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

Ronovan

Originally posted July 02, 2014.

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