Poetry Month: Hyping the Haiku


This Haiku Poem was written by Matsuo Bashō in the 17th century

We are one more week into poetry month. I hope you have been having some fun writing and reading poems this month. I certainly have been! The Haiku poem is a popular poetry format that is short, creates a picture in the reader’s mind, and is usually read in one breath. It has been part of Japanese literature since the 9th century. It has a specific structure of three lines; the first and third lines have five syllables and the second line has seven syllables. The poems’ lines do not usually rhyme. There are no rigid rules about capitalization or punctuation. Traditionally the Haiku’s subject is nature; a small window of time that sites details that show the why emotion is evoked rather than the emotion itself. The modern interpretation of Haiku does not have to be about nature, and there can be more freedom in the number of syllables per line, but it still tries to create a significant picture that illuminates the moment.


Here are some examples I have written:

Springtime Mating

Little brown lizard

An orange dewlap bulges

Enticing the girls.


Here is an example of a riddle Haiku. I have written a description of something, and the reader is asked to guess what that something is. Children love this game.

What am I?

Walking atop bushes

Eying my dinner for one

My orange beak snaps


[Can you guess? (Egret!)]


The process of writing a Haiku can be rewarding. Once you have chosen a subject, think about words that describe that moment in time. Be descriptive and explore the emotions that surround that moment. Consider that the last line usually observes the relationship between the first two lines and the last. Can you find something that is unexpected?

I would love to see your efforts in writing a Haiku poem. Comments are welcome – see below.

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