A Haiku is a three line poetry from Japan. Short and sweet. The creation of a haiku follows the 5-7-5 rule. Haiku has 17 moras or syllables divided in 3 lines or phrases. The first line has 5 syllables, second has 7 and the last again has 5. Purists claim that Haiku in English is a pale shadow of the original in Japanese. True, since English as a stress-timed or meter-timed language cannot reproduce the same effect as the syllable-timed Japanese.

Traditionally a Haiku consists of a kigo, a word that symbolises the season of the poem. A haiku can have a deep meaning with reference to life or natural world. The season chosen is a metaphor for different emotions and should be chosen wisely. Each Haiku provides an artistic and imaginative sketch of nature or just anything, eg a Haiku may describe just the moment. Verbs should be kept minimum, and the senses must be engaged to feel the poetry. Puns or kakekotoba are also used.

A cutting word or caesura called kireji in Japanese is felt at the end of either the first or second line. “Depending on which cutting word is chosen, and its position within the verse, it may briefly cut the stream of thought, suggesting a parallel between the preceding and following phrases, or it may provide a dignified ending, concluding the verse with a heightened sense of closure.” A Haiku that does not use a kigo word is more about human nature and is called a Senryu.

Another form of Japanese poetry is Tanka or Yamato Uta. It is a 5 phrase verse written with the syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7. Haiku, Senryu and Tanka are all better written in a syllable-timed language like Japanese or Spanish. But English equivalent of the Haiku are also gaining popularity, though hardly anyone has tried writing a Tanka in English(it is quite complex).

Examples of Haiku:

fu-ru-i-ke ya (5)

ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7)

mi-zu no o-to (5)


old pond . . .

a frog leaps in

water’s sound

fuji no kaze ya ōgi ni nosete Edo miyage

the wind of Mt. Fuji

I’ve brought on my fan!

a gift from Edo

hatsu shigure saru mo komino wo hoshige nari

the first cold shower

even the monkey seems to want

a little coat of straw

A few examples in Spanish can be –

La vasta noche, no es ahora otra cosa, que una fragnancia

The enormous night, is now nothing more, than a fragnance

Callan las cuerdas, La musica sabia, lo que yo siento

The strings are silent. The music knew, what I was feeling.

Personally I too have tried my hands at this art form but the results have not been something to boast about. Here I will give a few examples of my own attempts:

The wind blows around, hot dusty sprinting in flow, takes my hat away

With all due respect, Emotion in all its form, makes a man week (it is more of a Senryu)

Another Senryu I happened to write when a friend complained about ants in her bed and wanted to know some remedies to counter the plague. Neem was suggested as a solution. A poem came to mind about what she might write:

The ants in my bed, refuse to let me in peace…. will try and use neem

Have fun with this art form and try and see what you can come up with. It doesn’t have to be deep and philosophical always.

Keep writing and keep playing with different styles and keep growing as a writer.


6 Responses to “Haiku”
  1. Mayur says:

    That is an interesting information. I wonder where this new interest in poetry has come from?

  2. Ankita says:

    I am a student of Japanese Language since last 3 years.
    I’ve collected many different songs and poems in Japanese. Their rich culture speaks through their literature and movies.
    Loved this 俳句 too. 🙂

    • snowleopard says:

      Thanks for visiting. Each nation has its unique culture. It is a good thing to learn about different things. Though I am not a student of Japanese but I do appereciate their ancient heritage.

  3. snowleopard says:

    Thanks. Glad you liked it.

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  1. Write Mom says:


    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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