What is Haiku? 5-7-5

A haiku is a traditional Japanese poem which consists of three unrhymed lines. The first line contains five syllables, the second line contains seven, and the last line five (5-7-5). Traditionally, a haiku describes scenes in nature.

See Haiku Examples

The history and definition of HAIKU:

Haiku is a mode of Japanese poetry, the late 19th century revision by Masaoka Shiki of the older hokku, the opening verse of a linked verse form, haikai no renga. The traditional hokku consisted of a pattern of approximately 5, 7, 5 on. The Japanese word on, meaning "sound", corresponds to a mora, a phonetic unit similar but not identical to the syllable of a language such as English. (The words onji, ("sound symbol") or moji (character symbol) are also sometimes used.) A haiku contains a special season word (the kigo) representative of the season in which the renga is set, or a reference to the natural world.

Haiku usually combines three different phrases, with a distinct grammatical break, called kireji, usually placed at the end of either the first five or second seven morae. In Japanese, there are actual kireji words. In English, kireji is often replaced with commas, hyphens, elipses, or implied breaks in the haiku. These elements of the older haiku are considered by many to be essential to haiku as well, although they are not always included by modern writers of Japanese "free-form haiku" and of non-Japanese haiku. Japanese haiku are typically written as a single line, while English language haiku are traditionally separated into three lines.

In Japanese, nouns do not have different singular and plural forms, so 'haiku' is usually used as both a singular and plural noun in English as well.

Senryu is a similar poetry form that emphasizes humor and human foibles instead of seasons, and which may not have kigo or kireji.

A few Haiku samples:

Words as an art form
the lure of the undergroun
mystery within


How often, really
can the simple things matter?
always, millions, now


Future President
Prefer one with a backbone
Only time will tell

Motown Terri

Article by Motown Terri: Terri writes poetry under the name Motown Terri. For the Best Poetry Around, come visit the Underground! [https://www.undergroundpoets.org] Terri also owns Article Gallery and shares how you can profit from your articles

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