How to Haiku

17 April 2020 2 minute read

Yes Haiku, as in the ancient Japanese form of poetry - but what does that have to do with trees you may ask. This well-loved tradition is inspired by nature and has its roots in a deep appreciation of the natural world. 

There are many tree haikus and these days the subject matter has broadened out to anything you would like. Haikus have become so popular partly because of their simplicity. It means that anyone can write a Haiku and to prove it we’re throwing down the gauntlet, your challenge should you wish to accept it is to write a Haiku! Even several Haikus if you feel like it. Don’t worry, what follows is a quick 101 on this special art form to get you on your way. Have fun!

So what makes a Haiku a Haiku? They are short and follow a set formula. Usually 3 lines and follow a pattern of 5 – 7 – 5 syllables. These lines don’t need to rhyme. One way of going about writing a Haiku is to spend some time in nature, maybe going for a walk in a park, or sit in your garden, even looking out of a window. Just take your time and that inspire you. (These poems are traditionally about a objective experience, something you experienced or thought of in a particular moment.) They often have a reference to a season like spring or autumn and can have two contrasting ideas/images.

Old Pond (By Basho)

Old pond

a frog jumps

the sound of water

In this example, we can clearly see two contrasting parts of the poem; one is about a frog that is jumping, and second is about the sound of water. The syllable pattern is also following a 5-7-5 format.

Something about spirit of it, illuminating a moment, something about reality and strong imagery all together go to give a Haiku.

That may sound a lot, but actually describing it is harder than doing it. Once you get a feel for it you’re on your way. Share your haikus with us! Send them to and we'll share the best ones.

Illustrations by @sarali113

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