ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Haiku for You

Updated on October 30, 2009

What is Haiku?

A Haiku is a poetic form that has three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables like the first. It originated in Japan over a thousand years ago.

Here is one of my favorite haikus as it appears in one of my favorite books on poetic forms, How to be Well Versed in Poetry:

Geese fly overhead 
Uplifting sight, which I missed 
Counting syllables 

Originally haiku meant a poem of this form about something in nature, but it has now come to mean any poem of the form described above. For example, years ago I wrote three haiku about the superbowl:

Super Bowl Haiku 1

Dolts squander millions 
On a thirty second spot 
Selling beer to apes

Super Bowl Haiku 2

Frenzied ritual 
Celebrating violence 
America's pride

Super Bowl Haiku 3

Spectacle of greed 
Sloth, gluttony, violence 
So entertaining

The first one was published at, web site of our local public radio sports show, "Only a Game." The second one is more at the role of the poet-as-prophet (rather than poet for profit) decrying society's ills. The third is a bait and switch kind of humor.

I like writing them. In fact I will write one now:

America sings 
Loudly of democracy:  
Barack Obama 

And another:

Leaves fall in color 
Beneath a black and white sky 
Winter is coming

A Japanese woman once read Haiku at an annual poetry event I help run. She read each poem twice. I am not sure if that is the authentic style of reading a haiku, or if it was her own style.

Haiku is a useful form to build poetic discipline with results that can turn out quite funny or quite moving and thought-provoking. All in all a most interesting form that has been especially popular for the past 200 years.

You should try it!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Wow, I never heard this, Frieda! But it sounds fun!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Aha! I figured it out!

      Okay, so I have to write a poem to accompany a visual haiku.

      I remembered you wrote this and came over write away. I remembered though that there was just one more rule, one more rule I was forgetting.

      Then I scrolled down to the reading of the Haiku twice.

      I know why!!!!

      It's because the first line has to make a complete thought, the first and second lines have to make a complete thought when put together, the second and thrid lines have to make yet another complete thought, and finally the third line has to make its own complete thought.

      So you read it the first time stressing the first two as one thought, and then the second time stressing the second two as one thought. Make sense? Thanks, Tom!!!!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Ajcor. It's great to learn something about the poetry of other cultures.

      Cristoph, that is a very nice Haiku in every respect. Thanks!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      I, too, love haiku,

      I would do one just for you,

      But I have the flu.

      (Repeat...then bang gong)

    • ajcor profile image


      9 years ago from NSW. Australia

      I love the Haiku Tom, and Basho, but I wasn't aware that the correct way to read them was twice so that is good info. cheers and thanks

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      10 years ago from United States

      I am glad you enjoyed them.

      All the best in the New Year

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      10 years ago

      I especially enjoyed the last two haiku "America sings" and "Leaves fall in color"

      Happy New Year, Debby

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      10 years ago from United States

      There is nothing better than a comment that illucidates a point within the hub. Thanks so much!

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      10 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Hi Tom! I enjoyed your haiku. I have my MFA in Writing and one woman in my program who happened to be from Japan did her research thesis on haiku. She, too, read each poem twice and said that was the correct way to do a haiku reading.

      Here is a fun NPR interview with the American co-author of Baseball Haiku, who also says haiku is generally read twice:


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)