How to Write a Haiku Poem:
Haiku Examples and Tips

This page explains how to write a haiku poem, and offers haiku examples and prompts to inspire you. At the bottom of this page, you'll find links to more CWN pages about poetry.

At the bottom of the page, you'll find haiku examples from our visitors.

Due to a large number of poetry submissions which we are still reviewing, we are temporarily unable to accept new submissions.

What is haiku?

Haiku is a Japanese poetry form. A haiku uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader's mind. It is like a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself.

Traditionally, haiku is written in three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line.

Haiku examples

Here's a haiku poem written by a poetry student:

The last winter leaves
Clinging to the black branches
Explode into birds.


You can find haiku examples by our visitors at the bottom of this page.

Characteristics of haiku

The following are typical of haiku:

  • A focus on nature.
  • A "season word" such as "snow" which tells the reader what time of year it is.
  • A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.
  • Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.

How to write a haiku - try it!

You can use the pictures lower down on this page to give you ideas. In your haiku, try to use details related to the senses -- sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste.

Or look out your window, and describe what you see. Try to "zoom in" on a small detail that contains the feeling of the larger scene.

Or follow the steps below to write a "surprise-ending haiku." This is based on an exercise from the poet Ron Patchett which is described in The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson:

  1. Write two lines about something beautiful in nature. You can use the pictures below to give you ideas. Don't worry about counting syllables yet.
  2. Write a third line that is a complete surprise, that is about something completely different from the first two lines.
  3. Look at the three lines together. Does the combination of these two seemingly unrelated parts suggest any surprising relationships? Does it give you any interesting ideas?
  4. Now rewrite the poem, using the 5-syllable, 7-syllable, 5-syllable format and experimenting with the new ideas or perspectives that have occurred to you.

Haiku examples by our visitors

Click below to see contributions from other poets.

haiku poems - page 4 
Green leaves hang from trees still and damp, moss starts to grow delicate and fresh.

haiku poems - page 13 
warm, inviting hot chocolate deliciously floating marshmallows hits the spot!

haiku poems - page 10 
Dreams held so dearly Shatter instantly, nightmare Reality looms

haiku poems - page 12 
Colorful rainbow so sweet and wow through my eye how beautiful rainbows are.

haiku poems - page 15 
High desert darkness; Illuminates the White Star; An angel awakes!

haiku poems - page 14 
Beautiful oak Pretty fountain flowing free With thick dark red blood

haiku poems - page 11 
slowly and softly falling swiftly to the ground lays there very still

haiku poems - page 8 
Aspergere love peace Lavender whorls,jasmine cymose, Essence of nature!

haiku poems - page 9 
The massive ripples Marching onto the mute shore Radiate under the sun

haiku poems - page 7  
The sea's crashing waves call me Soothing confusion Promising life's adventure... _______________ About the author: "My HAIKU explained: The wrong …

haiku poems - page 6 
One small piece of heart is mended in a moment. Rain falls, tears of joy. _______________ About the author: "Grace currently lives in Southern …

haiku poems - page 5 
Snowflakes are our friends, They descend when winter comes, Making white blankets. _______________ About the author: "My name is Olivia and I live …

haiku poems - page 3 
Handheld face Sipping lips - drinking mouths Eyes fall, now see.

more haiku poetry 
Some of the haiku that we recently published have disappeared from the page, apparently due to a technical problem. We are very sorry about this. We are …

haiku poems 
Sun lights aspen green Clouds like tail ships sail above Brief joyous season

Haiku Photo Prompts

water

apples on a windowsill

rocks

roof

foam


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