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Haiku and Senryu Jokes

Updated on March 6, 2012

Haiku and Senryu Jokes

What is haiku? What is senryu? What is the difference? I am asked these questions at least once every decade. So here’s the real deal. Both haiku and senryu are based on an ancient Japanese form of short poetry. Each is a three-line poem that may or may not rhyme.

Each short poem follows a specific format: Line 1 and Line 3 each contain 5 syllables. Line 2 has 7 syllables. That’s it. No deviation. Seventeen syllables in all. No more. No less. Because both types of poetry are so brief, they must capture a message in very few words. Imagery and pith reign.

How do they differ?

Traditional Japanese haiku generally refer to either a season or nature. Senryu are more concerned with relationships and human nature, and may be more satirical or ironic. Note: Beware of deviation or your haiku is psycho. And your senryu, an obscenity, too.

Here are my haiku/senryu creations with as much pith and humor as brevity can provide.

Look at me! I'm doing the Hokey-Pokey!
Look at me! I'm doing the Hokey-Pokey!

Can an elephant

Jump higher than a lamp post?

Yes! Lamp posts can’t jump!


What do you give deer

Who get gas from too much beer?

An Elka Seltzer.


Do you want to try

New sport – cross-country skiing?

Start with small country.

Beware! Alcohol

And calculus do not thrive.

Don’t drink and derive.


I like long, long trips

When they are taken by folks

Who tell lousy jokes.


Those birth control pills

Will be tax deductible

If they do not work.

Man says to his ‘shrink’

“I’m suicidal. Help me.”

“Then pay in advance!”


Early birds get worms.

But it is the second mouse

Who will get the cheese.


What is big and gray

And wrote gloomy poetry?

T. S. Elephant.

Two cannibals dine.

They are eating an old clown.

Does he taste funny?


Lead me not into

Temptation. I can find it

All by my own self.


Always wished to know:

How do you make a bandstand?

Take away its chairs!

Make that a LARGE chap stick.
Make that a LARGE chap stick.

Duck asks pharmacist,

"I would like some chap stick, please.

Put it on my bill."


A man with one arm

Will shop at a special place:

A secondhand store.


Yesterday it worked,

Today it is not working.

That's Windows for you!

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2012. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So"

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    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Nice to meet you, ignugent17. Thanks for the visit and enjoying the reading ... the sharing is my pleasure.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Now, Audrey, you may consider yourself a haiku and senryu joke expert! I have spoken! And thank you, m'dear, for the 'clever.'

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      Enjoyed reading your haiku. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I don't think I have ever seen a haiku or senryu joke before--clever!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Read this twice, eh, Vinaya? Then you are one of my favorite commenters. Delighted you found this funny and amusing. And yeah, those pills can be treacherous!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Funny and amusing, I read twice.

      I choose this one:

      Those birth control pills

      Will be tax deductible

      If they do not work.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Yes, Kelly, do try your hand at Haiku, though typing on a computer might be faster. I've never dined on clown myself but I have eaten a cupcake with a clown face on the icing. I think Holle (Habee) once did a hub on those. BTW, how do you eat a cupcake? Do you take a bite of the whole thing, icing and all? Or do you carefully dissect the icing top from the rest and eat it last? Just wonderin'.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      How are you, Martie, I'm happy to see you here enjoying these haikus and senryus. They are probably very, very different from what those ancient Japanese poets had in mind when they were created hundreds of years ago. But the world does change and I like to think it does for the better. Although the U.S. during an election year may not be the perfect example of positivism.

      Thank you for the sweet 'one of a kind,' comment. As you point out not only am I too ancient to change, why tamper with perfection? Heh, heh. Hope your world is treating you well, m'luv.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Ok now I'm gonna a have to out a Lil note in my notebook to try this!

      I bet clowns DO taste funny! Now that might be an interesting recipe hub:) lol

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Oh my goodness... Lol! Who else but drbj will use haiku's and senryu's to delight us with her sense of humor.

      drbj, you are one of a very special kind. Thank heavens you are as old as dirt, so you will not be able to change :)

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for finding these funny and the up, pras. Don't worry if you don't create haikus. You share with all your readers wonderful, imaginative places to visit instead all over the world. We love you and your work.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      This was funny poem. Unfortunately, I can't make Haiku and Senryu like you did before. But should give my vote for your work. Good job and rated up!

      Prasetio

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Susan, we hoots have to stick together. Thank you for the creative and funny - most appreciated, m'dear.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      drbj, You're a hoot. All of these are so creative and funny!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Do not feel deprived, Debbie, I did not learn of Haiku / Senryu until fairly recently, but enjoy the challenge of creating something funny to say in only 17 syllables. Happy you enjoyed the introduction and found this an amazing read. That makes two of us, m'luv.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      until I joined HUB I had not heard of Haiku and Senryu.. but I am so glad that I have been introduced to it.. thank you for sharing this.

      this is amazing read

      Debbie

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      You did not disappoint me, Docmo, with your creation of 'pun'ditry.' And your skill at amazingly awesome alliteration has been duly noted. Since you enjoyed this session, I'll try to come up with one more. After all, that's what 'masters' are for.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Well, Sally, it sppears that 'Mr. Ducky' is one of the favorites. Purely punny, eh? Love that! And thank you for loving them all as well as the 'hilarious and delightful.' Hope you are enjoying your too short weekend.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      There is no end to this 'pun'ditry. These erudite, effervescent and effectively entertaining excursions keep me eagerly awaiting for the next lot. You've found your calling. The world awaits you, oh master.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Hilarious! Delightful! Love them all, but I, too, get a particular kick out of Mr. Ducky. He's so absolutely purely punny. lol

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Lynda. Coffee chuckles are gladly provided. Just be sure to swallow before chuckling. Much neater.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I can always count on you for a chuckle with my AM coffee. Thanks.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      So you like the duck one, too, Movie Master? Never would have guessed he would be such a winner. Thank you for stopping by and the up and the funny. Ducky thanks you, too.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Paradise, the duck sends his regards; he loves recognition. If you ever need any joke 'translated,' just give me a call. And I'll be bewildered right beside you. Thanks for the visit, m'dear.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Everyone one is a winner! Fantastic - the duck one is my favourite!

      Voting up and very funny!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      I"m still laughing over the duck one. I think my sense of humour stopped at about age 7 years, but that's okay. That's when innocent jokes are the best ones--the rest of 'em, you don't even get!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Dex, what a wonderful feeling to know that I had a part in lifting your spirits, my friend. Just hope you weren't spirited too far away. Or by strangers in white coats.

      I appreciate you, too - you are very "appreciatable."

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, teaches. delighted you had a good laugh. It was definitely my pleasure to share. Thank you for the wonderful, witty and great sense of humor. Now there are at least two of us who believe that! :)

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Hi Dr. BJ! Whenever I need my spirits lifted, it is a pleasure to find your wit and humor waiting to take me away! Another gem! You are really appreciated!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      What a great sense of humor! I had a good laugh. Wonderful and witty post. Thanks for sharing.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      So happy, Alicia, I could provide a way for you to relax after work by reading my 'clever, amusing' jokes. My pleasure, m'luv. Hope you are not reading them while deriving, I mean, driving. And you are most welcome.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, fp, for finding this experience edifying, entertaining and enlightening. Your comments are exceptionally exhilarating. And you need not doff your hat to me, m'dear. Simply kissing my ring will suffice. :)

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Lela, for loving the 'don't drink and derive' haiku. I thought it was pretty clever myself.

      And for loving all the rest, too.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Delighted you are never disappointed when you stop by, b. Malin. I am always disappointed if I don't find you here. Thanks for your gracious and absolutely true comments and the pleasure, m'luv, is entirely mine.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Well, if you say so, Hilary, since you are the expert. Thanks for letting me know that yoga Asana has replaced the Hokey Pokey. Who knew? Do you think they will use it at wedding receptions, too? Wouldn't that be a hoot?

      Thanks for finding my haikus so funny and right to the point. And namaste backatcha, my hubbuddy.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Ruby, for appreciating my unique haiku joke collection. I'm not sure what provoked the inspiration but I'm happy you love it and that they made you laugh. Your comments are like chicken soup for the soul. Wouldn't that be a great title for an inspirational book? Oh, wait, it already is. Darn!

      Please do write more haikus now that you have mastered (?) mistressed (?) that art form.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, megni, nice to meet you and with comments like yours and tweeting my hub as well, you are most welcome - any time. Were you counting the syllables? When I read haikus, I sometimes do. I guess it's like touching a bench with a wet paint sign on it to be sure the paint is really wet. Right?

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Love that one-word 'brilliant' comment, Eddy, you certainly know the way to my heart. Thank you for the up and away, too, and a great day - make that a great week - to you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm reading this at the end of the day instead of in the morning, so your poems are a great way for me to relax after work, drbj! The poems are clever and amusing, like all your joke hubs. Thanks for the fun.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Alastar, thank you for appreciating my humorous take on haiku/senryu. It occurred to me they might be a perfect vehicle for short jokes with a little judicious syllable juggling. Plan to create some more wicked ones as inspiration arrives.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      What a sweet comment, christopher, comparing my brief poems to 'a series of little happy pills.' Love that imaginative phrase. Take as many as you need, my friend, and I will attempt to keep them coming. Thank YOU!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, hildred. I admire your brevity in hub commenting as well as your perceptiveness in finding this hub amusing.

      Nice to meet you.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 5 years ago

      drbj, I doff my hat to you for singlehandedly making my Hub Pages experience so edifying, entertaining and enlightening! :)

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      You definitely made my day, mary, by laughing at each one of these doozies. Please be my guest, do bookmark this, and impress your friends. If they are genuine friends, they already know how clever you really are my dear. Thanks for the Up and the et ceteras.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Becky. If these made you groan, I have accomplished my mission. Thanks for the funny, awesome and the sharing. BTW, I think I heard the groans from here!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Jaye. So you laughed at every one? You are my type of reader, m'dear. Your fave about the cross-country skiing is one of my favorites, too. Thanks for the Up and funny. Signed ... dr(mental dexterity)bj.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Welcome, SilentReed, thank you for being the first to comment. So happy I could provide you with a hearty laugh to accompany your morning coffee. Funny you mentioned stand-up Vegas comedians. Humor has always been a vital part of my repertoire whether conducting a seminar or consulting with clients. Can't imagine doing business without it.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Don't drink and derive! Ha! Loved it! and all the rest too.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      You are a LAUGH a minute Drbj...Never disappointed when I stop by. Such an Educational read...Ha, Ha, Thanks for this Clever Hub!

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Lol! So funny and right to the point! Love that elephant photo..but the hokey pokey is out - yoga Asana are in.

      Namaste.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I must tell you that your haiku collection is unique and only you would think to do this in a joke fashion. I love it. It made me laugh. It is going to be a while before i can muster up the courage to attempt another haiku..Hee Hee

    • megni profile image

      megni 5 years ago

      Wonderful and smart and rigt on the syllables. I tweeted your hub. I did not know the difference between haiku and senryu but now I do. Thanks.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Only one word needed here :-Brilliant and an up up and away.

      I wish you a great day.

      Take care

      Eddy.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Leave it to Drbj to take on the haiku/senryu in a humorous way and in so doing create for us some wicked good ones!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      These poems are like a series of little happy pills. Ingesting them first thing in the morning will set me up for the day.

      Thank you. Keep up the good woek.

    • hildred profile image

      hildred 5 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Ha! This was amusing. I admire your brevity in joke telling :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I would tell you which of these delightful poems was the best, but that is not possible. I laughed at each one. In fact I've bookmarked this Hub so I can impress my friends. They will think I'm so clever. Then I'll have to tell them you wrote this, darn it. You are SO good! I voted this UP, etc.etc.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      UNGH!! So funny they made me groan. Funny, awesome, and shared.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Delightful! I laughed at every one and marveled at your mental dexterity. As usual, I must pick a favorite (which you made difficult), which is the one about cross-country skiing. "Pick a small country." Indeed!

      UP and F-U-N-N-Y!!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

      Woke up this morning to a cup of coffee and a hearty laugh.Thanks. Those zen master were noted for their brevity and sense of humor. They would have made it big as stand up comedians in Vegas....you too :)