How to Compose a Haiku?


I love writing and reading poems. We can explore true emotions through poetry. Only poems can explore deep love. If you are in love you become a poet. I started writing by writing poems. I have even published a poetry book and a book of poems and flash fictions.

Poetry can be written on various styles. Some of the common poetry styles are:





Senryu etc.

Japanese poetry forms not only have deep roots in Japanese culture and literature, but also are popular in different cultures, countries and languages. It has even influenced English literature deeply. There are numerous poetry forms in Japanese literature, and the most popular Japanese poetry forms are Haiku, Senryu, Haiga and Tanka

When Japanese poetry forms were incorporated in other languages, they went through many modifications. Most of the poets in English and other languages do no maintain the original Japanese structure of Haiku, Senryu, Haiga and Tanka.

Haiku: Haiku is unrhymed three-lined poetry in 17 syllables. Haikus are composed about nature.

Senryu: Senryu is similar to Haiku. The only difference between Senryu and Haiku is thematic treatment. Haiku is about nature, whereas Senryu are written on irony of human nature.

Haiga: Haiga is a visual poetry. When Haiku and Senryu are blended with painting or photograph, it becomes Haiga. Originally Haiga was Haiku/Senryu written over a painting. Modern haiga is a haiku/sneryu written over a photograph.

Tanka: Tanka is a five-lined Japanese poetry form composed in 31-syllable.

How to Compose a Haiku?

Haiku is the most popular Japanese poetry form. Haiku communicates and puts forward profound wisdom in few words. Haiku is an observation or commentary on nature and season. Even though haiku were originally composed in Japanese language, today haikus are composed in many languages, including English.

The basic rules of haiku are:

  • There has to be 17 syllables in total.
  • There has to be three lines.
  • The form of haiku is 5-7-5 syllables.
  • The first line consists of 5 syllables.
  • The second line is 7 syllables.
  • The last line is 5 syllables.

The three lines and 17 syllables must project a single word picture. Most importantly, haiku is unrhymed and the last line hits the reader. Haiku plays with word-pictures, every line evokes imagery. The word-pictures that each line implies are the parts of a single picture.

Sometimes haiku is also written on 5-3-5 pattern (in about 13 syllables). Modern haiku is three-lined non-rhyming poetry in 17 or less syllables. Modern haiku poets do not always work on nature and season but on border themes.

Photo source: author


    1. Profile photo of Vinaya
      Vinaya Post author

      You don’t have to strictly follow the rules. Modern haiku are so different from traditional haiku.

    1. Profile photo of Vinaya
      Vinaya Post author

      writing haiku sometimes can be like solving a math problem

  1. Profile photo of S.L. Luna
    S.L. Luna

    Hello Vinaya, and members,
    Haiku is my favorite form of Japanese poetry. Matsuo Basho is most famous traditional haiku poet Thanks for writing an introduction to haiku as I have been prolonging listing any of my haikus here yet ( they are Haifa), photo haikus and I post them on my Instagram account and in Pinterest for the images . I’m working on finushi g my poetry anthology ,before my bday (October) to self publish as ebook and later on in print. It is a combination of photo and artwork over haiku. Haiku, narrative, lyrical , sonnet, flash fiction. I’ve distinguished my haiku’s under inspirational and spiritual, , love, and dark haiku. I had a recent short trip to Japan ( June 2016 ) and made some haiku’s overlooking Tokyo bay . it really gave me the atmosphere and in the gardens and temples of Kamakura .
    To add to the meaning of haiku , there must be a reference to season ( kigo) and nature, and a juxtaposition, ( a contrast in effect) . Modern haikus may not have any reference to season or nature but on other themes the poet wishes., and the 17 syllable may be there or less. Everyone who is in love is a poet.

    Here is a sample of my favorite ones:

    Lovely as mornings
    Breathtaking is your beauty
    A brocade of spring.

    Night falls thru bright lights
    Sitting by the waterfront
    Love patiently waits.

    Seeking consciousness
    The moment I live in Now
    I am awakened.
    –s. L Luna

    If anyone is interested to follow me
    – at IG , my account is stellaluna_in the city with the hashtag #stellalunapoetry .
    -at Pinterest I’m Stella Luna.
    -at FB its Defyingmama . and Sheila Lontok ( personal page)
    -at my personal blog :

    Hoping to connect with like minded writers and poets.

    “If you can’t be a poet, be the poem. ” – David Carradine.

    And from my own words:
    “A painter, dancer, singer, lover, plumber, mom, child is a poet. Anyone who experience and express life is a poet in free form. Your beauty is no compare. “.- S.L.Luna.

    1. Profile photo of Vinaya
      Vinaya Post author

      Thank you very much for sharing your haiku. Modern haiku do not follow the the original theme and syllables.

  2. Profile photo of destinygirl

    It really is interesting but a little difficult since I haven’t tried writing any type of poetry especially haiku. Perhaps one day I might compose a haiku for fun.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *