Haiku Afternoon

I recently took a four-hour class in haiku, which as most of you know is a form of Japanese poetry. As you probably also know, it’s three lines of five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables—and no rhyming. (I’m using the word syllables loosely because there’s a translation glitch between the Japanese phrase and English.) I wrote three right off the bat.

the minimalist

searches for his meter

and finds it here

Albuquerque box

above the city below

hot air balloons rise

I stand up without notice

Lucy leaps to all four feet

time for her walk

The Albuquerque box haiku was inspired by a photo I had in my folder and which appears here.

Then we had to write a haiku about something first (first kiss, first, ah, you get it).

awaken to a rocking feeling

not there the night before—

I need my sealegs now

Back to a photo I had taken on the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday.

two ravens in a tree

backlit by the rising sun—

his 200th anniversary

Then we had to write a tanka, which is a haiku with an additional two lines of seven syllables. Even though I confessed to having used a previous (but unread) haiku, my instructor liked my tanka:

two ravens in a tree

backlit by the rising sun

his 200th anniversary—

a playoff game the night before

Ravens of a different sort

Finally we watched some nature slides and wrote one more haiku. In my housing development when it rains really hard during the summer and the holding ponds fill up (we call it the monsoon season), toads come out and croak loudly as a way of attracting a mate. My wife says it sounds like Jurassic Park.

monsoons upon us

the holding ponds fill up

the mating toads sing

At least I didn’t call them horny toads.

We ended the afternoon by writing two renkus. A renku begins with one person writing a haiku and the next person adding two lines of seven syllables followed by someone adding a haiku followed by someone adding two lines of seven syllables until we run out of people. Our instructor said she would try to get both poems published.

a gathering of words

assembled by a group

published poets all


  1. Just a note to thank you for including The New Book Review on your blog roll. I love poetry so I'll be dropping by to check things out here frequently.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Also blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Website pick, www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

  2. I so love the simple and "clean" tone the Haiku lends me. I am not much of a poetry reader, yet
    I find this style is appealing to me. Thanks for sharing.
    The hot air balloon picture is just INCREDIBLE!

  3. grey morning quietly offers pause
    the reckless day, inexorable, promises to disappear
    curious birds gather and scatter