A haiku is a traditional Japanese short poem. It is a unique type of poem that follows simple rules. A haiku poem composes of three lines that follow a “5-7-5” syllable count. The first and third lines must contain five syllables while the second line will contain seven. Unlike other poems, a haiku does not follow a rhyming pattern. This allows haiku writers to express themselves without the need to comply with a rhyming pattern. A haiku tends to focus on topics like nature, seasons, the meaning of life, and the natural world.
Additionally, more traditional haiku tend to follow concepts like “kigo” and “kireji”. The term “kigo” refers to words or phrases that mean a specific season while “kireji” refers to “cutting words” which are words that break the rhythm of a haiku. Readers will mostly find these types of words when reading traditional Japanese haiku. However, contemporary haiku writers may not use “kigo” nor “kireji” as they fit more in the Japanese language.
Most haiku deals with topics related to the natural world. These include seasons, changing climate, day and night, a new year, natural phenomena, and more. The haiku examples below are poems that refer to weather and seasons. They describe events and create vivid images for the reader. It is also important to note that the last lines of a haiku will conclude the theme and provide a final image.
The cloudless blank sky
Spins no tread nor shares embrace
It wields man's true vain
The snowless winter
Echoes the wishes of hearts
They dream of white beads
“A New Eve”
Sprouting in spring
The quaint heart of green and gold
It is new year's eve
Aside from seasons, weather, and other natural phenomena; a haiku can also be about animals, plants, and people. The haiku example below describes the perception of humans towards sharks and the true trait of the animals. Additionally, the example showcases juxtaposition; which is a common feature in most haiku.
“Beneath the Jaws”
Feared by those afar
Loved by those who understand
Sharks are mild and true
A haiku can also be effective in describing current events. The example below describes the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which led to carless roads, people spending more time indoors, and the virus’ overall morbid results.
Roads unpaved and lost
Scatter behind screens
The haiku examples in this article should help students and other individuals write their own poems. The examples showcase the simplicity of a haiku along with the most common topics that writers use for inspiration. Writers should remember that the poem must follow a “5-7-5” syllable count and will benefit from the use of juxtaposition. Writers can also try to experiment and utilize nontraditional topics like technology, science, and math. This can lead to the creation of unique haiku that are fit for the modern age.
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