Micro-Season: “Thunder Raises Its Voice” (2023)

We have entered the micro-season of “Thunder Raises its Voice ” This is the third micro-season of the mini-season of Spring Equinox. All the micro-seasons within Spring Equinox are:

  • The Sparrow Builds Her Nest (Mar 20 -Mar 24)
  • The First Cherry Blossoms (Mar 25 – Mar 29)
  • Thunder Raises its Voice (Mar 30 – Apr 03)

These seasons were established in 1685 by Japanese astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai and are specific to Japan. However, just because the calendar focuses on Japan doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to others.  No matter where you live you can use these seasons as a starting point for your personal exploration into the world around you. 

To celebrate this season, we will learn about thunderstorms and read some seasonal haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Reichhold.  

Spring Thunderstorms

As the seasons change, the conditions needed for thunderstorms to develop become more common.  Heat, moisture, atmospheric instability, and lift are the four main atmospheric conditions needed for thunderstorms.  Below are brief descriptions of how each condition contributes to the creation of a thunderstorm.

  • Heat: As we transition into spring, the increase in sunlight warms the earth and the atmosphere. The warming of the earth creates warmer air masses that are near the earth’s surface. The warming temperatures also encourage evaporation. Evaporation is necessary to get moisture into the air. 
  • Moisture: Thunderstorms require moisture. The moisture in the air comes from water vapor, which is a product of evaporation.  As the water vapor rises into the sky, it cools and condenses.  The condensed water begins to create clouds.
  • Atmospheric instability: When warm air is under cold air it is considered unstable.  It is called “unstable” because the warmer air is less dense than the colder air and it wants to rise above it. However, in order for the warm and cold air masses to shift their atmospheric orientation they need a little nudge.  The nudge needed to move the warm air upwards is called “lift”.
  • Lift: Thunderstorms require a lifting mechanism to force the warm air to rise. This lift can be caused by weather fronts, mountains, or other terrain features.  When the warm air begins to rise, the moisture in the air cools and condenses into clouds.  The cloud formation continues to grow upward and creates what is known as a towering cumulus cloud. The growth of this cloud is supported by the continuous rising of the warm air. These towering cumulus clouds have the potential to be 10 miles tall.(4) When towering cumulus clouds are being formed there usually isn’t any rain.  However, there may be lightning.

Lightning And Thunder

Lightning is created when there is a sudden electrostatic discharge in the atmosphere. The discharge can happen between a cloud and the earth, or between two charged regions in the atmosphere. This discharge is the way that the atmosphere neutralizes itself. (5,6)

Lightning heats the air around it to temperatures of up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27760 degrees Celsius), which causes the air to rapidly expand.(7) This expansion creates a shock wave that travels through the air.  The shock wave can be loud and abrupt or it could sound like a low rumble. When we hear this shock wave, we call it thunder. 

A Diagram Of A Thunderstorm

The three-dimensional diagram below was created by the Vermont State Colleges and shared by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. The diagram is an “example of how a cold airmass advances – lifting the warm and moist, less dense airmass over it – resulting in thunderstorms. The “Cb, Cs, Ac, and Ci” denote specific types of clouds. The black circles with black lines extending from with hatch marks are examples of surface weather observations. In this diagram, they show the temperature of the air, and the direction and speed the wind is coming from.”(9)

Seasonal Haiku

This season focuses on the changes in the weather instead of the plants and the animals. Interestingly, the World Kigo Database states that “thunder” is a summer kigo, and “lighting” is an autumn kigo.(8)  There is an exception with “spring thunder” which is, not surprisingly, a spring kigo.  

In The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words as selected by Kenkichi Yamamoto, atmospheric conditions like wind, rain, and storms fall under the “Heavens” section.  Some examples of spring kigo in this section include Spring clouds, East wind, Spring rain, Last frost, Shining wind, Spring gusts, and End of snow. 

With this in mind, let’s read some seasonal haiku about spring weather.


helped out of bed
by spring rain 
(translated by Jane Reichhold)
spring rain— 
blowing back and forth like straw coats,
 river willows 
(translated by David Landis Barnhill)


An old garden-- 
With rocks half buried 
Spring rain. 
(translated by William R. Nelson & Takafumi Saito)
Spring rain-- 
The belly of a frog 
Net yet wet.
(translated by William R. Nelson & Takafumi Saito)
A spring rain-- 
Next to me in the carriage 
Sweet murmuring. 
(translated by William R. Nelson & Takafumi Saito)


half of it
is flitting snowflakes...
spring rain
(translated by David G. Lanoue)
spring rain--
one Buddhist sermon
two haiku
(translated by David G. Lanoue)

Jane Reichhold 

snow mixing
my breath
with spring

Haiku Invitation

This week’s haiku invitation is to write a haiku or senryu that references the spring weather

Share your haiku in the comments below, or post on your own page and link back to this post. I can’t wait to read what you write!  


  1. Highs and Lows/High and Low Air Flow: Iowa State University
  2. “Thunder”; Wikipedia
  3. “Thunderstorms”: Wikipedia
  4. What Causes a Thunderstorm?” SciJinks NOAA
  5. “Understanding Lightning: Thunderstorm Electrification”; NOAA
  6. “Lightning” Wikipedia
  7. “Understanding Lightning: Thunder”; NOAA
  8. Thunder and Lightning”; World Kigo Database
  9. “Thunderstorms”; Living with Weather, MRCC
  10. Yamamoto, Kenkichi. “The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words”. Translated by Kris Young Kondo and William J. Higginson. Haiku Foundation

 Basho’s haiku was retrieved from Matsuo Bashō’s haiku poems in romanized Japanese with English translations. Buson’s haiku was retrieved from “Haiku of Yosa Buson Organized by Rōmaji, in alphabetical order; translated into English, French, Spanish” Terebess Asia Online (TAO). Issa’s haiku was retrieved from David G. Lanoue’s HaikuGuy.com.  Jane Reichhold’s Haiku retrieved from A Dictionary of Haiku

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60 thoughts on “Micro-Season: “Thunder Raises Its Voice” (2023)

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  1. I love thunder and lightning, and spring rain – well any time rain really. 🙂

    I enjoyed Basho’s haiku about the willows. The young willows we planted last year are just coming into leaf. They look so fresh and lovely. I also liked Buson’s haiku about the old garden and the half buried rocks. I can just picture moss growing on them. I would love to be in that garden in the rain.

    1. Hi Lesley, Thanks so much for your comment. I also enjoyed Buson’s half buried rock haiku. For me I was thinking a rock have buried in snow instead of moss, which is just because I still have a foot or more of snow in the yard! That is the beauty of good haiku, the reader gets the finish the haiku and it becomes relevant to them. Thanks again for the comment. Have a good weekend.

  2. I was excited about today’s spring thunder prompt, Mark. This was literally my experience last night/this morning. Jane Reichhold’s haiku is precious and palpable.

    flashing light wakes me
    thunder rolls over the lake
    —turning on my bed—

    1. Hi Mary Jo, Thanks for sharing this. It make me think of the latest poetry pea podcast where they talked about inside and outside weather. The suggestive language here gives my mind lots to work with! Great addition!

  3. Thanks, Mark, for another enlightening blog. Several haiku with spring weather kigo:

    spring breeze
    cocoon opens
    to magnolia blossoms
    ~Nancy Brady, 2019 (published in Presence #69, 2021)

    spring snow…
    new leaves prove
    ~Nancy Brady, 2019

    spring rain…
    even the ducks carry
    ~Nancy Brady, 2023


    1. Hi Nan, I also really like the spring rain haiku! The spring breeze haiku is also stunning and fits right in with the microseasons! Thanks so much for sharing.

      1. Hi Mark,
        Thanks for response to my haiku, especially my spring rain. We went through a relentless rain period recently and I could imagine even the ducks trying to get out of the rain.
        Today’s weather here is extremely windy and rainy, and we even had a flash of lightning with the requisite thunder as this micro-season is called.
        Have a great (rest of the) weekend!

  4. I enjoyed this trio, Nan. Magnolia blossoms are so fragrant; green leaves in snow are a beautiful contrast, and ducks carrying umbrellas very funny. When we’ve had a rainy spell, I mutter that it’s weather only a duck would like. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mary Jo. That’s so kind of you to say. We had a few days where it only seemed to rain, and the idea of ducks carrying umbrellas came to me because as you say, it’s weather only a duck would love. Silly, I know. ~Nan

  5. overflowing with spring rain barrel

    I decided to try a monoku this week since I accidentally wrote to this season last week as well.

    Next week is the first week in what seems like forever that there is no forecast of an atmospheric river, storm, or rain of any kind in Long Beach, CA. Yay!

    1. Hi Eavonka, Thanks for sharing the monoku! I really enjoy this form, but I haven’t yet figured out how to construct one! I just need more practice.
      Great to hear that you might have a dry week over there. We have a week of rain coming up. Maybe our snow will melt! Thanks again for your ongoing support. Have a great weekend.

    2. Eavonka,
      I like this monoku because it can be read several ways. Isn’t that the mark of a good monoku? I hope you submitted to Pan Haiku Review since that was what Alan was looking for (monoku and duostich). ~Nan

      1. Thank you so much, Nan! I have been really trying to improve my monoku. I did submit to Pan Haiku, and I got 3 pieces accepted. Two monoku and one duostich. Only one of which got no revision suggestions. 😂

      2. Eavonka,
        I know what you mean. I don’t quite get monoku or duostich, (especially duostich) but despite that, I submitted two of each, only one of which was okay as it was written. With editing, I think all four will be published. Of course, not knowing what I am doing when I write haiku/senryu doesn’t stop me from writing them. On the other hand, I get plenty of rejections from editors (and have given up submitting to some as a lost cause). Fortunately, I don’t write strictly for publication; I write because I see/hear/react to something and want to capture the moment for myself. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
        Recently, I was looking over some old haiku I’d written. One I’d written didn’t make sense to me any more, at least right away. But I knew that I had kept it, not thrown it away. Eventually, I had an epiphany as to what it meant. I’m sure it will never be published, but now that I recalled the moment, I won’t toss it out. I know, TMI!

      3. Never too much information to me, Nan. I love finding out how other haikuists feel about their process. I definitely write for myself, but I have focused on publishing this last year. It has certainly helped me understand the forms more and recognize what I need to work on. I now have records of everything I’ve written, submitted, and published too. But prior to 2022, no clue where anything is.

        I have so many poems that won’t get published. Some of them I love so much, if I ever do make a book, I’ll put them in it!

      1. Oh, I like ‘diving into spring’ even better than my ‘driving into spring’! Brilliant! Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary Jo.

  6. I went with three different not joined ‘pairs’ here:
    ‘Ku and Am. Sent; Thunder

    I have always enjoyed a good thunderstorm 🙂 Though one year at the shore (vacation) – we were caught in one and got chilled to the bone! It was interesting to watch the storm over the ocean… but ‘it’ beat us to safety. Thankfully it was summer.

      1. Grandma also said that snowflakes were the soap flakes of the angels… that’s when one still used powdered detergent 😉

    1. Yes, these seasonal prompts are northern hemisphere specific. However there is an opposite season about thunder lowering its voice which indicates the transition into colder weather. Thanks for commenting! Have a good weekend!

    1. I really enjoyed your haiku for this week. You captured the idea of using simple, succint, and suggestive language to convey the meaning. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Melanie, Yes, Buson’s haiku paints a great image. When I read this haiku, I think of the aging process and slowing down. Thanks for the comment and I hope you have a good week.

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