What is a Haiku?
A haiku is an unrhymed three-line poem. It is based on a traditional Japanese poetic form. Though there are different ways to write haiku, the traditional pattern in English is to write the first and last lines with five syllables each, and the middle line with seven syllables. In other words, the pattern of syllables looks like this:
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables
Most often, haiku poems are about seasons or nature, though you can write your own haiku about anything you like. If you don’t want to write about nature, and would prefer to write haiku about candy or sports, that is perfectly okay.
One more thing to keep in mind is that the last line of a haiku usually makes an observation. That is, the third line points out something about the subject you are writing about.
Let’s see how we can put these few rules together and get your started writing your own haiku poems.
Haiku About Seasons
Let’s say that you decide to write your haiku about a season. First you will want to select a season: spring, summer, fall, or winter. I’ve decided to write a haiku about winter, and I know that in the last line I will want to make an observation. I want to say that winter is almost here, but we aren’t quite ready for the snow. Maybe it’s that we haven’t raked the leaves off the front lawn and we need to do it soon before it snows.
I want to say all of this, but I want to do it in a pattern of 5, 7, 5. So I might say something like this:
Winter is coming.
Snow will be arriving soon.
We should rake the leaves.
Haiku About Nature
Tired cat sleeps all night.
He needs lots of rest for a
Long day of napping.
My homework is late.
My dog ate it this morning.
I sure like my dog.
Getting Started Writing Haiku
To begin writing haiku poems, just follow these steps:
- Select a type of haiku. Decide if you are going to write a seasonal, nature, or other type of haiku.
- Pick a topic. Select one specific season, item in nature, or something else you are going to write about.
- Think about what is different about your last line. What observation do you want to make?
- Start writing.
- Don’t forget to count the syllables as you read to make sure you’ve got the right pattern.
- Finally, “center” your poem on the page like the poems in this lesson.
When you are all done writing your first haiku, see if you can write another one. And, most importantly, have fun!