Today I want to share Haiku with you because, in my opinion, it’s one of the lovelier forms of poetry.
Haiku is defined by Britannica as, “unrhymed Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.”
Here are some facts that I uncovered about Haiku. The Haiku form was refined by Basho in the 17th Century from the hokku element of the poetic form renga, an early Japanese poem. Renga is a linked-verse poem, a form in which two or more poets supply alternating sections of a poem. The hokku is the initial stanza of a renga. It sets the time of day, season and dominant features of the landscape for the renga. The hokku did not become known as Haiku until the late 19th Century after it had been refined by masters like Basho, Buson and Issa. (See sources below for more on the history of Haiku.)
Haiku is written in three lines and each line has a specific number of syllables, 5-7-5. While early themes were nature, animals or the seasons, you can now write Haiku on any subject.
To write a Haiku, find inspiration in anything you like. Take a walk, use a picture or a memory and make a few notes. Now simply write two or three lines describing your subject. Edit your lines by focusing on an emotion or images based on your senses; sight, taste, touch, smell or hearing. Finally work on the syllable count, first line 5, second line 7 and third line 5. (See sources below for more on writing Haiku.)
Below are some examples from early Japanese masters of Haiku:
None is traveling
Here along this way but I
This autumn evening
Temple bells die out
The fragrant blossoms remain
A perfect evening!
Crimson must be running
Through the trunk of
This plum tree
No choice but to spin
His spider web
Now here is a Haiku I created:
Graceful deep green leaves
Teardrops shimmer in the sun
Shade the woven trunk.
This was truly joyful to create. I have a Ficus tree sitting in front of my desk at work. It has a beautiful, graceful woven trunk and the leaves are a lovely deep green. This was the perfect subject for my first Haiku. I hope you like it and that this minimal presentation on the Haiku has given you a bit of inspiration to try it for yourself. Even if you are just inspired to go read some Haiku, I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the effort.
If you do give writing Haiku a try, please share in the comments. I’d enjoy hearing from my readers.
Creative Writing Now