Write a haiku

A caterpillar
This deep in fall
Still not a butterfly

– Matsuo Bashõ

I love to write and to read. So I like the art of words. My favorite is the haiku poem. I like short texts with deeper meanings.

A haiku is a Japanese poem which consists of seventeen syllables, traditionally written in three lines:

  • Line one has five syllables
  • Line two has seven syllables
  • Line three has five syllables

The haiku starts its origin in Japan. The Japanese rengu was a poetic form which was popular in the 13th and 14th century. It was consisting of lines written back and forth by two or more poets. It was governed by a codified structure and a complex set or rules. A rengu began with a short verse which was called hokku, which set the tone and situated the poetry in a certain season. This opening verse, mostly written in three phrases containing 5, 7 and 5 sounds, is the precursor to the haiku.

The most famous master of the haiku is Matsuo Bashõ (1644-1694). He developed and popularized a more relaxed and humorous form of rengu called kaikai. In the 19th century, hokku became haiku and was an independent form of poetry.

What I like the most about Japanese haiku’s and Ghibli animation movies is the simplicity. Being in the moment and being grateful for what is. It makes me aware about the importance of being mindful. Explore the natural world around you and get inspired.

Now it is time to start your own haiku. Just follow these steps:

  1. Decide what kind of haiku you want to write. You can start with the 5-7-5 syllable style.
  2. Choose a subject. Be mindful and pay attention to your surroundings. Most of the haiku’s are related to nature, but you can also choose to write about a person, season or about feelings. Choose elements of your daily life.
  3. Use short phrases that evoke strong images. Describe the subject with details. Use your senses and let the reader feel, sound, taste, look and smell. The present tense is better to use.  
  4. End with a surprising last line.

I think writing a haiku daily would be a good thing to do. Like writing your daily gratitude, is this also a way to become mindful and grateful. For me it also helps me to become more creative, as this is really a way to play with words. And I like to play with words!

Write a haiku now
Become aware of the words
That you can play with


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