About haiku

"The Haiku is probably the most popular of all the forms given to beginners as a way into writing poetry. It's none the worse for that, but there is more to it than simply getting the syllable count right. In the hands of the Japanese masters, the haiku gives not only a striking visual or other sensory image, but often as well, illuminating insights into the nature of Zen Buddhism or humanity in general."
[from Creating Poetry, by Ron Pretty]

"Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry; verbal snapshots about nature that traditionally contain a seasonal word or a metaphoric image, eg. winter = old. Haiku are usually written in three lines totalling 17 syllables, eg:

line 1 = 5 syllables
line 2 = 7 syllables
line 3 = 5 syllables

Traditionally, they are rarely about known individuals and do not use the personal pronoun 'I', nor are they judgemental or moralistic. Usually they are simply observant. [Round Table Magic, the Pencil Orchids Writing Group].

Here are some from the Japanese masters:

Going yesterday,
Today, tonight ... the wild geese
Have all gone, honking.
[Taniguchi Buson 1716-1783]

Snow having melted
The whole village is brimful
Of happy children
[Issa 1763-1827]

You summer grasses!
glorious dreams of great warriors
Now only ruins.
[Matsuo Basho 1644-1694]

You rice-field maidens!
The only things not muddy
Are the songs you sing
[Raizan 1654-1716]

And for more modern Haiku

Corrugated iron
Rattles on rough-sawn rafters,
Wollombi wind-chimes
[Fran, Australia]

Golden afternoon
Dry grass whispers secrets to
lizards feigning sleep
[Julie, Australia]

Some links explaining haiku

What is Haiku?

In the Moonlight a Worm - all you ever wanted to know about haiku and probably rather more....


Back to haiku page