How To Write Haiku

  ‘One of my most popular posts has been my series on how to write Haiku.  So I thought I would bring this post back for my newer friends, followers and visitors.’

Mt.Fuji.2.Cover 001Haiku Poetry, an ancient form of writing poetry from Japan, is very strict in its discipline. Three sections of three lines each. The first and  third lines, in each section, must be five syllables. The second line must be seven syllables.  A reference to nature is usually found somewhere in the poem. My Sumi-E ink and brushwork you see here is also an ancient Japanese technique.

Tip:  When I first write haiku I don’t worry so much about the structure on the first draft.  I get my thoughts down and then start editing words (syllables) until I have the correct structure  of   5-7-5.  This works best for me and gives me more freedom.

Tip: Over the centuries (and certainly in the US) Haiku has been reduced to one section of three lines.  In ancient Japan culture (11-12th centuries) a haiku (correct name: Renku)  had three sections of three lines.  I prefer to write in the ancient style but it is acceptable, by some, to write a complete poem in three lines.

For  years I had been writing little snippets of this and that, periodically trying my hand at writing Haiku.  Years later a book of poetry washaiku, smaurai, Misashi, poetry, writing, blogging, blogs
conceived and then a book dedicated to Haiku, one of my favorite forms of writing.  A companion  Journal for your Haiku compositions and other journaling is also available.

REVIEW from The Midwest Book Review, February 2013

‘The World of Haiku is a striking collection of original poetry; each poem consists of three haiku verses. Bold, pen-and-ink artwork embellishes each brief poem. The World of Haiku embodies the spirit of encompassing timeless observations in a fleeting moment of verse, and is a delightful treasure for any who enjoy contemplative haiku poetry. ~~Paul T. Vogel, Reviewer

haiku, poetry, pen and ink art, poems, Japanese haiku,Hope you enjoy these samples of  my Haiku…

                                                             Haiku  ©

                                                 to write haiku is
                                                       to distill to perfection
                                                   with only three lines  



Spring Birth ©  (Renku)

one twig, two twigs, three
soft down plucked from mother’s breast
the perfect bower

three tiny blue eggs
under warmth of mother’s love
they stir, they hatch new

three urgent beaks open wide
insistent, burning, they beg
speckled downy fuzz

Fall Opens the Door

morning sun dapples
trees in a polka-dot dress
shines soft green and light

chill hint of autumn
smells of summer, loam, and pause
visions of winter

sap returns from leaves
to store deep in the tree heart
yellow, red, orange, burnt

  brush and ink by author/poet

Roar of Silence  ©

to live in the woods
listen to the sheer quiet
so weighty and loud

the morn silent, still
not a whisper of sound stirs
deafening stillness

weighing on the ear
silence roars loud in the brain
the bird’s shrill cry brays

and from two masters….Yukio Mishima and Miyamoto Musashi,  a 15th century Japanese swordsman and ronin (the term for what we now know as Samurai) became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings, a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today. Miyamoto Musashi is widely considered one of the greatest warriors of all time. Samurai were expected to explore their artistic and philosophical side and most were known, not only for their prowess on the battlefield, but for their beautiful poetry.  (Note: translated, the poetry does not keep to the exact discipline. Japanese poets used ‘sound units’ rather than syllables.)

The sheaths of swords rattle
As after years of endurance
Brave men set out
To tread upon the first frost of the year

A small night storm blows
Saying ‘falling is the essence of a flower’
Preceding those who hesitate
—Yukio Mishima

……and by Miyamoto Musashi

A crow has settled
on a bare branch
Autumn evening

On a withered branch,
A crow has stopped
Autumn’s eve

A lone crow
sits on a dead branch
this autumn eve

(PS. I invite you to send me your Haiku and if you wish it, I will critique and publish it here on my blog.)

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