Scots haiku by JOHN McDONALD (Part 1)


On July 15, we received two comments for ‘Akita International Haiku Network’ from Scotland. Mr. John McDonald sent his comments to us for encouragement, saying ‘Good Luck!’. He was the first haiku poet to send us comments and presented us with his haiku books.



I’d like to take up one of his haiku books, whose title is ‘THE THROU-GAUN CHIEL’.

I post some of his haiku, showing my free translations of them in Japanese to you.



In this haiku book, Mr. John McDonald noted: Dedicated to my dear wife Ann, our children Laura, Kieran, and Euan; and all the haijin who have inspired me, and continue to do so.

According to the introduction of the author, Mr. John McDonald is a retired stone-mason living in Edinburgh Scotland. He came to haiku in the mid-nineties and fell in love with the genre. He writes in Scots – one of the two languages native to Scotland (the other being the celtic-rooted Gaelic). He has a web-page of Scots haiku which he tries to update daily, and from which most of the enclosed have been taken.

Here I’d like to show you some scots haiku in his native language as well as in English, and my free translations of them in Japanese. I hope that you’ll enjoy scots haiku.


rairin o saws –

new railrod

throuch the blawort


roaring of saws –

new railroad

through the blubells



ogiri ya  tetsudou no waki  buru-beru



 punlers gane

weet ginges the sawins:

tree’s hert bled out


foresters gone

rain gingers the sawdust:

tree’s heart bled out



Hito sari te  mokurei itamu  ame no kuzu



 voar tirl –

youthie leaves

pruive thair vices


spring breeze –

young leaves

try out their voices



Shunpuu ya  yohyoh no koe  utai zome



skreich o day –

licht muives athort

the boo o the aipple


dawn –

light moves across

the curve of the apple


(award winner 10th annual Suruga Baika literary festival)



 Akatsuki ya  ringo no ka-bu  hikari sugu



 brainch sheddaes

jeegsawin the plainstanes –

bairns lowp amang thaim


branch shadows

jigsawing the pavement –

children hop among them



Eda no kage  hodoh kirinuki  kodomo tobu



the cailleach

an the burn

…at thair ain slaw raik


the old lady

and the stream

…at their own slow pace



Roh fujin  ogawa no yoh ni  jiteki kana



 furst gorblins

voar juist gat



first fledglings –

spring just got




Wakadori ya  haru wo nigiwasu  toki no oto



shakkin wi lauchter:

the nuns

…the daffins


shaking with laughter:

the nuns

…the daffodils



 Shudohjo  warau sugata wa  suisenka



mither an dochter

settin aff bulbs –

the derk yirth


mother and daughter

planting bulbs –

the dark earth


(winner kukai 5 : haiku Ireland)



Haha to musume  kyuukon ueru  kuraki chi ni


- Hidenori  Hiruta 


2 thoughts on “Scots haiku by JOHN McDONALD (Part 1)

  1. mcdonald san
    I found that your scots haiku are excellent when I translated them into Japanese.
    I’d like to appreciate the other haiku of yours, too.

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