Simple Rules on How to Write a Haiku

How to Become a Poet in Three Little Lines

Posted by Bryony Doran on Mar 15, 2018

Writing a Haiku


Since the time that Haikus were first translated, there has been much discussion around what form they should take. For the sake of simplicity and for the purposes of the  haiku competition, I have taken the most widely known definition: 

A Haiku is:

A Japanese poem of seventeen syllables in total, in three lines containing five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. 

Oxford Dictionary

  A famous example of a Haiku is:

   An old silent pond

   A frog jumps into the pond

   Splash! Silence again.

(Basho 1644 -1694)

Note: A haiku does not have a title

Punctuation and capitalization are up to the poet, and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences.

A Haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact usually it does not rhyme at all though some Haiku can include the repetition of words or sounds.

Here is an example of how the Haiku is broken down into syllables:

1     1      2         1

An old silent pond

1    1      1       2    1      1

A frog jumps into the pond

      1       2          2

Splash! Silence again.

A good method of how to count syllables is to put your hand under your chin. Say the word and count the number of times your jaw drops.

For example:

Red is one syllable

Water is two syllables

Piano is three syllables

For more information on syllables visit:

I hope this information helps and inspires you to write and share a Haiku. Please don’t feel intimidated, just have a play and you will be surprised what you can come up with.

I try to write a Haiku a day. I find that when I go out for my daily walk I look at things differently in the knowledge that I will have to evoke an image in three short lines.

Good luck.

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