I’ve been haiku’d!

A haiku for a weeping willow in Norwich?


If you need focus, get haiku’d. The Japanese know how to appreciate the moment: tea ceremonies where the design and the feel of the cup is lauded, the colour of the drink discussed, the scent, the very feel of the beverage dissected and praised.

Not surprising, therefore, the land of the rising sun gave us the haiku. Haiku is a poetic form that, traditionally, aims to capture a moment in nature, like a snapshot with words.

Most typically achieved using seventeen syllables arranged in three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables, the practice of writing haikus is particularly useful if you are engaged in a word-limited literary arena such as writing songs. In such instances, words should be chosen carefully so that they can convey the specific mood, meaning and impact you require and haikus can help you build up that muscle. Haikus encourage you to pick up every word and study it closely for its sound, meaning, feel and impact.

Here are some examples of the haiku:

O’er the wintry wood,

winds howl in an empty rage

with no leaves to blow.

Soseki (1275-1351)

This haiku by the ‘punk poet, John Cooper Clarke, comes via recommendation of Westown Girl :

Writing a poem

In seventeen syllables

Is very diffic.

(John Cooper Clarke, 1979)

Cool, innit?

Happy Haikuing


About suehealy

Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre and associate lecturer in playwriting at the universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, Irish playwright Sue Healy has a PhD in modern theatre history. Her most recent stage play Imaginationship (2018) recently enjoyed a sell-out, extended run at the Finborough Theatre and is headed to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in August. Cow (2017) was staged at the Etcetera Theatre and Brazen (2016) ran at the King’s Head, funded by Arts Council England. Her work has been performed at the Criterion, Hackney Attic, Claremorris Festival (New Writing Award winner), Brighton Festival (the Sussex Playwrights’ Award Winner) and Sterts Theatre and has been developed by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and support by the Peggy Ramsay Award. Her nine radio-plays have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has won prizes for her prose including the Molly Keane and HISSAC Awards and the Escalator Prize. A UEA Creative Writing MA alumna, Sue spent eleven years in Budapest editing Hungary A.M. Sue also tutors Creative Writing at CityLit. View all posts by suehealy

13 responses to “I’ve been haiku’d!

  • Denise MacLennan Bruce of Ingleside

    those are great, Sue 🙂 My friend in India loves Haikus 🙂 He tried to get me to write one, but I chickened out lol

    the tree is soooo beautiful!



    Hey, I liked this post even before I saw I was in it!Thanks Sue. Great post, yet again, like Haiku itself, short, crisp and to the point. Love Haiku. Lord there’s a T-Shirt in there somewhere:)

  • Sherry Isaac

    Interesting post
    Sue Healy makes it easy
    to procrastinate

    Sherry Isaac, 2012

  • Judith Post

    I think poetry is hard to write, and haikus are even harder. But it sure makes you think about the impact of each word.

  • hilyer68

    Nice post Sue – are you going to give us one of yours?

    Here’s the last double-haiku stanza from my poem ‘Kingfisher’…

    The kingfisher gives
    A glimpse of eternity
    In a flash of blue;
    Holds for a moment,
    In perfect iridescence,
    The essence of you.

  • EllaDee

    Your post has inspired me to persevere with Haiku. Like one of the other commenters I had thought of composing a Haiku but chickened out… and found a limerick much easier. 🙂 EllaDee

  • karenselliott

    John Cooper Clarke. That is amusi-. I dabble in haiku here and there. It’s a fun exercise. And not that easy.

  • joylaxpower

    This is a very beautiful blog. I love it so much, especially how you are able to connect with so many readers out there. Mine is http://www.joylax.wordpress.com

  • bardessdmdenton

    ‘Haikus encourage you to pick up every word and study it closely for its sound, meaning, feel and impact.’

    I believe this is a good ‘exercise’ for prose writing too…

    Thanks for sharing, Sue!

  • Marcelo V.

    Many are familiar with the lantern poem (four verses of one, two, three, four, one syllables) that has the form a hanging lantern. A long time ago a friend introduced me to the di-lantern, a peculiar form of two lanterns side by side that read individually are two separate poems but read together form a third poem. Given its Asian implication, I came up with a variation of my own, two haikus side by side. Here’s the first one I wrote (using periods in lieu of center justification):

    ……………….her hips in the wind…..wrapped in velvet green
    she sways beneath deep red veils,….as if Spring gave us more than
    ……………her name, simply Rose,….gift of scented light.

  • upnorthpw

    I am a sucker for haiku. Glad to have clicked upon your blog.

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