiku Club were thematically organised, as was reflected in their titles: The Flower, The Rose, The Bird, The Road. In these anthologies we can find much less of the famous Bulgarian poets alleged to be authors of haiku than it used to be in Rain Seeds. Instead, some foreign poets were included, some of them unquestionably authoritative figures on the haiku scene. Their inclusion brought to the forefront the contrast between their works (especially if it was translated well enough) and the tercets by some of the Bulgarian haijin. Most of the latter were still searching for their haiku paths, but often went astray writing over-poetic pieces, in which they used personification, comparison, metaphors and abstractions. Inconsistent  poeticisation of the images used in haiku writing is still is one of the fundamental weaknesses of the nascent Bulgarian haijin.

      The Bulgarian Haiku Club now has a huge number of members, and keeps publishing different quality haiku collections by its members. This sometimes casts a shadow of discredit upon the way the genre is dealt with in our country. The lack of a well-developed haiku culture in our country can probably be blamed for a certain amount of confusion that often sets in when some of our authors try to distinguish a haiku from other sorts of short poems. No wonder that many of the Bulgarian readers - and even writers! - still hold on to the belief that all the three-liners, especially 5-7-5 verses, are haiku.

      As a result of the indiscriminate acceptance of new members by the Bulgarian Haiku Club, a group of haijin broke away from the club in 2005, and subsequently founded the Sofia Haiku Club. This new organisation of poets has strict criteria for membership, and most of its members enjoy recognition in Bulgaria, as well as abroad. The most representative anthology of Bulgarian haiku published to date, Mirrors, was compiled and edited by Ludmila Balabanova, haiku poet and President of the Sofia Haiku club. This is a trilingual volume: all the Bulgarian haiku in this book appear alongside the English and the French versions of them. Incidentally, this anthology includes not only works by club members, but also haiku by a number of other Bulgarian authors.

      Over the past few years several haiku conferences took place in Bulgaria. The most important was the Third World Haiku Association Conference held in Sofia and Plovdiv in 2005. More recently, the Sofia Haiku Club organised a conference that had “Haiku and Western Poetry” as its topic. Professor David Lanoue (USA) was a special guest at the conference, where, in addition to reading a paper, he also presented his haiku novel Haiku Guy, which had been translated into Bulgarian by then.

      Strangely enough, there still isn't a single Bulgarian periodical or an e-zine dedicated to haiku. However one can find haiku poems on the pages of Literaturen Vestnik / The Literary Newspaper and also in the literary e-zine entitled Liternet. Both of them have special sections for haiku. This is the way things stand at this particular moment.

English translation by Angela Rodel and Anatoly Kudryavitsky


Poppies in the Rye
by Syrma (Bulgaria)


Haiku & Senryu




a night-hawk circles

its shadow


village airport

we wait in the fog

for the hill to land


harvest moon

a dark cloud

furrows his brow


-- Ernest Berry (New Zealand)






sighing grass...

a marmot nibbling



be colorful

leaf, it's your



at dawn...

the sky delivering



harvest moon...

a mother washing

her newborn


-- Robert Wilson (USA/Philippines)





river song

a fisherman carries

his empty creel


city morning
willowherb seeds
caught on razor wire



a bee bumbles

through nettles


each to its own rock:

the goosanders;

the sounds of the river


-- John Barlow (England)





long day

tree shadows

from fence to fence


the moon barely clears

a backyard maple

tired of the view

I find myself weeding

my neighbor's garden


-- Marie Summers (USA)

dawn train

rosy stripes move

across my dream

badlands of Almeria

a beggar's

dark cracked hand

wires in the wind –

a Morse code of landing

pieces of ice


-- Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Ireland)


Main Street

the bright water dances

in a wheelbarrow


concrete hardened

with the print of a cat

who prowled here once, like me

-- Sean Lysaght (Ireland)

maple leaves


between fingers


tiny white moth

pressed to the window –

rhythm of rain


-- Diana Webb (England)


the snowbirds return
for haircuts

house sale

the man wants his pictures
to stay together


-- Glenn G Coats (USA)






low cut t-shirt
bountiful cleavage –

man talks to it


sunshine's carpet –
all wide eyed

-- Bett Angel-Stawarz (Australia)





hiking to Makapuu Point

someone's name

carved in cactus

-- John Zheng (USA)

morning prayers

a temple elephant

salutes the deity

-- Gautam Nadkarni (India)

in a fountain

downhill to the Casino,

playful ducks

-- Mary O'Donnell (Ireland)

leaf-fall –

earth's begging bowl


-- Hugh O'Donnell (Ireland)


travelling at night

nothing out the window

but myself

-- Stephen Farren (Ireland/Spain)

window rain

wetting those who went before

as I wait to go


-- J.D. Heskin (USA)


mid-morning sun

turning our chairs

bit by bit


-- Rose Hunter (Canada)


city street

the solitary oak

still green

-- Greg Schwartz (USA)



thick fog

the faint honk

of a goose

-- Robert Lucky (China/USA)


in my dream

chasing sheep

getting tired


--  Lewis Ireland (England/Wales)



green apples

dewing on wood


-- Stephen Wegmann (USA)




The Wreck of SaySo

by Charles Hansmann (USA)



It's 9/11, 2002, the first anniversary. Gusts of 60 knots hit Hempstead Harbor. My wife relives the fear, declines to commute to the city, and from our house we watch the boats strain at their moorings. One breaks free and is headed our way - our way, and our boat: it's SaySo. We scramble down the cliff and find it on the rocks. The waves repeatedly lift and drop it, and a hole opens up in the hull. That evening when the wind dies down we salvage what we can until it gets dark: binnacle compass, GPS, ship-to-shore radio. In the morning I'm back for anything we missed. Two hikers are aboard, snooping around, and a third comes out of the cabin. They're Swedes, young and blond, wear rucksacks and try out their English. I feel compelled to be polite - I'm the host: my country, my boat. After they leave I go below and see they have taken my barometer from its mount on the bulkhead. I go back on deck but do not call out or chase them. I let them have their adventure, their little souvenir.



the submerged rocks





Anniversary Getaway

by Zane Parks (USA)

Half Moon Bay. Morning coffee savored on the patio off our room. Squawk and yip of gull and tern. Foghorn in the distance. Diminishing drone of a pair of motorboats as they slip through a gap in the jetty. Waves gently lap the shore.

to-do list
she puts make love
before lunch