Mere Haiku

ID-10039735If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you would be aware of my fascination with haiku.

If not, you’re probably thinking to yourself “hmm…what exactly is haiku”?

Well, the basic definition is this: a haiku amounts to three short unconventional English sentences that don’t rhyme, or have a title, but make up an overall statement about something.

Originating in Japan, haikus traditionally followed a structure based on syllables of a 5-7-5 convention.

However, other than for haiku purists, today this convention is viewed as a guide. This is mainly due to the fact that syllables in the Japanese language do not exactly match those of the English language.

The British Society for Haiku notes:

‘English and Japanese ideas differ considerably about what constitutes a syllable (onion, for example, would count as 4 syllables in Japanese). To preserve the spirit, feeling and brevity of haiku, writers in English often find that a form shorter than 17 syllables is desirable (around about 12). No ‘rules’ are broken by doing this, for the great master of Japanese haiku, Basho, himself, advised poets to judge haiku by how they sounded even if this meant ignoring a strict syllable count. In English haiku the middle line of three (written horizontally) is usually a little longer than the other two, irrespective of how many syllables are used.’[i]

I should declare this right from the start, I am not a haiku expert. In all honesty I’d rate my fumbling around with it as amateurish at best.

Still, that means more practice and when it comes to haiku I’m more than happy to lay out some serious downtime mucking around with it. There’s something about the simplicity of haiku that permits a definitive break from the formal thought of academia.

There is a clarity here that I find refreshing, even if I don’t quite have the hang of it yet.

Here are four of my recent attempts:


Cold chaos
Insecurity complicates communication
More words; fewer sentences


Serious and sure
His five year old logic: “Lego is real”
I’m convinced


Writing on a tree
Words, images, dancing light kindling pleasant protests
Grace advice


Stardom shipwrecked
On a sea of likes, comments and shares, a ship jettisons its moral compass
Love is betrayed


Feel free to comment and/or add your own.

If you’re interested there is an activity sheet provided for by the British Haiku Society with information and examples for lessons. I am yet to use it with our homeschoolers, but it is on da to do list.

{Haiku lesson link}



[i] The British Haiku Society

Image: “Mount Fuji ” Courtesy of John Kasawa

Related posts:

aRt & tHeOlOgY: Haiku For Autumn

Unorthodox Haikus: On Social Media & Post-Atomic Skies

4 thoughts on “Mere Haiku

  1. Mrs. C says:

    Rod, I came across this poetry site awhile ago and realized there was a lot of Haiku among other forms of poetry including Senryu, which is very similar to Haiku. If I sound like I know what I’m talking about throwing all these poetry terms around, I really don’t. I’ve only heard of them here and on this other blog. Anyway, I once featured one of this man’s works on my site. Here is a recent Senryu he did on marriage called Marriage Acts.

    promises are kept
    mutual needs attended
    failures forgiven

    dreams are encouraged
    values drawn from one spring
    self sits subordinate

    You really must visit his site. It’s wonderful.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.