Shamrock Haiku Journal

Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world

Issue 5



Haiku Journal

of the Irish Haiku Society

Dear Readers,

Shamrock Haiku Journal is entering its second year. Four issues comprised of works by 126 poets from all over the world appeared in the course of 2007. We are planning to publish more quality texts in the future. Keep sending us interesting material! Thank you.



Shamrock Haiku Journal Readers' Choice Awards


We invite all the readers of Shamrock Haiku Journal to vote for the best haiku/senryu poem published in 2007, i.e. in the first FOUR issues of Shamrock (you cannot vote for your own poem, though). To vote, send an e-mail to irishhaikusociety[at] with "Best haiku of 2007" in the subject line. Please insert the full text of the poem you vote for (only ONE poem) plus the name of its author in the body of your e-mail. The deadline for vote is May 31st, 2008. The best poems will be named in the next issue of Shamrock Haiku Journal.

Re: “Haiku Calendar Ludbreg Contest 2008" Results

Having read some of the winning haiku from the “Haiku Calendar Ludbreg Contest 2008", we were left in a state of bewilderment. A few quotes from them:

“a bough full of Spring”


“little puppies forgot
their pawprints”


“his postbox is empty
again and again”


“Child’s hand
in a joyous dream
reached for a bird”


This English-language haiku competition was held in Croatia, and had all-Croatian adjudicators. We are wondering if there is a slightest possibility that the organizers of such haiku contests employ native speakers of English, or at least advanced-level English speakers, as the adjudicators. Otherwise we’ll be getting more of the same, i.e. prize-winning haiku written in shockingly bad English.


Focus on


Monday morning

a low-spirited  mason

climbs his ladder




first mowing –

a year-old rust

disappears in the grass




falling leaves

in the autumn light


-- Jean Antonini (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





forgotten rake –

red leaves left unattended,

autumn in suspense


-- Anick Baulard (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





a shell crater –

water in it accommodates

the whole sky


-- Maurice Betz (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





in less than a day

this white chrysanthemum

has turned purple

-- Patrick Blanche (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





the silence of dawn

snow falls

on snow


-- Philippe Bréham (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





under the Milky Way

a pale olive sapling

reaches skyward


shadow of the apple tree

each day it lengthens

with the autumn sun                        


-- Richard Breitner (transl. by Aisling White)





old oak at dusk

the sun momentarily

lends it a heart


-- Philippe Caquant (transl. by Aisling White)





farmers’ young son –

parents present him

with a toy tractor


-- Philippe Caquant (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





deserted beech –

under a round log,

two lively ants


-- André Cayrel (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





summer storm

my neighbours’ lingerie

hanging on


-- Jean-Claude Cesar (transl. by Aisling White)





tuesday’s cigarette –

the lawnmower’s four-stroke engine

works fine


-- Jean-Claude Cesar (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





drowsiness –

outside the train windows,

swaying corn


-- Henri Chevignard (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





opening my window

after the storm –

thousands of droplets




heat engulfs

the café terraces –

more eyes half closed




he folds his arms,

the man watching a monkey

with folded arms




original colours…

the same wallpaper

in old photos




lying next to scissors,

the tax form…



-- Dominique Chipot (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





a star above the ocean

caressing the white sands,

bathing the waves




midday sun

its crystal light

caressing the satin


-- Mary Jo Claus (transl. by Aisling White)

always first to bloom

this cherry tree

in the graveyard




into the bowl

that survived last night's earthquake

I place my wedding ring   




front door, just closed –

how long shall they be apart,

these two butterflies?




spring snow –

it has melted on all the graves

but one




ocean outpost

for a couple of gulls:

the flat-top rock


-- Gilles Fabre (transl. by the author)

breathing spring…

the quail’s nest built upon

a rusty grenade




having deciphered

the meaning of flowers

I’ve lost my way


-- Georges Friedenkraft (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





dried coffee drop

on a cold table –

end of the weekend





the moon a bit less round





winter storm

grey clouds following

grey clouds




broken glasses

in rubbish bins –

first day of the year




first morning –

a veil of mist

covers all


-- Damien Gabriels (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





the menhirs

lined up toward something

that must have happened here


-- Guillevic (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





misty garden

an old man strews ashes

from his stove




melting snow

an old scarecrow’s feet

in the water


-- Bruno Hulin (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





thrown to the deck…

in the eyes of a dead fish,

the horizon




receding from us

bit by bit –

the night




surrounded by people,


walking the black dog




whispering to high tide,

those lying

on the seabed


-- Alain Kervern (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





end of the holidays

my computer

hums again




midnight in Marseille –

boats in the harbour

greet the New Year


-- Marylène Lallemand (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





village square

a hen, all alone,

takes a stroll




part of their journey…

two black beetles

crossing the road




her lilywhite


the ides of March




not having heard the news,

dozens of butterflies

hover in the grass




a tree-top

tickling the nose of

a Giant Buddha


-- Daniel Py (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





October mist –

no boats around,

just hooting




everybody’s crying

at today’s funeral

the baby too


-- Luc Rose (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





sweet-scented summer –

the shadow of an ash-tree

sways the yellow grass


-- Francis Tugayé (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





full moon –

a slug on the rock

follows a shiny path


-- François Vaudour (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)







A few French-Canadian Haiku


Sunday calm –

a sudden gust of wind

makes the cat flee




autumn morning –

inside the book by Buson,

a jay’s feather


-- Janick Belleau (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





home from the fields –

our shoes resting at last

against the door




a cat in the rain

soaked to the skin

his eyes brim over


-- Yves Brillon  transl. by Aisling White)





even as the bustards

take to the air

summer slips away


-- Yves Brillon (transl. by Roisin De Faoite)





the new lamp

highlighting scars

on the old wall




meeting by chance

after all these years...

our short grey hair


-- André Duhaime (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)





lowland maples

my hand pauses its progress

on the white page


-- Jocelyne Villeneuve (transl. by Aisling White)





French Haiku

by Gilles Fabre


According to George Swede’s article in Simply Haiku, a certain
Jose Juan Tablada of Portugal wrote a haiku sequence while visiting Yokahama in 1900. Also mentioned in this article is Hendrik Doeff, a Dutchman who worked for the Dutch East India Company in Nagasaki between 1798 and 1817; he taught himself Japanese, wrote two haiku and published a Latin transliteration of them in Japanese periodicals. These seem to be the first ever non-Japanese haiku. In 1903 the haiku movement started in the West, notably in France, where a group of writers published a collection of their work after visiting Japan on a cultural exchange trip and discovering the unexplored world of Japanese haiku. Exhibitions of Japanese prints and artworks in the early 20th century also had a major influence on writers and painters. The above-mentioned collection titled Au fil de l'eau (Going with the flow) was written by a group of poets that included Julien Vocance and Paul Louis Couchoud in the course of their travels along French rivers and canals on board a barge. This is quite in line with the tradition of social gatherings and wanderings in nature that became customary in the haiku world. Here is one of the haiku by Paul-Louis Couchoud:

how will she reap
the whole field?
her sickle so small

Then an anthology of Japanese literature in French translation by Michel Revon was published in
Paris in 1906 (according to other sources, in 1910). After that, quite a number of French magazines (among them, La Nouvelle Revue Française) started publishing haiku, including those written by the surrealists’ guru Paul Eluard. Many worthy haiku were written by French poets during the First World War; they were later unearthed and published in Vocance’s 100 Visions of War, as well as in other anthologies. Julien Vocance’s haiku can be rather emotional:

all night facing
the giant army,
two men in a hole

Some other well-known French and French-speaking poets were also involved in haiku writing. Louis Calaferte published a collection of haiku written in his garden. Philippe Jaccottet, using some notes taken while walking in nature, published a collection of haiku (Airs, 1964); he also translated some classical haiku. The travel-writer Nicolas Bouviers, who drove all over Japan, translated Basho’s famous account of his travel to the North Provinces. Finally, Kenneth White, the founder of the International Institute of Geopoetics, a haiku enthusiast and an occasional haiku poet, acknowledged - like Jaccottet before him - that Basho’s work and, generally, haiku had influenced his writing and the way of thinking.

A great deal of work was done by Alain Kervern, a master poet and a skilful translator, who provided French-speaking haiku poets with plenty of haiku texts and information on haiku and on nature (including lists of plants, flowers, animals, minerals, etc.). He published his magnum opus in five volumes, and it took him ten years to get it done. It is also worth mentioning that all the texts left by the Basho school (haiku and renga poems) have been translated to French by René Sieffert, and now are available in the shops, all the seven volumes! Most of them haven’t been translated to other languages yet.

In the late 1990’s, André Duhaime of Canada published his international haiku anthology comprised of more than 2,000 haiku from 24 countries (ten poets per country, on average), in their original language and in French translation. This anthology now is available online at

There is quite a number of haiku groups and associations in modern days’ France and French-speaking countries. Among them, Association pour la Promotion du Haïku ( and Association Française du Haïku ( that promote and share haiku by organising meetings and publishing haiku on their websites and in other publications. Haiku collections and anthologies are easily accessible. Moundarren has published more than 20 volumes by all the major Japanese poets, from Basho to Hozai Ozaki to Santoka Taneda. Design quality of their books is irreproachable, and so is the quality of the translations.



Gilles Fabre’s collection of haiku titled Because of a Seagull was published in 2005 by The Fishing Cat Press.



"Arbat" by Emilie Akoka (Paris, France)


Haiku & Senryu

lookout point

the stones

share our silence





sweeping up

the old dog's coat




last words

green tea

darkens in the pot




mountain road

a floral tribute

on every corner


-- Graham Nunn (Australia)




the tilted alder –

toddlers meet

each other's stare

both of us

stock still:

the fox and I

the groundsman marks

where the bye line will be

two magpies

bluish snowdrops

the wrong hand

in the wrong glove

-- Matthew Paul (England)





wool skeins

the shades of winters past

sorted anew




the blossom wind

even broad bean flowers

tossing their heads




lost pet frog –

anonymous bumps

in the duckweed




the road home

all the old milestones

flashing by


-- Lorin Ford (Australia)





shallow stream

I wade deeper

into starlight


abandoned mill

the dark water keeps

its secret




talking in bed

I forget his name...

second husband


-- Roberta Beary (USA)





wrapped round the tracks

my shadow stands

for the passing train

sparrowhawk's return

the cat's grave

covered in feathers

down country lanes

at every corner

a flock of jackdaws


-- David Serjeant (England)





spring afternoon…

pigeons jostle for position

on the college roof




ghee stain

on the mattress

an indelible moon




deserted car park       

a woman with a pushchair

chases a pigeon


-- Helen Buckingham (England)





North wind

a dead spider adrift

of its tattered web




October moon –

in the old oak,

a white cat’s face




summer mowing –

a spider crouching

in my trouser turn-ups


-- Aisling White (Ireland)





summer’s end

the old swing hangs

a little lower




rolling prairie

a line of windmills

stirs the clouds


-- Susan Constable (Canada)





fingernail clippings

on a black marble worktop –

the New Moon




summer lingering –

in an opened book,

pressed flowers


-- John Sheahan (Ireland)





cloud breaks

yellow leaves shake hands

with the sun




sudden shower

the bog stitched with

silver lamé


-- Michael Gallagher (Ireland)





shadow of a willow

the grass

feels colder




out of the empty sleeve   steam


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





crows chasing the kite

as it rises high,

they leave it


-- Aju Mukhopadhyay (India)





tiny frog…

a breaststroke kick

doubles its length


­-- Quendryth Young (Australia)





old diary

the lock no longer needs

a key


-- Nathalie Buckland (Australia)





autumn wind

the patch of blue

scoots southward


-- Laryalee Fraser (Canada)




storm clouds

seaweed sways

as the seal passes


-- William Gibb Forsyth (Ireland)





midwinter dusk

the wind has colours

and weight


-- Kim Horne (Canada)






the urge to take

another breath


-- Curtis Fisher (USA)





empty stalls

on the for sale sign

letters fade


-- Glenn G. Coats (USA)





rice in husk

drying on the street,

an eye out for chickens


-- Michael Morical (Taiwan-USA)






queuing behind

the seagulls


-- Allison Millcock (Australia)



The Baldwin Hills Dam

by Adelaide B. Shaw (USA)

December 14, 1963. The peace of a Saturday afternoon shattered by helicopters. Police cars cover the streets, bull horns at full volume.


People rushing outside. What dam? Where?

"Didn't you know? In those hills."

"No, we didn't know. Just moved here two weeks ago."

courtyard Christmas tree –
silver ornaments
reflect the sun


Turn off the oven. Grab the two children, bottles, diapers. What else? We don't know. Take one car. Don't be separated. Lock the door. East? West? North. To my mother's house.

Rock and roll on the car radio. Jingle Bells and Rudolph. Where's the news? Another block, then another. A slow moving line of cars. Tense faces and short tempers.

"It's going….going…It's GONE! Gushing water… gaining momentum… cutting a swath down the hillside along Cloverdale Road." The announcer, reporting from a helicopter, is breathless. "Still coming…292 million gallons…trees uprooted…houses breaking apart…cars tumbling."

Our apartment is not in the direct path, but still… In silence we worry.

Traffic begins to thin out as we travel further north.

puffy clouds –
at a neighborhood playground
children play dodge ball

We watch the news at my parents' house. An hour and a half to empty the dam. Nine feet of water on the Village Green apartments. Five dead. Eighteen rescued from roof tops and collapsed houses.

Early the next morning we are allowed in the area temporarily. Already a sour smell from dirty water and debris. At our apartment door, a water line at two feet, but only a puddle inside. Our Volkswagen–the engine, clogged with grit.

It could have been worse.

Sunday church bells
to and from the door
the sucking mud