Haiku is a poetic form and a type of poetry from the Japanese culture. Haiku combines form, content, and language in a meaningful, yet compact form. Haiku poets write about everyday things. Many themes include nature, feelings, or experiences. Usually they use simple words and grammar.
The most common form for Haiku is three short lines. The first line usually contains five (5) syllables, the second line seven (7) syllables, and the third line contains five (5) syllables. You do not need to adhere to this rule however. I’ve included one example that follows the rule and one that doesn’t.
Haiku doesn’t rhyme. A Haiku must “paint” a mental image in the reader’s mind. This is the challenge of Haiku – to put the poem’s meaning and imagery in the reader’s mind in ONLY 17 syllables over just three (3) lines of poetry!
By Paul McCann
Snow lay on the street .
It crunched underneath my feet .
Footprints in the snow.
By Basho, 1686
The old pond;
A frog jumps in –
The sound of the water.