Haiku by Helen McCarthy for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010 (2)



On the second day of our festival, it is a great pleasure for us to introduce Helen McCarthy, a haiku poet, in London, UK.



Helen McCarthy writes books on Japanese animation and comics. She also writes about embroidery (and she hopes to start embroidering her haiku soon.)

She gives talks and workshops about anime, manga, and crafts, and she sometimes uses haiku in her workshops to encourage children to write poetry.

 On April 13, 2010, I received an e-mail from her, and found that she has a friend in Akita and visited here in 2008, and that she loves haiku.

According to the second e-mail, her friend in Akita is Dr. Darren-Jon Ashmore at Akita International University. He is Head of Japan Studies, and a very creative person. He is a gifted model-maker and loves dolls and puppets.

Through her first e-mail, Helen McCarthy told us about how she found our website, and kindly contributed her haiku to our festival.



Dear Mr. Hiruta,

I found the AIHSTN website by accident. I was immediately attracted to it because I write haiku, and I came to Akita in 2008 to visit a friend who teaches at Akita International University. Akita is so very beautiful!

I started writing haiku several years ago, but never shared them. I am constantly inspired by nature, and most of my haiku are attempts to capture a moment of beauty.  I am not very skilled in technical terms but I love to try and write what I see, hear, taste, smell or feel. I also write about moments in my life and feelings.

In December 2009, I decided to improve my skills by publishing haiku regularly and getting feedback on them. Twitter is a very good medium for this. It allows me to send my haiku directly to my blogs and my Facebook page, so they spread even further with 

minimal effort and time. I have even started two renga – I think of these as haiku duets.

I would like to join the AIHSTN, and I have attached some of my work for you to read. All these haiku and more have been tweeted under Twitter name, tweetheart4711

With best wishes,

Helen McCarthy

From here I post her haiku, giving my interpretation in Japanese, which helps our readers appreciate them



First snows of winter –

Sudden, delicate, perfect

As a child’s laughter


冬の最初の雪 ―




Bone dry stems stand tall

Amid new growth – skeletons

At spring’s waking-feast.



新しい茂みの間 ― 骸骨のように



A blaze of berries

Glowing through greengold ivy

Warms a wintry heart.


炎のようなベリー ―




After snow comes rain:

hearts frozen dead by winter

drown in spring’s promise


雪が雨になる ―




Spring shoots from cold ground,

Shyly, like a welcome guest

Arriving early






White mountains recede

Into mist, into distance –

Remembering dreams






Moonlight silvers snow.

The first plum blossom opens

as Kyoto sleeps.






While I was sleeping

You left snow white hyacinths,

Their fragrance woke me.






Pale yellow tulips

Honouring my flowerbeds

Like golden trophies






Blue air, green water,

Red fired earth – life flashes in

A kingfisher flight



赤く燃えるような地球 ― 生命がぱっと光る



Alchemy of rain –

Spring greens and colours, turning

Clouds into rainbows


雨の魔術 ―




Sheets of antique rose

Damson pillows, softgold light –

Spring prepares for sleep.



インシチチアスモモの枕、柔らかな金色の光 ―



Helen McCarthy




Last of all, let me decorate our on line festival with the photo flowers presented by Patricia Lidia, a haiku poet, in Romania.



  Hidenori Hiruta


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