National Haiku Poetry Day , April 17th
The haiku is a classical form of Japanese poetry where each poem consists of three lines and 17 syllables arranged in a 5-7-5 pattern. Traditionally, the haiku would include everyday nature imagery to evoke larger truths, and the final line would juxtapose the first two lines in some way. These days, the rules may be followed more loosely.
What is it but a dream?
The blooming as well
Lasts only seven cycles
This one by Hakuen is centered on the topic of death and how nature inevitably conquers all. The "seven cycles" refers to the typical seven day life of a cherry blossom (sakura) in the spring, highlighting that even the beauty of the blooms is fleeting.
all in a row
on tatami mats...
Considered one of the four preeminent figures in traditional Japanese haiku alongside Basho, Buson and Shiki, Issa was incredibly prolific. He left behind journals containing over 20,000 "one breath poems," including the one above he wrote while attending a full moon party at Matsuyama in the Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku Island.
a gentle wave
wets our sandals
While perhaps the best-known masters of the haiku form were 18th and 19th century Japanese poets, the form has transcended language with more modern approaches too. This poem by Michael Dylan Welch departs from the standard 5-7-5 pattern to depict the connection between the heavens above and the earth below. It's all connected.
How to Write a Haiku Poem in 4 Easy Steps
Whether you’re a practicing poet or a novice writer, haikus are an excellent poetic form to add to or start your creative writing. You can learn to look for inspiration in the everyday and add lyricism and imagery to expand your imagination and writen thoughts.
1. Decide what kind of haiku you’d like to write. You can choose to follow the 5-7-5 syllable style, or decide you want to be more experimental with your structure and adjust the number of syllables. If you’re writing an English haiku, you’ll separate your poem into three lines.
2. Determine your subject matter. Pay attention to small details around you. Nature themes are most common in haiku, so start to notice things like birds or leaves outside, the way the air feels, or even a smell in the air. Many haiku are about very simple natural elements of day-to-day life.
3. Use short phrases that evoke strong images. Think of how Japanese poets use kigo, and choose images that symbolize a season (say, fallen leaves for fall or daffodils for spring) to set a mood with very few words.
4. Use a kireji or “cutting word” to create a break in the meter. Remember to use punctuation in conjunction with a kireji to control the rhythm of the poem.