Shamrock Haiku Journal

Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world

Shamrock No 13



Haiku Journal

of the Irish Haiku Society


Shamrock Haiku Journal Readers' Choice Award 2009



This year we have joint winners. The following two pieces, which were both published in our No 12, were voted the best haiku poems that appeared in Shamrock Haiku Journal in 2009:


funeral –
spring wind
wrapped in flag

-- Dimitar Anakiev (Slovenia, transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

rainbow –
seven flavours 
of rain

-- Hugh O'Donnell (Ireland)

The following two haiku that first appeared in our No 10 
were close runner-ups

in the puddle,
a snowman's

-- Alessandro Calamia (Italy, transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

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

-- Aisling White (Ireland)



Again, we have joint winners:


war museum
two gas masks
staring at each other

-- Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Ireland), first published in our No 10


tin soldiers
the quick and the dead
in the same box

-- Max Verhart (The Netherlands, transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky); initially appeared in our No 11


(Nota bene: naturally, none of our authors voted for his/her own poems/translations)


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


Focus on





autumn rain –
under the eaves
a dove

-- Félix Alcántara Llarenas (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




waves come
and bring memories –
watching them go


vibrating air –
at the water’s edge,
a dragonfly

-- Francisco Basallote (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




in the parched
trail of a snail,
the shining of the moon


small hoofprints…
the smell of the herd
still there

-- Susana Benet (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



an image of your hand
touching the rose

-- Felipe Benítez Reyes (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




first buds
the memories
of a peach tree


winter’s end –
white birch,
the skeleton of snow

-- Valentín Carcelén Ballesteros (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




twilight time
a small pond
begins to shine


only your persistence
keeps you alive in winter,
barren tree

-- José Cereijo (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




what an obstinate bird!
always sings the same note –
like myself


gate with roses and the Virgin –
open to all
everybody thankful

-- Ernestina de Champourcin (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



first drops of rain
fish in the pond
goes blurry


dead blackbird
his yellow beak
not one bit less yellow

-- Luis Corrales (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




old man smiles, too
a peacock’s tail

-- Jordi Doce (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




dead bird
what a silent agony
of feathers!


summer rain
placing nests in the 
green crowns of trees

-- Juan José Domenchina (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)


birds fall silent,
the air trembles…
the passing of cranes

-- Montserrat Doucet (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

Gypsy elder
under the cloudy sky
a dog barks at him

-- David González (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




a few pigeons
pecking the
wedding rice


sparrows and the wind
exploring the branches
of a fir-tree

-- Guillermo López Gallego (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




so lonely,
a crow’s feather
in the snow

-- Antonio Manilla (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




east wind
the petals of a rose

-- Jesús Montero Marchena (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




fluttering on the
railway platform
a butterfly

-- Jesús Munárriz (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




autumn wind
seeds inside
the egg-plant


quinces falling
to the cracked ground
of the orchard


the knife cuts
through a melon
the breeze drops

--Victoria Porras (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




cleaning funeral tablets
an old man
stops to read the names

-- Gabriel Segovia (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




tap water
tastes like pencil
childhood memories


leafless plum trees
all the nests


each one has
it's own shadow

-- Frutos Soriano (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)




guiding the morning,
it doesn’t know me

-- Almudena Urbina (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



endowing the world
with thousands of mirrors,
the rain

-- Diego Valverde Villena (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)






Haiku in Spain

by Susana Benet


At the beginning of the 20th century, when haiku were first introduced to Spanish readers, another strict form of short poetry already existed in our language and was immensely popular among our people; it is called “seguidilla”. Apart from being the name of a traditional literary form, this word also describes a certain kind of Andalusian gypsy or flamenco songs. Seguidilla is a 5-7-5-7 verse; here is an example of it, a seguidilla written by the famous Federico García Lorca:

Hacia Roma caminan

dos peregrinos,

a que los case el Papa,

porque son primos.


(Federico García Lorca. Los peregrinos)


(Two pilgrims are walking / to Rome / to be married by the Pope, / because they are cousins)


There were several factors that contributed to the development of the haiku genre in Spain. First of all, our poets have always been in a close contact with their French colleagues. France was the first country where an attempt was made to adopt this Japanese genre making it suitable for Western readers. This was the age of modernism and symbolism, the two artistic movements that opposed realism and had as their utmost goal the quest for pure beauty, also assimilating elements of some exotic cultures, not only in architecture and decorative arts, but in literature, as well.


Another interesting phenomenon was the development of haiku in South America. In 1919, the first book of haiku in Spanish was published; it was titled “One day", and its author, the Mexican poet José Juan Tablada, used the words "haikai" and “synthetic poems" to describe this particular type of poetry. Tablada was inspired by classical Japanese haiku, although in his own poems he didn’t follow the 5-7-5 pattern.

Tierno saúz, / casi oro, casi ámbar,/ casi luz…

(Tender willow / almost gold, almost amber / almost light…)


When the poet Antonio Machado arrived in Paris, he discovered Chinese and Japanese poetry. According to Octavio Paz, Machado tried to mix haiku and popular songs, and consequently started creating poems based on a contemplation of nature and its transmutations. He followed the oriental tradition, but used the images he had chosen in the spirit of the Spanish cultural tradition.


Junto al agua negra / olor de mar y jazmines. / Noche malagueña.

By the black water / the smell of sea and jasmine. / Night in Malaga.


Another Andalusian poet of the so-called “generation 27”, Juan Ramon Jiménez, was also interested in haiku, which he probably read in English translation. Jiménez was an impressionist; he always used picturesque images and admired brevity in poetry writing, which can account for the fact that he was a big admirer of haiku.


Está el árbol en flor / y la noche le quita, cada día / la mitad de las flores.

The tree blooming - / each day the night removes / half of its blossoms.)


The years of the Spanish Civil War can be described as a period when haiku writing came to a standstill. Even after the war silence reigned for about thirty years. In the post-war period, many poets thought more important to develop poetry written according to their own cultural traditions.


The beginning of the 1970’s witnessed the resurgence of haiku due to the publication of “The Narrow Road to the Northern Provinces”, the major Basho's work translated into Spanish by Eikichi Hayashiya and Octavio Paz. Other factors that contributed to the newly found interest in haiku were the growing popularity of Buddhism, publications of English-language haiku poets and the influence of the beatnik writers, e.g. Jack Kerouac. Finally, there have always been contacts with the South American poets, and in those parts the interest in haiku never faded.


In 1972, Prof. Fernando Rodríguez-Izquierdo published his detailed haiku manual titled “The Japanese haiku" (Hiperión Publishing). The same Hiperión helped to promote haiku in Spain by translating classical Japanese poets, and the same did some other Spanish publishers, e.g. Pre-textos and Miraguano. Two other haiku scholars, Vicente Haya Segovia and Pedro Aullón de Haro, also published monographs on haiku, as well as their translations from Japanese masters of the genre. Notably, Pedro Aullón de Haro authored the book entitled “Haiku in Spain”.


Among the Spanish poets who tried their hand at haiku writing were Jesus Munárriz, José Mateos, José Cereijo, Antonio Cabrera, María Victoria Porras, Juan Francisco Pérez, Frutos Soriano, et al. Over the last decade several anthologies of Spanish haiku have been published; among them were such books as “Aldea poética”, “Alfileres”, “Poetas de corazón japonés” and “Tertulia de haiku”. We should give a special mention to the University of Castilla-La Mancha that held international Spanish-language haiku contests for a number of years and subsequently published anthologies of the award-winning haiku. In summer 2009 the same university organised also the “1º Encuentro Hispanoamericano de Haiku” in Albacete.


In recent years several associations of haiku poets have been founded in our country, e.g. the "Asociación Valenciana de Haiku" and the “Asociación de la Gente del Haiku en Albacete” (AGHA). Spanish haiku now have a significant presence on the Internet. There are several websites offering information about haiku. They also host forums where people can learn about the haiku form and post their own poems. The best known sites are “El rincón del haiku", "Paseos" and "No-Michi" (yet another important website dedicated to Spanish haiku, “Haikuweb”, has unfortunately gone off the web when Yahoo closed their Geocities hosting – ed.)


In conclusion, we should mention that the interest in haiku in our country is on the increase. We won’t be exaggerating too much if we say that haiku became firmly established as a genre of Spanish poetry.



Translated by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky 

Susana Benet is a Spanish writer, a haijin, a creative writing tutor and a psychologist; she lives in Valencia.





"Fishing Boats" by Lopez (Spain)





Haiku and Senryu

high noon
every cicada
has come to town

the flush of her face
before the thunder

All Souls' Day
a cicada's shell
in a sunbeam

-- William Cullen Jr (USA)

long day
my car's central locking
clunks it's welcome

disused post office
in the doorway
mail builds up

suddenly I notice it
the sideways dart
of a hoverfly

the silence of pines
midges trapped
in a shaft of sunlight

-- David Serjeant (England)

dusty heat
the smell of diesel
and manure

field of dandelions…
the wind
beats me to it

dust storm
a trickle of blood
from the horse's nose

heat lightning
the only gas station
for a hundred miles

-- Chad Lee Robinson (USA)

Advent night
a coot against the river
gets nowhere fast
a dabchick skids
across the green river -
winter solstice
cockleshell bridge
the chalkstream quickens
over riffles

-- Matthew Paul (England)

day moon
sneaking through the traffic
a unicycle  

summer's end
advent calendars
deck the shelves

Boxing Day lunch -
the bigger crows already
beside themselves

-- Helen Buckingham (England)

fresh snow
the weight
of her robe

homeless man
wind scatters seed
from the feeder

-- Glenn G. Coats (USA)

morning moon -
above the hoarfrost
a gentle lowing

beyond the slope
of a seagull’s wings,
snow-capped mountain

-- Susan Constable (Canada)

deep shadows
at the creek’s bend -
a dog howls

zephyr breeze
sways the spider web

-- Nathalie Buckland (Australia)

winter beach at dawn
sea oats
tickle the sun

bulging acorn
the grey squirrel
adjusts his grip

-- Bill Cooper (USA)

low over
rose waters
a heron

velveting the derelict roof a patch of moon

-- Clare Mc Cotter (Northern Ireland)

a watermelon
the sugar almost crystal
why so many seeds?

a banana
not yet ripe although
beginning to spoil

-- Alex Cigale (USA)

drizzling rain -
pine branches decorated
with a thousand pearls

flooding the patio,
the fragrance of 
vespertine jasmine

-- Sylvia Simonet (Uruguay) – transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

at sundown
a hare's tracks
in old snow

-- Raffael de Gruttola (USA)

old woman
touches her wrinkles
gathering crows

-- Albert Schlaht (USA)

harvest moon
the playful otter tumbles
through golden shadows

-- Mary O’Keeffe (Ireland)

morning mist -
the church fills
with the smells of overcoats

-- Mark Lonergan (Ireland)

hard to make out...
against frosted fields

-- Matt Kirkham (Northern Ireland)

end of the harvest
a scarecrow in the trailer
does a lap of honour

-- Patrick Druart (France) – transl. by Arthur Griesel

winter rain -
a stuffed starling stares
at the ceiling

-- Bouwe Brouwer (the Netherlands)

staff meeting
a dry bamboo leaf on the floor
starts moving

-- K. Ramesh (India)

warm gust
a clatter of walnuts
on the tattered bench
-- Cathy Drinkwater Better (USA)

spring equinox -
so many score marks
on student desks

-- Noel Sloboda (USA)

spring dawn -
gently unfolding,
a red rose

-- Keith Simmonds (Trinidad and Tobago)



On the Way to Santa Fe

by Barbara A Taylor (Australia) 

desert surprise 

flapping balloons

under neon lights


It’s 1969. My girlfriend and I have left London, England, to travel across the United States. Man has just landed on the moon! Today, we’re heading for Santa Fe in the middle of a hot dry summer; thumbs are out, our destination sign is clear. The first lift drops us off close to a gas station/cafe/store, out in the middle of a dusty nowhere, except for a few tall cacti between the scattered tumbleweed. Two trucks are parked outside. On the cafe window is a painted message inside a large heart shape: “Congratulations to Mary-Jo and Glen”. Inside, a couple slouches at the counter in front of a bowl of red roses, a half-eaten wedding cake; plastic plates of nachos, sauce packets, wilting lettuce. White and yellow ribbons decorate each corner. A jukebox plays rowdy rock n roll. The soda fountain bubbles with some garish red liquid. There’s a warning: “For Adults only”.

the smell of onions                                   

sizzling hamburgers

at the reception

Welcoming us with his beaming smile, a robust character, neatly dressed in a blue satin shirt with white arm tassels. “I’m Mary-Jo’s pop,” he raises his Stetson. “Consider yourselves as our honoured guests. There’s plenty room.” He offers a drink, saying, “Here, there’s a kick to it. All’s on the house today!”

a little bleary…

on the blackboard

soup of the day

Two overfed ginger-haired children, a freckled boy and a freckled girl, spend time looking at different country badges sewn onto our backpacks. The various national flags make for excellent geography lessons. Mary-Jo guzzles that red liquid. She introduces us to her goggle-eyed children and to her new hubby. She seems a little tipsy.  Her face flushes. Glen, his check shirtsleeves rolled up, has one hirsute arm over her bare shoulder whilst hugging a beer with his other. We are invited to sign their wedding card, then, to have photographs with the proud father, the newly weds and their kids. “I’m tickled pink to have international folk at my big day!” she giggles, but suddenly bursts into sobs. More drinking, more music, more nibbles … Hours later, another check-shirted cowboy pushes through the slatted curtain doorway. We assume he must be a late wedding guest, but no, just a regular traveller, stopping to get petrol, pick up a cold drink. What good luck! He offers us a comfortable ride all the way to Santa Fe. Relieved, we leave the wedding party dancing around the piled-high plates of uneaten food. Next stop is a pretty adobe motel in the middle of town and the promise of a guided tour tomorrow. 

morning dew

a coyote and her cubs

at play in the sand


Books Received

Yushi and Tenshi's Photo Haiku

Haiku and photographs by Yushi and Tenshi with an introduction by David McMurray

bilingual Japanese/English


Printed and Bound in Japan


ISBN 978-4-86173-852-4
236 pp.
Available from


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