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Examples :: English Language :: Examples of haiku


Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry characterized by its structure, which uses three phrases of 5,7 and 5 on, or syllables. The style is famous for its elegance and economy of expression.

Examples of haiku

The Japanese Edo period haiku poet Basho is revered in Japan as the person who saved the original form of haiku from decay, and developed it into a true literary form. This is one of his later works, from 1688:

now then, let's go out

to enjoy the snow... until

I slip and fall!

(The pause in the phrase is like a rest in music, having a value in the meter of the poem.

Note: Many Japanese expressions don't translate exactly into foreign languages. When reading haiku, or Chinese poetry, it's often better to get a translation by a native speaker for accuracy.

Akutagawa, Ryunosuke. (1892-1927).
Green frog,
Is your body also
freshly painted?

Basho, Matsuo. (1644-1694).
Fallen sick on a journey,
In dreams I run wildly
Over a withered moor.

Buson, Yosa. (1716-84).
At the over-matured sushi,
The Master
Is full of regret.

Covered with the flowers,
Instantly I''d like to die
In this dream of ours!

No sky
no earth - but still
snowflakes fall

Issa. (1762-1826).
In my old home
which I forsook, the cherries
are in bloom.

Kato, Shuson
I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.

Kawahigashi, Hekigodo. (1873-1937).
From a bathing tub
I throw water into the lake -
slight muddiness appears.

Night, and the moon!
My neighbor, playing on his flute
out of tune!

Murakami, Kijo. (1865-1938).
the mirror I stare into
shows my father's face.

Natsume, Soseki. (1867-1916)
On New Year''s Day
I long to meet my parents
as they were before my birth.

You rice-field maidens!
The only things not muddy
Are the songs you sing.

Ryusui. (1691-1758).
In all this cool
is the moon also sleeping?
There, in the pool?

Shiki, Masaoka. (1867-1902).
I want to sleep
Swat the flies
Softly, please.

Takahama, Kyoshi
A dead chrysanthemum
and yet - isn''t there still something
remaining in it?

Morten Paulsen
An island song
Like a floating river
Rain Rain Fall Fall

Ron Loeffler
Glass balls and glowing lights.
Dead tree in living room.
Killed to honor birth.

Andeyev, Alexey V.
time to fall in love with
certain humanware.

Dave McCroskey.
on the Chinese vase
flowers retain brightness
pouring out water.

Paulsen, Morten:
Sushi and Soya
The Spring comes
When the day is over

Thomas Grieg
Pond with ice

Dhugal Lindsay:
they''ve gone...
where the beach umbrella was
the sand not quite so hot

Paul Mena:
through the fingerprints
on my window-
cloudless blue sky.

Deserted steel-mill.
Along the Ohio River,
Chromatic butterfly.

James Dolan
cicadas whir, the
sirens call

Phil Wahl
The flap of a bat,
drip drip of monsoon waters.
Ancient image stares.

Noel Kaufmann
Behold the ego
Set in glowing emptiness
On the edge of time

Michael R. Collings
Silence--a strangled
Telephone has forgotten
That it should ring

Dave McCroskey
the morning paper
harbinger of good and ill
I step over it