How To Write A Haiku Poem In English Form

Updated 5/11/2020.

There are various forms of Haiku poetry. I am only going to discuss the style I, and thousands of others have used through the years since English speakers have been trying their hand at Haiku, and that’s How to write a Haiku Poem in English Form. Haiku purists in the Japanese style attempt to write a Haiku that can be read in one breath. This means it is simple and short. Well, not that simple.

Four things to remember:

  • You have three lines of poetry.
  • 17 total syllables, some say sounds, in the 5/7/5 pattern.
  • You normally tell two opposite images in the poem.
  • Lines one and two should read as a complete sentence and lines two and three should read as a complete sentence.

Notice the word normally. You can have the poem be about aspects of the same thing, but normally you look at it from two different ways.

Artistic and traditional elements to include in a Haiku:

  • Nature
  • Colors
  • Seasons

You use these elements to give a visual of whatever you are attempting to relay and usually including the season you write it in.

This is a very quick and not great example, but it shows you what I mean.

The tree is falling, (5 syllables)

Down among the river rocks, (7 syllables)

Fish bring forth new life. (5 syllables)

Lines one and two read as: The tree is falling down among the river rocks.

Lines two and three read as: Down among the river rocks, fish bring forth new life.

  1. The tree is falling and dying among the rocks of the river
  2. And fish are living and bring life among the rocks of the river
  3. Two opposite things happening.

Opposites are not a MUST, but are the true way of Haiku and add to the challenge. Do not let that prevent you from writing. The more you write the closer you get to achieving true Haiku.

Matsuo Bashō Statue Haiku

As Matsuo Bashō put it,

“The haiku that reveals seventy to

eighty percent of its subject is good.

Those that reveal fifty to sixty percent,

we never tire of.”


My Haiku reveals 100%.

 The tree is falling,

Down among the river rocks,

Fish bring forth new life.


Can we take my first Haiku and make it fifty to sixty percent?


Life splinters apart,

Down among slippery mounds,

Life brings forth new life.


In this new version the same thing is said, but also leaves some interpretation to the reader, which in a way I like to do for the reader. Give the reader something they can connect with in their own way.

That is the basic way I usually like to write Haiku but often times veer off into another message. It is fun, challenging, and an art. I am not saying I am an artist, but I do believe those who can do it well are. I am still a finger painter in this world, but I enjoy staining my fingers in the ink.

To get to the point where you can write like the a true Haiku artist it could take years, but writing is the purpose and eventually you get there, if that’s where you want to go. Otherwise, enjoy the way you want write and the message you wish.

For other types of Haiku click and read-Haiku, Tanka, and Haibun. It’s all poetry to me. Learn the difference.

To learn Freku, which I came up with, click and read-NEW FORM of Haiku & Poetry.

For examples of my own Haiku offerings click here and you will leave this page.

For a weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge I host click here and you will leave this page. Once on the next page you will need to select the current week’s challenge.

Much Respect


Originally posted July 02, 2014.

Copyright-All rights 2020.

249 thoughts on “How To Write A Haiku Poem In English Form

  1. Great article. I started writing haiku’s because of you. There not terribly good, but they are fun.


  2. […] I’ve been seeing some mention of not knowing the structure of Haiku. If you are such a person, please scroll down the post until you see the section that I have given the color red this week. It has not been that color in the past, but the section has been there none the less. In that section is a link to an article titled How to write a Haiku Poem. Oh, what they hey, here is the link here. […]


  3. Wow, I had never (or don’t recall) being taught/reading the “right” way to write a haiku; I only remember the 5-7-5 rule and that its “usually” about nature in some fashion. This does, indeed, add a whole new aspect to the challenges for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the read. Interesting. Nice to know I can use 5-7-5 if I wish to. Especially if I am using syllables/sounds properly. Also, nice to know people have opinions about Haiku that differ from others, as well as those that enter my contest who do 3-5-3 and actually random syllable/sound counting that have no rhyme or reason.


      • Please remember that 5-7-5 is actually a violation of what they count in Japanese (which isn’t syllables), not a preservation of the Japanese form, despite widespread popular belief and misguided school textbooks. I doubt you’ve had a chance to read very much at what is linked to on the page I sent you, so I encourage you to research the issue more. At the very least, I encourage you to make sure the haiku you write hit the other necessary targets and aren’t just counting syllables — if you choose to insist on that. Also, the word “haiku” isn’t a proper noun, so it’s not capitalized. And what do you mean by “using syllables/sounds properly?


        • You know, I was being polite with my previous response. Please don’t continue. You attempting to enforce your thoughts on my take on Haiku won’t work. We enjoy doing Haiku this way. Please refrain from attempted badgering.

          Liked by 1 person

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