According to britannica.com, a haiku is an “unrhymed poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. The haiku first emerged in Japanese literature during the 17th century, as a terse reaction to elaborate poetic traditions.” https://www.britannica.com/art/haiku. Originally, the haiku form centered on an objective description of nature suggestive of one of the seasons, that evoked an emotional response. Haiku today also explore imagery outside of nature.
When translated from Japanese to English haiku do not necessarily follow the 5-7-5 syllable format, leading writer Jack Kerouac to believe that, because of the differences in language structure, the western haiku should “simply say a lot in three short lines…”. This is the idea of haiku that I gravitate towards and hope to employ more, although I do use the traditional syllable structure.
Whatever format one chooses, the challenge is to express oneself in as few words as possible to deliver a vivid image with emotional impact.
I do not profess to be a learned or skilled poet, but I have dabbled in haiku and have composed many over the years. I love the challenge and discipline of brevity in expression.
I now challenge you, reader, to compose your own haiku, and to perhaps share with us. I will share mine and describe the scenes and thoughts that led to their creation. To help you get started, this MasterClass article could be useful: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-a-haiku-in-4-easy-steps#4-common-themes-of-haiku-poetry
I wrote this in October.
Gold and red leaves fall,
making room for bright green ones,
in a new season.
This was inspired one starry night by the thought that we are made of stardust.
Tiny spots of light
too far to reach out and touch,
yet I am of them.
A bird’s nest that was no longer hidden when the leaves fell.
An abandoned nest,
revealed in now bare branches,
once sang with new life.
I hope you feel encouraged to attempt writing haiku. Just trying would increase your awareness of the world around you and encourage you to use your senses more fully. And to then condense your thoughts into just seventeen syllables or less, well, that’s the fun part. And don’t forget to share. Perfection is optional.