Shamrock Haiku Journal

Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world

Issue 10



Haiku Journal

of the Irish Haiku Society

Focus on


winter day -
in my aunt's drawer,
a collection of butterflies

red stain
on the carpet -
a snail retreats

lamp burning hot -
a spider escapes
into darkness

turtle pausing   my father's foot

cherry blossoms in her hair -
the girl buying
a wedding dress

-- Sara Aguzzoni (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

wave by wave
the sea syllables
its secret

beneath the waves,
an underwater lamp -
shining sun

among the algae
fish with silvery sides

-- Enrico Bagnato (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

in the pine wood,
a dancing white ghost...
the fog

-- Silvia Berti (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

icy dawn
in the 'Laugh Often' mug,
first coffee

a lonely bee
at the roses

-- Carlo Bramanti (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

in the puddle,
a snowman's

-- Alessandro Calamia (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

thin fog -
a tile dripping
with moonbeams

Hiroshima sun -
a toddler in the playground
screws his eyes tight

old magazines -
in the doctor's waiting room
only O.A.P.s

war museum -
a skylark's song
breaks the silence

frosty night -
the echo of a tolling bell
opens up the sky

-- Andrea Cecon (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

purely by chance,
a cricket on my hand
while I'm reading

-- Livia Cesarin (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a white carpet
for my journey

-- Giacomo Cucinotta (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

rain over the night sea
I dream of
distant countries

-- Alessandro Domian (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

squeezed into the nest,
three baby blackbirds dream up
their first flight

beautiful as always,
last blossoms of the dying
apple tree

three pine-trees -
bowing to observe the city
that surrounds them

each day at sunset
crowning itself with a new sky -
the city

a wren in flight -
almost invisible
among these falling leaves

-- Riccardo Duranti (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

ruined tower -
on duty as a sentry,
the owl

-- Moussia Fantoli (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

autumn day -
an island in the brown pool,

-- Laura Forgnone (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

jumping into the sky
from city roofs
swallows of spring

autumn sand
the world has disappeared
into the spiral shell

reading an old letter -
smell of the last

a rain song,
without haste
filling the room

-- Gabbiano (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

dense fog
the clang of a tram bell

-- Franko Galato (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

in this old temple,
it could be me praying
not knowing it

the setting sun
grazing an antique mirror -
rainbows everywhere

thinning hair...
growing old together,
this brush and I

-- Giorgio Gazzolo (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a sailboat
jumping over the waves

caressing the sea

-- Stefani Grotti (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

hurried tramping of feet
on the road -
fallen leaves dry slowly

wind swaying
poppies on the hillside
a red cloak

-- Oscar Luparia (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

out of the shade,
a heron flaps her wings -
first sunbeams

spring has arrived
each leaf chooses
a wind

no safety net
acrobats hopping
over the rainbow

the flight of gulls
around their nest

candles in the wind   Ursa Minor

-- Toni Piccini (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

carrying a crystal -
second sun in the water

the wind in cherry-trees
the pool wearing
a white veil

-- Claudia Sandroni (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

at midnight,
the tolling of a bell
and an unexpected guest

-- Dino Sessa (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

down in the valley,
the rustling of flowers -
almond trees in bloom

heroic siesta -
I bend a stem and save
a buzzing bee

I hear
somebody's whimper -
silent snowdrop buds

-- Maria Serena Siena (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

August rain
pomegranates shed
red tears

a mouse scratches himself
behind shadow walls
sleepless night

timid faces
of lemons
the light of dawn

-- Emilio Paolo Taormina (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

falling leaves -
black butterflies
against the setting sun

-- Elisabetta Tonazzi (transl. by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

the sun's smile
stretched from ear to ear
one hundred golden teeth

-- Fabrizio Virgili (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



Haiku in Italy

Italy has a long tradition of poetry writing that employs a wide range of topics and uses various metrical forms. Haiku is not an easy genre for those who try to write in this style, as acquiring the necessary skills usually takes a considerable amount of time. Italian poets certainly haven't got used to the simplicity and the brevity of haiku, however they seem to like the challenge. This accounts for the flourishing of haiku groups in our country. Their participants are committed not only to composing, but also to discussing haiku poems. Another thing, they try to popularise this trend of poetry in our country, and seem to be quite successful here, as many of the members of the afore-mentioned groups have their poems awarded in the competitions that periodically run inside the country. Not many of the poets actually adhere to the Japanese rules of writing 5-7-5 haiku, or, wider, haiku that have seventeen syllables. This isn't a bad thing, however even less of our haijin use kigo and rhythmical equivalents of kireji composing their poems. Instead of using a proper kigo, some of them with dull regularity use the name of a season, and sometimes would even make words like "Autumn" or "Spring" the titles of their haiku forgetting that there shouldn't be any. This is an unevitable blemish that follows the widespread haiku expansion in our country but I don't see any huge problem here, as with the passing of time more of our poets will learn to write sublime haiku.

Talking about haiku associations in our country, I must mention the national haiku association founded in 1987 in Rome by Sono Uchida, the well-known Japanese haijin and the ambassador of Japan in Vatican. Also involved in the establishing of the first Italian haiku associaton were Michiko Nojiri, the European representative of the Urasenke House that organises Japanese tea ceremonies all around the world, and Marisa di Iorio of the Empiria Publishing House. I joined them on return from a prolonged stay in Japan. Subsequently the national association called Italian Friends of the haiku (Associazione Italiana Amici dell'Haiku) was founded. The further development of it was facilitated by the interest from Araki Tadao, the Ambassador of Japan  and a fine poet. The association publishes an information bulletin titled Yasude; it is edited by Michiko Nojiri and myself. The activity of the Empiria Publishing House ( has lately increased, which resulted in the publication of translations of some works by ancient and modern Japanese poets, as well as by the leading Italian authors of haiku.

In the end of June 2009 the annual prize-giving ceremony will take place in Rome: the Institute of Japanese Culture (Istituto di cultura giapponese di Roma) will award the best haiku written in the Italian language according to the Japanese metrics (Premio letterario nazionale de haiku). This prize was first introduced twenty-three years ago, and is still being awarded. A special prize is always given to the best haiku written by students of Italian primary and secondary schools. This is one of the successful initiatives of the Association of Italian Friends of Haiku, and I must mention that over the course of the last two decades we had many interesting discoveries in this category, and some exciting new poets have joined the ranks of our haijin.

Carla Vasio (translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)


"Cliffs and Waves" by Gabbiano (Italy)


Haiku and Senryu


over mudflats
the winter light pinpoints
a boat's blue hull


through the rat-run a fox's sideways trot


behind an ait
the river levels
an ancient slipway


hail and sleet
the barber nips next door
to lay a bet

-- Matthew Paul (England)



tonight no one talks
about the drought


heat lightning
in a meadow
charging bulls


lunch bell
migrants eat with one hand
pick with the other


long drought
a large raven stays put
on the scarecrow

-- William Cullen Jr. (USA)



bonfire night
the village shopkeeper
donating apple crates


desolate crag -
bracing the wind,
two mating gulls


sea storm -
in the whispering cove,
a blush of sea pinks


so many cherry trees!
the pastel hues
of April rain

-- Aisling White (Ireland)



aspen in the rain
each leaf dripping with
the sound of autumn


Waterloo Day -
through the dusty haze,
a row of cypresses


March has arrived
camellia's red eyes
watching a hare


war museum
two gas masks
staring at each other

-- Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Ireland)



seaside park
cherry blossom petals
billow along the path


acacia leaves
the golden touch
of evening light


deserted harbour
gulls tussle for crabs
at low tide


scent of jasmine
a bullfrog croaks
the advent of the night

-- Sharon Burrell (Ireland)



leaf strewn square
a pigeon walks
a corridor of sunlight


creaks in the wood
from an ancient bench
autumn hills


poppies in winter
round the war-memorial
snow-white silence

-- Diana Webb (England)



morning thaw
the old shack's
creaking bones


home at last
carefully dried birch wood
spits its welcome


the scent of pine needles
with each step

-- Mark Miller (Australia)



taste of clover
a bumblebee's first journey
from home


harvest moon
a scarecrow shivers


blood moon
many flaming hands
paint the sky

-- Albert Schlaht (USA)



late evening blue
how alone
this star


warm spring sun
a pile of dikon*


amongst all these blossoms
just one bud

-- Sean O'Connor (Ireland - Japan)

* Dikon (daikon) - white East-Asian raddish



full moon falling on the herb rack


Easter morning daffodils reduced


leaf fall
the gardener's
pursed lips

-- Helen Buckingham (England)



shed snakeskin
that were its eyes


wind stirs
the pine trees...
empty mailbox


dewy morning
a frog nestled
in the rain gauge

-- Nathalie Buckland (Australia)



dawn light
the blackness of fishermen
on the point


glass-bottom boat
the reef fish swims
in its own circle

-- Quendryth Young (Australia)



snow covers
the makeshift shrine
a long winter


the bartender
bends to her story
winter night

-- Glenn G. Coats (USA)



mist in the creek
the blue blur
of a kingfisher


her silence -
wrapping the scarf tighter
around my neck

-- Bob Lucky (USA)



slack tide
a heron ankle deep
in ripples


things to do...
the all-day drip
of an icicle

-- Susan Constable (Canada)



grandson on his knee,
the pig farmer counts shoats
from the porch


morning ground fog -
beyond the fence line, the same
squawking rooster

-- Al Ortolani (USA)



spring rain
the grey sky blushes with
cherry blossom petals

monks' path
on a drizzling day -
a bug under the cold rock

-- Anima Yamamoto (Japan - England)



walled up windows
the gaping mouth
of a derelict postbox


the steep slope
of a derelict graveyard -
that heart shaped stone

-- Irene Brown (Scotland)



scattered sheep
in an early morning field -
boulders in the mist


talking it out
with my absent wife

-- Michael Massey (Ireland)


eyeing the moon
from the pipal tree,
a magpie

empty gin bottle
reflecting the flight
of geese

-- Andrew Caldicott (Ireland)

cherry blossom fire
kissing the garden
to sleep

-- Patrick Chapman (Ireland)



tightrope walker off duty
his rope serves
as a clothes-line

-- Gautam Nadkarni (India)



first of May
a beggar leans against
the hospital wall

-- Hugh O'Donnell (Ireland)



frosty tips of grass
crows' tails
lifted to the sky

-- Natalie Arkins (Ireland)



rain on the window
an unfurling snail plucked
from its thrush-cracked shell

-- Tony Bailie (Ireland)



mowing the lawn
I pretend not to hear
the grass screaming

-- J.D. Heskin (USA)



beads of hail
peppering bonnets
gather round

-- Evan Costigan (Ireland)



gravel after rain
patches of pink and yellow

-- Sinéad McDevitt (Ireland)



cut branches on pine tree
cat steps up
to shade

-- Elisabeth Crocket (Canada)



bearberry trunk
the color of rain

-- Sergio Ortiz (Puerto Rico)






Deep North

by Cynthia Rowe (Australia)

Jamming on my old straw hat, I clamber aboard. The engines throb, tossing diesel fumes into the air, filling the Gulf with wisps of smoke to create a crazed Wedgwood bowl. Tourists push past, heading for the railings. The boat creaks. Shards of water spurt from the stern until the foam curls a Territorian farewell. On the port side a man clad in army disposal shorts drops to his haunches, stares at his hands in reverie. His sunburnt paws resemble salted fish.

a crocodile cruising
on the waterway

The vessel ploughs through an ore blue sea. The island blob, dark in Carpentaria distance, finally takes shape. The air is thick. I can almost taste the humidity as the boat slows, then edges into the jetty. Stepping ashore, I am confronted by the same boy with the ebony skin. I refuse his long bum shellfish, opt for the mud crab. After handing him a fistful of coins, I examine my purchase only to discover yellow eggs on the underside. I untie the pincers, watch the crustacean scuttle to safety beneath a prop root.

tropical sun
mangroves delving
into sand mud




Pennsylvania Turnpike

by Sheila M. Ross (Canada)


Driving through a perfect summer night, car windows open, we take the 160 mile Pennsylvania Turnpike heading west through the Allegheny Mountains. This road quickly pulls us up 4000 feet into the cool crisp night. Bright stars, vehicle lights pierce the dark.

The heavy traffic - cars and transport trucks - push us to high speeds as we white-knuckle tight right and left ess bends that hug the sides of the old mountains, and drive the seven tunnels that drill through the mountain tops. In the dark the endless road repair sites and perilous drop-offs are almost invisible.

Suddenly fireworks rise into the sky from valley towns and villages. They explode beside us, beneath us - fill the valley skies with glittering comets, giant fountains, fireballs, shooting stars, waterfalls ... silver, scarlet, gold, green, blue.


unknown and uninvited
turnpike travelers share
July Fourth celebrations


From sundown into the late night, the cool mountain air holds shimmering after-images. A light wind brings the rich odour of cordite through our open windows... the only clouds that slowly drift across the mountains.

cordite memories
holiday fireworks
compete with the stars



Book Review

Încă un pas / One More Step
Haiku Vol. 5

By Stefan G. Theodoru

Editura Amurg Sentimental
Bucharest, 2008
160 pp, ISBN: 978-973-678-246-6
Available from the publisher

The new bilingual collection by one of the oldest Romanian haijin is marked as his Vol. 5. It is reassuring to see how Romanians preserve their cultural heritage.

Stefan G. Theodoru (b. 1921) has been living in the USA, specifically on Long Island, since 1964. He is one of the group of poets who were behind the founding of the Romanian Haiku Society. Theodoru is a scientist and a writer, a quite prolific one. The list of his publications includes novels, books of short poems, plays, memoirs and poetry, and occupies three pages in the reviewed book.

This particular volume - the only one we have seen so far - comprises one hundred and thirty-one poems. It is supposed to be a collection of haiku, however quite a number of aphorisms find their way onto its pages, especially towards the end of the book. Some of them can fairly be classed as commonplaces:

there are questions
without answers - maybe
better this way


too many advices
led to confusion

Anyway, there are more haiku than non-haiku poems in the book, so the readers have their 'food for thought' both ways. First thing an English-speaking reader won't fail to notice is that the translations are often not up to the standard. "News at television", "alone for a months", etc... Sometimes it is even difficult to understand what the author/translator is trying to say. E.g.

dripping icicles
on dry leaves -
drum beating sounds

Is it about icicles growing on leaves? And about sounds beating the drum? Or vice versa? Or should it have been written in this way:

dripping onto dry leaves -
quiet drumming

Once again, our advice to haiku poets, non-native speakers of English, would be to refrain from translating their own poems - or at least from publishing their efforts. This is not the case where one can use his DIY skills...

To be fair to the author, there is a great deal of interesting poems in the book. A few that we particularly liked:

a dark statue -
on its stretched out hand
a white pigeon

home-made cookies
at [the] supermarket

a plastic tulip
forgotten in the garden -
narcissus[es] around

Mr. Theodoru clearly is a keen observer, and he often finds unusual combinations of images that work very well together in his poems. This is why his work is so highly regarded in his country. We are quite sure that many of Mr. Theodoru's poems that look faded in English shine in all the colours of the spectrum in the original Romanian. We look forward to English versions of his best haiku provided by a professional translator of poetry.

Anatoly Kudryavitsky           


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

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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