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How to Write a Haiku Poem

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We have several haiku poets in our community and likely others that would be interested in rising to the challenge, so we’re sharing here how to write a haiku poem. In addition, we’ll provide a few haiku prompts to help jumpstart your own creative ideation.

You may also glean ideas for practicing haiku writing as you scroll through the samples of haiku. Through observation will will notice how the essence of haiku essence is to capture a moment in time using sensory language poignantly placed in the traditional 5-7-5 pattern.

WARNING: Haiku is Addictive!

If you already know how to write a haiku, then you’ll know it can be addictive. Haiku is a bit like word puzzles, they’re intriguingly captivating as they engage you to figure out the best words to convey the essence of the subject.

I wrote poetry all through my teen years, but other than that, I’m not a poet yet found myself thinking in haiku phrases. It began with an intriguing or relevant word, that I then put into a sentence.

Voila! It was five syllables, (the first line of a haiku)! Hmm… what could come after that in seven syllables (the second line of a haiku)? The words flowed. This was fun! Then of course, I had to finish it with the final and third five syllable sentence.

If you’re new to Haiku, give it a go. Haiku is fun and creative, while providing a short and simple structure within which to create. Chances are you’ll soon be creating haiku through observation of the essence of virtually everything that comes your way, and especially nature.

How to Write a Haiku

There’s more than one way to write a haiku, and in fact, while the haiku format has morphed into the most popular version, many of the early Japanese Haiku poets did not follow those rules. However, the perceived ambiguity is likely due in part to the different language transliterations, where the Japanese word for the English equivalent, may not be the same number of syllables.

For our purposes here, which is to get you writing some form of poetry in the haiku format, we’re covering the most common two haiku formats in use today. The tradition, which is 3 lines, and 17 syllables, arranged as 575-17, and the modern haiku which is still three lines but in varying syllables.

What is the Plural of Haiku?

One thing to note is that the word haiku is both singular and plural. So while it’s tempting to write it as ‘haikus” when referencing writing haiku, the Japanese language doesn’t pluralize as English does. Therefore, like certain English words such as deer, sheep, lamb, fish, etc., the noun, haiku should not be written with an “s”.

Traditional Haiku Rules – (just 4):

  • 3 lines
  • 17 syllables
    • 5 syls in line 1
    • 7 syls in line 2
    • 5 syls in line 3
  • Punctuation is optional and personal choice
  • Traditionally no titles
  • Written with a focus on nature 

Modern Haiku Rules – (just 1):

  • 3 lines
  • the rest is optional

Haiku Stimulates Poetic Ideation

Haiku poems are great for prompts and idea starters for all sorts of creating. Perhaps the allure is partly because it’s just three short lines, with the added challenge of only so many syllables. Then it doesn’t become a chore but rather a refined constraint of time, space and quantity, such that it seems immensely doable and yet also teasingly tempting to try.

A haiku can be as alluring as a crossword puzzle left on a table with a sharp pencil.

Traditional Haiku Poem Examples 5-7-5

Crossword Puzzle Haiku

A crossword puzzle.
Sharpened pencil awaits you.
Have to stop and try.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

Haiku – Positively Addictive

A Haiku addict.
Thinking in five, seven, five
Three lines, seventeen.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

Haiku Format

Haiku has four rules.
Three lines with five-seven-five
Seventeen syls all.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

Haiku is Good Writing Training

As poets and writers, haiku poems are excellent at training us to say more in fewer words. Similar to the infamous “Six word story”, wrongly attributed to Ernest Hemingway, haiku captures the essence of an idea, thing or concept.

As readers and art appreciators, haiku helps us sharpen our perceptions and develop conceptual awareness. Haiku helps us think more deeply and expansively and provide fuel for the imagination.

3 Haiku Prompts

  • The first line of this first prompt is written for you:
  • “Once in a blue moon…”:  (it’s 5 syllables and in keeping with the blue moon at the time of this first writing, on Halloween 10/31/20). What will follow for you?
  • Haiku about the moon
  • Haiku about Halloween

Traditional Haiku Rules (refresher):

  • 3 lines
  • 17 syllables, arranged as:
    • 5
    • 7
    • 5

MORE EXAMPLES OF HAIKU – Alphabetically by Subject

Most of these Haiku Poems are contributions from the iCreateDaily Facebook Group and email community in response to the prompts listed above.

NOTE: Traditional haiku don’t have titles but we’ve provided them here to organize them by topic and to help the reader find their category of interest.

AUTUMN HAIKU POEMS

Fall Haiku
Once in a blue moon,
leaves fell over snowmen’s smiles,
yellow leaves and snow.

Stella Myers, writer, poet

Harvest Moon

Harvest moon has gone
Relinquishing summertime
Autumn’s breeze will fill the air

~Shannon Billings Schofieldauthor writerbeekeeper
HARVEST MOON HAIKU POEM. #HaikuPoem #Haiku #HarvestMoon #Poem #AutumnHaiku #FallHaiku #FallPoem #AutumnPoem #iCreateDaily
Photo by Evgeni Evgeniev on Unsplash

Halloween Haiku

Once in a blue moon
Jack o lanterns grin brightly
The veil is lifted

Beth Murphyhaiku & tanka poet

Halloween Haiku background: The Celts believed the veil between the two world (living and dead) was the thinnest on Oct.31st- Nov.1st.

Indian Summer Lament

Take ice cream’s last lick
bulky sweaters minimize
the season’s behind

~Beth Murphyhaiku & tanka poet
AUTUMN HAIKU - INDIAN SUMMER. #HaikuPoem #Haiku #IndianSummerPoem #IndianSummerHaiku #Poem #AutumnHaiku #FallHaiku #FallPoem  #iCreateDaily
Photo by Sarah Gualtieri on Unsplash

BIRTHDAY HAIKU

Happy birthday, Mom!
This is your birthday Haiku;
was it obvious?

Amanda Fritsch, owner, Dolly Rock Farm & Fiber

BLUE MOON HAIKU

Blue Moon Halloween Haiku

Once in a blue moon
Jack o lanterns grin brightly
The veil is lifted

Beth Murphyhaiku & tanka poet

Background: The Celts believed the veil between the two world (living and dead) was the thinnest on Oct.31st- Nov.1st.

Heart and Blue Moon 

Once in a blue moon
Heart harvests the energy
Delighting my soul ?

~Shannon Billings Schofieldauthor writerbeekeeper

Romance Haiku and Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon, 
he kisses me and I swoon. 
Aging love feels new

Susannah Holman, artist, poet, crafter

Fall Blue Moon Haiku 

Once in a blue moon, 
leaves fell over snowmen’s smiles, 
yellow leaves and snow.

Stella Myers, writer

COFFEE HAIKU

Morning magic beans
Awaken my sweet slumber
With your keen focus

Beth Murphy, Haiku poet, writer

Gardener / Gardening Haiku

A Gardener’s Haiku

Keyboards before me,
barefoot on the fertile patch,
anticipation.

LOVE HAIKU

Love is the Purpose.
To create brings love to life.
Love and light transforms.

~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator iCreateDaily.com®

MINDSET HAIKU

Daily Effort

Mind power succeeds
Combined with daily effort
Focus your vision.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

Own It

You are the Owner.
Mind Power the Manager.
Will Power Employed.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

PANDEMIC HAIKU

Pandemic Haiku

I choose joy today
Pandemic worries begone
Looking for the best

Jill Jeffrey, poet
PANDEMIC COVID19 HAIKU POEM: Woes and worries begone. Choose joy.
#PandemicHaiku #CovidHaiku #JoyHaiku #HaikuPoem #HowToWriteAHaiku #ChooseJoy #Optimism
Photo by Lital Levy on Unsplash

RAIN HAIKU

Rain

Again Portland rains
Fern evergreen mushroom streams
Winter hearths aglow

Sally Kirkpatrick, retired teacher, writer, poet

RELIGIOUS HAIKU

As Jesus’ light shines
Peace comes in love and honor
Show our gratitude

Louise DeBell, writer, speaker

ROMANCE HAIKU

Love Haiku 

Once in a blue moon,
he kisses me and I swoon.
Aging love feels new

Susannah Holman, artist, poet, crafter

Date Night

Wednesday is date night. 
Dinner and some foot rubs, 
mid week reconnect.

Linette Jensen, artist

SPRING HAIKU

Spring garden dreaming
Shaking off winter slumber
Daffodils appear.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

Spring Crocus Haiku

Crocus whispering
To my hungry ears today
Spring will be here soon

~Shannon Schofield, poet, writer, gardener
SPRING CROCUS HAIKU and Crocus Art #SpringHaikuPoem #SpringHaiku #HaikuPoem #SpringPoems #Poetry #HaikuPoetry #iCreateDaily #CrocusPoem
Haiku by Shannon DeAnna Schofield, poet, author, beekeeper – Digital crocus painting by ArtTower from Pixabay

Find more spring haiku here.

STAR HAIKU

Star

Small above the moon
Serendipitous stargaze
Point our way back home

Beth Murphy, Haiku poet, writer

SUCCESS HAIKU

Success isn’t chance
Show up daily, do the work
You’ll never regret

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

SUNRISE HAIKU

Newness of the day
Bursting forth reassurance
Light follows the dark

Beth Murphyhaiku & tanka poet
SUNRISE HAIKU. NEW YEARS HAIKU. #SunriseHaiku #UpliftingHaiku #PositiveHaiku #HaikuPoems #Poetry #iCreateDaily #BethMurphy

WINTER HAIKU

Winter – Will It Fit?

Now the fire is lit;
Will my winter clothes still fit??
This is on my mind.

Susannah Holman, artist, poet, crafter
Winter Haiku Poem by Susannah Holman #Haiku #WinterHaiku #FallHaiku #HaikuPoems #HowToWriteAHaikuPoem
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Winter Lament

Now the fire is lit;
Will my winter clothes still fit??
This is on my mind.

Susannah Holman, artist, poet, crafter
Winter Haiku Poem by Susannah Holman #Haiku #WinterHaiku #FallHaiku #HaikuPoems #HowToWriteAHaikuPoem

Top Feature Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Haiku not easy.
Anything new takes practice.
Do if you care to.

~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®

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