WHR March 2018‎ > ‎

General Common Room

WHR March 2018

Haiku in Kenya

Presented By

Isabelle Prondzynski

I send you below one of my own haiku, and ten written by haiku teachers and students in Nairobi, Kenya. These haiku were written by members of Kenya Saijiki, under the patronage of Dr Gabi Greve in Japan.

All these haiku were written in Kenya during the period between November 2017 and February 2018.


Isabelle Prondzynski (Moderator, Kenya Saijiki)

            heavy downpour --
            total strangers sharing
            a shelter

Isabelle Prondzynski


Haiku by teachers :


            café balcony --
            the only dusty shoes
            are mine


Patrick Wafula

            journeying home --
            I finally take a nap
            in the dusty bus

Andrew Otinga

            a crow disappears
            somewhere in a gutter --
            church building

Antony Waswa


Haiku by students  (adults)  :


            Sunday morning breeze --
            the January heat slowly

Catherine Njeri Maina


            cold morning --
            a coffee seller offering
            a thermos flask

Newton Etuku

            dump site --
            a scraggy brown dog struggling
            with a bone

Wellington Mulima



Haiku by students (school students)


            a new student
            coughs persistently in class --
            January dust

Derrick Lilumbi

            school gate --
            a saloon car speeds by
            leaving a whirlwind

Beatrice Awino

            dusty school hall --
            the shape of my sole
            on the floor

Derrick Omondi

            a dog sniffs
            in an empty green can --
            dry water taps 

Assam Adero



Moussia Fantoli



            luna tagliata
            ogni mese il tuo seno

            cut moon
            each month your breast


            grappoli in fiore
            di quello che mi manca 
            sento il peso

            bunches in bloom
            of that I miss
            I feel the weight


            la luna impara
            la regola del meno
            e va calando 

            the moon learns
            the rule of less
            and it is waning


            porto perduto
            rimangono le stelle
            su un buio vuoto

            lost harbour
            stars remaining
            over a dark void


            grano mietuto
            i miei capelli sono
            foglie d’autunno

            reaped corn
            my hair is 
            autumn leaves


            luna d’autunno
            le nubi hanno velato
            la tua ferita

            Autumn moon
            the clouds have veiled
            your wound


Homage to Senor Terra


Diana Rosen


I attended a workshop with Zapotec language scholar-teacher-poet Victor Terra at a Los Angeles library where he shared a glimpse of the Zapotec languages (there are 56 variations) and its popular form of Japanese-style haiku. Some anthropologists believe that Japanese explorers visited the Oaxacan state of Mexico millennia ago and that explains the haiku in Zapotec. Inspired by Mr. Terra, I set out to capture his story in a series of English-word haiku which I call “Homage to Senor Terra.”

            I left my village
            for the city but I spoke
            not to anyone.

            I talked only to
            myself, filled notebooks with all
            my Zapotec words.

            The teacher said, “This
            is poetry.” Some call me
            poet, but that is 

            only partly true.
            I am a teacher who shares
            with all who yearn to

            embrace the myths,
            beauty, magic, wonder of
            being awed by words.

            My ancestors flew
            down from the clouds on brightly
            colored parrot wings

            then Aztecs named us
            Zapotec, or the people
            of the white flowers.

            All Zapotec words for
            for animals, flowers, fish,
            begin with a B,

            even God: Beezo.
            Life begins with breath, begins,
            and ends, with breath.