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Haiku Poetry to Help Learning: Explanation of Poem Structure, Advantages, Have a Go and Examples


Ann is a retired teacher of literacy and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to multi-national and dyslexic students, having a DipSpLD

Haiku form explained

For those of you who are not familiar with Haiku, it is a Japanese poetry form with

only 3 lines:

  • 5 syllables
  • 7 syllables
  • 5 syllables,

should contain an indication of ‘time of year

and should have a ‘cutting’ word (change of view/surprise), usually in the second line.

It should also make you think!

Have a go at composing your own; think of a subject, describe it as simply as possible but use colourful, unexpected words, maybe juxtaposed, maybe contrasting in different ways. Put together the unusual, like settees and rivers or dogs and skis! It's great fun and you'll be surprised what effective poetry you can create.

Read over each one and see if you can make it crisper, more succinct, play with alternative words. I find that one haiku often gives me an idea for another.

I suppose the trick is to say as much as possible in as few words as possible, whilst creating as much effect as possible. Not that I always manage to do that but it's great fun trying!


Warm Thoughts for a Winter's Day

The sun is ablaze

burning off the mist - bluebells

bask; I smile, captured.

Soothing Sand

My feet too constrained,

the shoes come off. Hot, beaded

grains of sand massage.

Working Waves

The water rushes

into shore, he runs shrieking,

pure joy in his eyes.

Natural Sustenance

Dappled shade it gives,

the full canopy - dripping

drinks of fresh growth rain.

In his Eyes

Trees rustle, sway

and swoop above, his eyes wide

in baby wonder.

Swallow on the wire

Swallow on the wire

Swallows and Starlings

The swallows dart in

magnetic blue twilight - grab

their unwary prey.

Starlings on the wire,

‘Move up, move up, fall in line!

Gossip tweet on air!’

Advantages over other Poetry

Traditional poetry is beautiful and has structure too, of course. However, to appreciate it properly, we need time to read it, quietly, without distraction. It takes even longer to write it; to include all the emotions and descriptions that one wants to convey, to do justice to the poetry and to oneself.

Haiku can be done in an instant; it's so much fun and you can include just as much emotion. It's brilliant for concentrating thoughts during the day, to catch an idea and encapsulate it, to record ideas in almost memo form! It's a good discipline to practise and it's a brilliant way for children to start writing poetry - they don't have to find a rhyme but they still have to conform to some rules.

Part of an Anthology


Use in Teaching

I have used this form of poetry to encourage and help a dyslexic student who, though he had a good vocabulary, had difficulty recognising syllables as well as being able to organise information in his head to put to paper. His general knowledge and his varied vocabulary was channelled so that he had to choose his words carefully to convey exactly what he meant; the results were amazing. He was over the moon - a person who often struggled at school. We put together an anthology which was circulated in school and used for fund-raising.

The key to writing Haiku (or anything else for that matter!) is not to be afraid, to let your imagination go and see what happens. You'll probably be surprised at the result! Good Luck!!

Are you Haiku Happy?

© 2012 Ann Carr


Nell Rose from England on December 08, 2020:

Hi Ann, thanks for reading my vaccine article. Its a nightmare trying to comment these days. I came to say I read your music one. I used to play the piano when I was small. My teacher always had cotton wool in her ears, lol! as you can imagine, it didn't inspire me! I also love Haikus too.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 13, 2012:

Thanks RandyM. I'm glad you found it useful and I look forward to reading some of your haikus!

Randy McLaughlin from Liberia, Costa Rica on October 07, 2012:

I enjoyed the article. I have been thinking of doing this art form. Thanks for the technical info. I will attempt this. Voted useful!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on August 22, 2012:

Thanks for dropping by, Perspycacious. Have read some of your excellent examples and look forward to reading more.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on August 21, 2012:

Oh, my! How I love to write within the format and confines of the Haiku.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 15, 2012:

Thank you cherriquinn. I hope you have a go now and maybe we'll read the results! Hope so. You'll find it's a good discipline which can help with any other writing. Thanks for the vote.

cherriquinn from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne on May 14, 2012:

Great hub! Ive wanted to try haiku but didn't know its discipline.I may try it now, you explained it very well and it is also interesting to learn how it has helped your student with dyslexia. voted up.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on April 24, 2012:

Thank you so much for your comment dragonbear. Sorry for the delay in reply; I'm still in France and getting online here is intermittent to say the least (out in the stix!). Back in UK soon. I'm glad I inspired you - look forward to reading some perhaps?! I appreciate your follow. Enjoy your day!

dragonbear from Essex UK on April 07, 2012:

Great Hub - I've often seen Haiku but never really read about their background. You've inspired me to write a couple of my own - first attempts! Thanks annart.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on March 22, 2012:

Hello again Hyphenbird! Thank you for your kind comments. I like your description 'crisp, clean, brief'; it makes one think carefully about word choices! Looking forward to meeting you more in the future and I'll look out for your haiku too!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on March 21, 2012:

This is a lovely Hub. I love Haiku, even mine. lol I have been guilty of taking liberties with seasons. But I adore the crisp, clean, brief words in a Haiku poem. I can see how it helped your student. That was very wise of you to use it. Your won Haiku are very good also.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 29, 2012:

Glad I've inspired you alocsin! Let me know how you get on - a sample even? Good luck and thanks for the votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 28, 2012:

Your hub gives me enough info to try this form. Voting this Up and Useful.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 20, 2012:

Thank you RTalloni. Good haiku - try doing one with a change of mood at the end of the 7 syllables! It's all good fun :)

RTalloni on January 20, 2012:

Very nice! I recently took a closer look at haiku via another hubber and actually enjoyed giving it a go. Here's one for you. :)

mysterious bloom

bright white with heady fragrance

lighting the night gloom

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 08, 2012:

Thanks knottlena, it's good to know I've jogged your memory. Bet you can do plenty of good ones yourself now.

Great haiku, Winsome! Go to New Zealand and you'll be able to do just that - don't know if they exist anywhere else, must look it up. Interesting to read about that other flower - no wonder it only blooms after 75 years! Keep writing!

Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on January 07, 2012:

Moonflower I wait

Breathing the night breezes in

To catch your first scent

What a fun flower. It beats the Titan Arum which blooms after 75 years and you don't want to smell it. =:)

knottlena from Connecticut on January 07, 2012:

Thank you. I often wondered what a Haiku was. I was of course told years ago in an English class, but alas...as a teenager I tended to not listen well.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 07, 2012:

Thank you for your kind comment Vinaya Ghimire. It's good to know which ones people especially like, if any! I'll keep going

Thanks also NightFlower. Kind comment.

NightFlower on January 07, 2012:

I love it in it's entirety...you want to come in and stay.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on January 07, 2012:

I love haiku, I have even published a few on hubpages. I enjoyed reading your haiku. They are beautiful.

This is my favorite one:

Trees rustle, sway

and swoop above, his eyes wide

in baby wonder.

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