Let’s Haiku!

First, for those who may not know, Haiku is a traditional Japanese form poem that contains 17 on, which is actually not the same as a syllable (that is an English bastardization of the traditional meaning)*. In Japanese, these are written vertically, but the traditional English version (containing 17 syllables) is written in three horizontal lines, and broken into 5, 7, and 5 syllables per line, respectively. However, this strict adherence to those rules is almost frowned upon these days… this is a case where it’s better to break the rules of form poetry. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the rhythm of your poem – odd numbered lines of syllables tend to be more lyrical. That’s probably because what I call “hundred dollar words” are 3-5 syllables long, and our most common words are only one (is, the, be, etc.).

This article is a really good “how to” on writing, and includes a bit of history (forgive her formatting – this article is from 12 years ago). Most of my Haiku below are more descriptive in nature (sketches), but I’m going to play around with some of the other techniques in the article for a future post.

I.

Rain falls sideways
gathers in reflective ponds
mirroring gloom.

II.

Fastidiousness
is the only word I need
for that initial line.

III.

Little butterfly
wobbles all around, looking
suspiciously at the cat.

IV.

chrysanthemum
heavy with dew and sunlight
dreams of morning

V.

Whenever I haiku
I almost always cheat
just a tiny bit

If you feel inspired, leave your own Haiku in the comments!
Until next time…

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*I almost never cite Wikipedia as a source (because I’m an English teacher – duh), but in this case, it was true, concise, and the first Google result and I was in a hurry. Don’t hate.

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7 thoughts on “Let’s Haiku!

  1. Hi Kelli,

    I’ve never accepted the challenge before of writing haiku but I will give this one a go. I can’t make your ‘Rain falls sideways ‘ one work. I can only count 15 syllables and only four in the first line. I know you said that we can break the rules but how far can you go before it ceases to be a haiku? – Rosemary(chickerellchirper)

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