Shamrock Haiku Journal

Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world

Shamrock No 14



Haiku Journal

of the Irish Haiku Society

Focus on


motorway by night

a ghost rider comes at us,

the moon

a coloured condom

in the Grand Canal

spring awakening

Bremen Music Festival

as usual, a tram plays

first violin

under the operating table

a cat rubs herself

against somebody's finger

first day of spring

rush hour

in the cemetery

-- Michael Augustin (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

morning sun –

the oak enchanted 

with its radiance

chasing sheets of rain 

in the field of yellow rape,


after a downpour 

in these mossy valleys

the earth breathes


in the bright night’s light,

a slippery path 

-- Martin Baumann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

power cut

in the neighbour’s flat

someone plays the piano

-- Sigrid Baurmann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

Autumn wind 

slowly stripping a young birch –

the maple turns red

ringing frost –

in the crunchy wood, footsteps 

dying away

-- Christa Beau (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

hoarfrost stretching out its threads –

over the cherry branches

a spider, trembling

smell of cinnamon in the room –

steaming tea melts

the frost pattern

dark clouds 

cover the drowsy landscape

raindrops weigh down the grass

hush you, frogs! 

the pond sleeping

in the shade of the trees

-- Dirk Becker (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

free morning 

a goods train scrapes slowly 

across the Main

even the Alsatian dog

turns his muzzle

following that woman

secret of the full moon 

unravelled –

a crane cries

tired of travelling…


clinging to the ship’s hull

-- Martin Berner (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

New Year’s morning -

waiting on the doorstep,

the broom

first snowdrops

the widow wears black

no more

after the storm

each puddle


-- Andrea D’Alessandro (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

Amsterdam by night –

creeping along the canals,

cats and humans

a gang of pigeons


a flock of tourists

full moon –

the Skyline, too, finds it hard

to get good night’s sleep

reflected in the puddle: 

the façade of a


winter bargain sale –

freezing on high street,

a homeless man

the border –

identical houses 

on both sides

-- Daniel Dölschner (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

traders’ caravan

showing the way to the south

to birds of passage

gloomy morning

starlings make preparations 

for a great journey

wispy clouds

take the form of haystacks –

the wind enjoying idleness

white quilt

covering up the sky

the sun oversleeps

the smell of chamomiles 

and sheaves of grain –

a lone sparrow eats his fill

-- Christine Gradl (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

in the new house

across the road

first light

dying away

underneath the stars –

crickets’ chirr

in my father’s hand 

a red maple leaf 

from my mother’s grave

a fair by midnight 

snowflakes and cold air

come along

-- Arno Herrmann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

rusty cannon

aiming at

an eagle’s shadow

among quivering branches,

the lightning’s reflection

in a window 

-- Yulia Kudryavitskaya (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

bright winter night –

crunching along the footpath,

my shadow and I

in the distance

two white herons and the moon

sinking in the dark

old cemetery –

it feels cooler here,

evening shadows fade

first frosty night –


clearer now

-- Horst Ludwig (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

Martinmas Eve -

lacking a torch, 

the child looks at the moon

all alone in the drizzle,

a scarecrow

casts no shadow

-- Conrad Miesen (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)


in the shopping trolley

all his possessions

timetable change


unexpected minutes

now tanned

the same

old face

-- Jörg Rakowski (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a jetty

ending into the Baltic Sea

no boats in sight

cow on the road

by the town gate

taking her time

-- Gerhard Stein (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

shadows in the sky

the flapping of birds’ wings

travels south

-- Klaus Werthmann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

warm March rain 

knocks on the frozen solid soil –

seeds open

quiet summer gardens –

cones crack open  

bumping into concrete slabs

wind harps

silent  in these deserted alleys –

light flows lightly 

from snow-clouds

above the foggy riverside 

it appears: full moon. 


frost creeps through the leafage –

safe in the ice cocoon, 

sleeping buds

-- Dagmar Westphal (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

growing on these Jewish graves


sown by the wind

old cloister…

what father would have said, 

we say to each other

-- Angelika Wienert (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

new pigs

in the old troughs

the stink of sty remains

a robin perches

on the helve of my shovel –

a short break signal

-- Klaus-Dieter Wirth (translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

scintillating water…

sun dancing on the waves

for no reason at all

seagulls high above 

in accordance with a calm –

the sea roars 

young vegetables 

reach out for the spring sky

already mature

-- Stefan Wolfschütz (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



Haiku in Germany

by Jane Reichhold


It has long been a bit of a mystery as to why the haiku or related forms have not been popular in Germany. One cannot imagine a poetic climate better suited for the transplanting of haiku.

Here, where the people have a long tradition of respect and appreciation of poetry, where the folk are by nature precise and succinct with words, where the landscape is varied and beautiful; filled with people walking or hiking in all kinds of weather. No one takes more journeys than the Germans. No one is so knowledgeable about where to go and what to see.

Everyone, it seems, has an answer for the haiku situation in Germany. Many agree with Imma von Bodmershof that it is that so many persons, in Germany and the world, "without knowing the religious life" or the lack of the outlook which comes as a result of Zen living.

Strong within the German soul is a streak of melancholy that comes through their haiku. This tendency can also be found in Japanese tanka (and can be a weakness there, also). Haiku, which grew out of a resistance to tanka, has, among the masters, very little of this. Stressing the positive, the active, they were able to sidestep the questions of "where am I going?", "and why?, and "for what?" by concentrating on the now-moment.

Over the past twenty years, while Canada and United States were blossoming with new poets and groups of poets, Germany has experienced only a few flowers unfolding in isolation.

Under the influence of Rainer Maria Rilke's writing of haikai in the last years of his life (1920's), many poets tried writing a few haikai almost as a pastime. None took it as seriously as did Rilke, who wrote most of his in quatrains, and in French, many of which still have not been successfully translated into either German or English.

In 1939, in Vienna, an expert on Chinese and Japanese, Anna von Rottauscher, had published her translations of Japanese haiku under the title Ihr gelben Chrysanthemen [Your Golden Chrysanthemums]. In spite of the interruption of the times and war, this book has continued to be reprinted and is available yet today in a fancy gift edition.

Another Swiss woman, Flandrina von Salis published in the summer of 1955 her book Mohnblüten: Abendländische Haiku [Poppies: Oriental Haiku] by the Vereinigung Oltner Bücherfreunde [Club of Oltner Book Friends]. Through Flandrina von Salis continued to write and publish other books of lyric poetry, this was her first book and only book of haiku though it is reported that at the time of death she was preparing another book of haiku.

Though in Germany the war stopped the exchange of poetry on one level, yet right after the war, its influence was manifested in another, more positive way. Men who had become translators in Japanese were exposed to the culture through the study of literature, and began translating poems. Of these were Manfred Hauseman, R. Coudenhove-Calergi, Erwin Jahn, and Jan Ulenbrook.

From this a sporadic interest in haiku was manifest; but a pattern seemed to be set that has persisted up until about 1988. Though individuals became enthusiastic, writing and publishing, they remained autonomous; refusing interaction with other countrymen. There was no national group although small groups met in Berlin around 1950 with individuals such as Rolf Schott (1892-1977) who published in "eight European Seventeen Syllable [Poems] in the Pattern of the Japanese Haiku."

There was also Karl Kleinschmidt who began writing haiku in 1953, but here again no groups were formed and the Japanese principle of a master with students or disciples was unheard of. None of these groups interacted with the other and the books published were small and available only from the author. Consequently, nearly all have been lost.

In Vienna a group was formed around H.C Artmann (1921-) in the early fifties and it is possible that it was the influence from here which inspired the first poet to publish haiku over the several years of the rest of her life.

Imma von Bodmershof was born on August, 10th, 1895 in Graz, Austria; the daughter of the founder of the Gestalt Theory, Christian Freiherr von Ehrenfels. Through early contact with the expert on Hölderlin, Norbert von Hellingrath, Rilke and the group around Stefan George, she was influenced in her development of a literary career. From 1925, she and her husband, Dr. Wilhelm von Bodmershop managed the manor Rastback in the lower Austrian forest.

At first (1937) she wrote novels and collections of short stories and in 1962 Hajo Jappe chose a selection of her works to be published under the title, Unter acht Winden or Under Eight Winds. This could show that through their co-production, haiku was a factor as in that same year Imma von Bodmershof published her first book of poetry – Haiku. Though Frau von Bodmershof also maintained a home in Vienna, one wonders how much contact or the importance of the contact with Hajo Jappa (who later published haiku) and Anna von Rottauscher she had. Imma von Bodmershof writes in the introduction to her book, Sonnenuhr [Sundial] the following rather charming story.


"The manuscript with mine first German haiku was already with the publishers Langen-Müller, when the Frankfurter Allegeimen Newspaper came out with a long article about the Japanese haiku which was written by Erwin Jahn who had taught German literature for 30 years in the universities of Kyoto and Tokyo.

After a deep analysis of the Japanese art of haiku, the article ended with the comment that true haiku could not be produced in Europe. The reasons were: first, that no poets here live in the close togetherness with nature as do the haiku masters in Japan, and secondly, because this art can only grow out of the basis of Zen culture, from which Europeans are cut off.

Dr. Schondorf, who headed the Langen-Müller Publishing, sent me the article without comment. That left only one thing to do. To send my manuscript to Professor Jahn. His opinion would decide, and I was prepared to accept it, however it would turn out.

The letter, that he then sent to me, belongs to the loveliest that I have ever received, and began a friendship that lasted until his death. I should not worry, he wrote, my haiku fulfill all the requirements for the future German haiku poems. He described how his reading of my work felt like being taken into shady Shinto shrine forest after a long hike through glowing hot Japanese rice fields.

With that was the decision to publish my haiku book in Germany."


Through her close association with Erwin Jahn, Imma von Bodmershof's contacts with other persons concerning haiku were concentrated in Japan she kept informed of haiku activities in North America, citing in her book, Sonnenuhr, contact with Aric Amann in Canada. Through this it came about that her haiku were translated by Claire Pratt and the essay written by Wilhem von Bodmershof, "Studie über das Haiku" from the book, Im Fremden Garten, was translated into English to be published in Milkweed, edited by Marshall Hycuik in 1988.

Though Imma von Bodmershof did not have students or disciples in the way Japanese masters did, she, and her husband, were aware of the need to educate and share information about the Japanese culture and literature. Each of her books contains, not only her poems but always a healthy portion of education with them.

Being outspoken, Imma von Bodmershof, was also very critical of the haiku being written in Japan as well as the first efforts made by Germans. In many of her letters to Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp, she repeatedly refers to the misuse of haiku by the uninformed. She maintained that one could not "write" haiku but could only "meet" them and then put down the words. Yet she implied that what most wrote down were not pure haiku.

As she was critical with herself, rewriting her own haiku many times, she was also exact and blunt with others.

For poets and authors who were already publishing, this was often very hard to take, especially when they found in her work, what they thought to be detrimental weaknesses. Still, her poems and her efforts inspired many; including myself, up until her death stopped our flow of letters in August of 1982.

For most American haiku writers, the name they think of when reference is made to German haiku, is Gunther Klinge. For almost 20 years he has continued to write and publish his haiku in America and Japan. Here, Ann Atwood has been active in not only translating the haiku, but co-operating with Gunther Klinge on two books – Drifting with the Moon and Day into Night – and regularly submitting his work to the haiku magazines. In most German book stores one will find his books in the poetry section. Somewhat of a recluse, he has relied on his poetic works and not any other efforts.

Hans Kasdorff, has taken a softer view. His book, Augenblick und Ewigkeit [One Moment and Eternal], has as authors both his name and his wife's, Hilde Kasdorff, when in fact, all the haiku are written by him. In this way, he has given her credit for living the haiku way with him and thus, indirectly, author of the work. Almost a third of the book is a very illuminating essay, "Über das Haiku."

Other events and other attempts were made with the object of illuminating the paths between haiku writers in Germany. Unfortunately, one after another, they became as brief as the glow of fireflies on a summer night.

"Ersten bundesdeutschen Haiku-Biennale" [The First German Haiku Biennale] met in Bottrop in 1979 with 20 persons attending to discuss what directions the haiku writing should take.

From 1981-85 Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp, Hamburg, was correspondent for "Haiku Spektrum", a feature section which was given to haiku and tanka in the literary magazine, apropos. When Karl-Heinz Backer, editor, ceased publication of his magazine, no one was able to continue the endeavor.

Just outside of Hamburg, lives Ilse Hensel who over the years has written and published her haiku and renga in Germany and America. Currently her chapbooks, grünfiedrig herab neigt sich der Phönixbambus... [with greenfeathers the Phonixe bamboo bends itself] and ...unterm vogelschrei, [...under bird cries] are appearing under Edition He.

Karl Heinz Kurz had, over the years, been writing vast amounts of haiku and renga published under Verlag zum Haben Bogen [Publisher of Half Sheets] which have been distributed around the world.

In 1988, Margaret Buerschaper, of Vechta, organized Der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft e.V. [German Haiku Society]. Suddenly "things" began coming together. Drawing on her ten years of writing and publishing poetry, and close cooperation with Carl Heinz Kurz, along with the full endorsement of the Japanese Consulate in Bonn, Margaret Buerschaper has seemingly started the ball to finally rolling.

A quarterly magazine, Vierteljahresschrift der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft [Quarterly of the German Haiku Society] edited by Margaret Buerschaper fills 32 pages with articles supporting various views, reports on happenings in Europe, haiku and senryu by members, book reviews.

In addition to this publishing avenue, Frau Buerschaper edits a series of 4 x 6 32 page chapbooks under the name of Pocket Print im Graphikum for haiku and senryu.

For the publication of sequences, renga, and tanka collections, she publishes slimmer chapbooks in the half-page size.

With the financial support of the Japanese Consulate, full sized, perfect bound books of members' collective works are appearing. In addition to a members' anthology, in which each was allowed two full pages to design and edit themselves, a complete collection of the renga written in German have also been issued.

Not content with these activities, Margaret Buerschaper is very active in writing, working at once on several renga with different persons, most of which are then published.

In contrast to other haiku societies in which anyone with a checkbook can join, the DGH is now, after being established, limiting membership by screening applicants for certain requirements. Instead of having a loose organization, it becomes an honour to be accepted and a witness that one is really a writer of haiku (ed.: this seems to have changed more recently). Its website is available for viewing here:

Yearly meetings consisting of a weekend have been begun. With a full and varied program, these retreats are attracting writers, not only to absorb inspiration and to meet fellow-writers, but as a chance to see and write in another landscape.

In these few years of beginning, one can already see results. Some very promising talent is being discovered (both men: Conrad Miesen and Rudy Junger). By the distribution of the works of such persons, along with the openness to look at what everyone is writing, there is real promise that the sleeping haiku spirit in Germany will awaken to fulfill all the hints and promises it has made.






Imma von Bodmershof quote from a private letter to Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp, March, 25, 1980.

Anna von Rottauscher. Ihr gelben Chrysanthemen. Vienna:Walter Scheuermann Verlag, 1939 and later editions.

Carl Heinz Kurz, "Mohnblüten und Wahrnehmungen" in the German Haiku Society's quarterly Vierteljahresschift der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft, IV:1, February 1991.

Manfred Hausmann. Liebe, Tod und Vollmondnächte. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag, 1951.

Erwin Jahn. Fallende Blüten. Japanische Haiku-Gedichte Zurich: Die Arche, 1968.

Jan Ulenbrook. Haiku. Japanische Dreizeiler. Translated from the Ancient Texts by Jan Ulenbrook. Wiesbaden: Inselverlag, 1960

Imma von Bodmershof. Sonnenuhr. Salzburg: Stifterbibliothek Salzburg; Neugebauer Press Bad Goisem, Austria, 1970. Translation: Jane Reichhold.

This resulted in the book, Löwenzahn. Die auf 17 Silben verkürzten Haiku. Imma von Bodmershof. Matsuyama, Japan:Verlag Itadori-Hakkosho, September 20, 1979. The remarkable on this edition are the appendix. One is by Hans Kasdoff, who writes explanations for 40 of the haiku. Then is an essay concerning a meeting with Imma von Bodmershof written by Gertrud von Heiseler, followed by tables compiled by Hajo Jappe showing and explaining the revisions Frau von Bodmershof made in these haiku (which were the same 99 published in 1962). Then Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp explains the season words used in ten of Imma von Bodmershof's haiku, which is followed by Akada Toyoji writing of a haiku journey made from Japan through Europe. At the end are biographies of each writer.

Imma von Bodmershof. Im Fremden Garten : 99 Haiku. Zürich: Im Verlag der Arche, 1980. This book contains, in addition, an essay by her husband, Wilhem von Bodmershof explaning the Japanese meanings of various subjects plus instructions on how to write haiku.

Milkweed. Edited by Marshall Hyrciuk,1988.

Hans und Hilda Kasdorff. Augenblick und Ewigkeit. Bonn: Bouvier, 1986.

apropos -Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Kritik,was edited and published from 1980-85 by Karl Heinz Backer in Lauingen/Donau.

Frau Hensel has a haiku in The Haiku Handbook by William Higginson and a renga done with Jane Reichhold in German and translated into English printed in Tigers in a Tea Cup, (1988) and reprinted in Narrow Road to Renga (1989).

Under Frau Buerschaper's leadership, there is shown a concern for deciding what shall be called haiku and which work is senryu. Having discovered that not only is the difference between the two often very slim, they are promoting a new designation, senku, or hai-sen.

Bio-Bibliographie Der Mitglieder Der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft  by Margaret Buerschaper and Dr. Tadao Araki, editors and publishers. Frankfurt am Main: 1990.

Gemeinsames Dichten Eine Deutsche Renku-Anthology, Sonderausgabe der "Deutsch-Japanischen Begegnungen im Lande Hessen". Dr. Tadao Araki, editor and publisher. Frankfurt am Main: 1990.



This essay is an excerpt from Those Women Writing Haiku; Chapter Five: In Europe

(the version published here has been revised and updated by the author)


Jane Reichhold’s mini-anthology of German and Dutch haiku here:




Signifika(n)t by Irina Valkova (Berlin, Germany)


Haiku and Senryu

autumn rain
i'm cleaning the backside
of the mirror

train flirt a stranger runs through my smile

all the snowflakes
dropped off the sky

-- Dietmar Tauchner (Austria)

autumn rain –
the desiccated sapling
puts out fresh green

the little larch
still bearing its name-tag
it too turns brown

a huddle of snails
after the ivy’s been stripped
the scouring wind

-- Jim Norton (Ireland)

humid at dawn –
leopard slugs linger
in the cat dish

evening lull
mud crabs clicking
in the mangroves

fish n’ chips r’ up!
the stately arrival
of sacred ibis

-- Lorin Ford (Australia)

Sunday lunchtime
the smell of mashed parsnips
rising up through the stairwell

gallery gift shop
the essence of soap lures me in
ushers me out

rain barrel
crooked shadows
bob for the moon

-- Helen Buckingham (England)

one year later
along the cemetery creek
greening willows

at the mailbox
waiting for the cricket
to leave

solid grey sky –
forsythia buds
for a blue vase

-- Adelaide B. Shaw (USA)

mist of the river
beyond orange groves
solitary minarets 

arctic ice melts
dark waters
of the inland lakes 

-- Raffael de Gruttola (USA)

at the window
leaves rustle

hurricane's end...
magnolia tree

-- Charlotte Digregorio (USA)

one minute’s silence:
an old man taps
his fingers

walking alone
a leaf blown into
my hand

-- Quendryth Young (Australia)

drops of sunlight
on the cheese plant leaf -
some slip through

bleak morning -
across last year's dropped leaf
a snail glints of spring

-- Diana Webb (England)

the clatter 
of a forgotten wind-chime 
icy rain 

dissolving fog
silhouettes of sunlit geese
graze the meadow

-- Catherine J.S. Lee  (USA)

spring lambs yarded up...
alongside the abattoir 
hound-dogs howl

inlet or ocean -
weighing up its options
the sea eagle wheels

-- Rodney Williams (Australia)

March snow
a magpie hops into
an old nest

between mist and rain
a language I can’t read
on a red banner

-- Robert Lucky (USA)

on the laptop
the ladybug
too light for words

summer breeze
nothing but this hammock 
to catch it in

-- Peter Newton (USA)

under snow
her funeral 

steady rain…
the slow growth
of a poem

-- Joanna M. Weston (Canada)

wolf moon...
shadowy figures
under the eaves

these piles
of falling plum petals
no new messages

-- Chen-ou Liu (Canada)

warming Sun
snow glitters
then vanishes

nightclub -
his wedding ring

-- Mark Lonergan (Ireland)

coffee with chicory
two daughters
blend laughter

-- Bill Cooper (USA)

end of the pier
last pelican
in the setting sun

-- Bernard Gieske (USA)

the sunshine
a bird's wing

-- Donna K. Everhart (USA)

the old dog licks
the frozen pond -
a white sun

-- Philip Miller (USA)

from a flowery meadow,
the echo of

-- Vera Primorac (Croatia, translated by Djurdja Vukelic-Rozic)

golden afternoon
blackthorns' adornment

-- Natalie Arkins (Ireland)



Yeh go I

by Jim Norton (Ireland) 

The slow boy
gazing skyward
hears it first
I put down the map and listen with him, hear nothing but trucks and cars roaring past. He stands quite still, looking at me with that distant smile. “You’re sure, I ask.”  “Yeh go I”. Ok. A mile or so off the motorway, sure enough we find it, the go-kart track hidden in the hills. 
Now the noise is deafening, boy racers screeching around the big circuit in souped-up roadsters. We watch for a while. 
Cows graze the hillsides undisturbed. Clouds in a blue sky sail out to sea. Then to the figure-8 kart track. Around and around he goes at a steady and sedate pace while I watch. Tiring of it, I go back to the van for a snooze, leaving the attendant to keep watch.
“Good?”  He nods, and we’re several miles away when I notice he’s holding his hand awkwardly. A nasty burn, blistering. He gazes stoically out the window. I can get no explanation out of him. Afraid I won’t take him again.
The village pharmacist. Cool-gel and a dressing, painkillers. No, he won’t take any payment.  
Healing hands
where the name itself is balm
Drive on to the seaside.  He loves the merries.  Yeh go we.


A Dry Music

by Jeffrey Woodward (USA) 

The rattles have quieted now.  I crouch some dozen feet up the sandy path, at a safe retreat, where I may yet watch closely as the great length of that venom uncoils.
It slowly renews a task, rubbing head and neck against a nearby crag. The papery skin lisps while it peels away from the serpent’s back, a row of diamonds there exposed and new, scale after scale aglitter in the late afternoon light.
listen to a scythe 
sing to a whetstone—a dry 
song of midsummer


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