Reading HAIKU

Discover and Reveal your unique perspective of the world

What is Haiku:

It is a short, three –line Japanese poem with a specific number of syllables in each line (pattern of 5–7–5).

The best-known Japanese haiku is Bashō’s “Old Pond”:


ふるいけやかわずとびこむみずのおと (transliterated into 17 hiragana)

furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto (transliterated into romaji)

This separates into on as:

fu-ru-i-ke ya (5)

ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7)

mi-zu-no-o-to (5)


Old pond . . .

A frog leaps in

Water’s sound

The purpose of composing haiku:

It aims at developing voice and articulating self on the basis of individual’s experience of the world. It is not a simple sketch of observations. It is rather a direct, personal response to nature and events.

Textual Analysis:

1. How many syllables are used in each line?

2. What is the seasonal reference?

3. Where do you see a cutting word in this haiku?


1. What is the theme?

2. What is the context?

3. What is happening in the poem?

4. What does the writer want to tell in the haiku?

5. What is your impression from this haiku?

Composing through 5 steps

Step 1: Review concept of haiku and explain the purpose of the poem as a personal reaction to nature.

Step 2: Collecting material for haiku

Students sit wherever they want later in the day for 10 or even 20 minutes and focus on answering these following questions:

a. What do you see and hear?

b. What do you smell and taste?

c. What do you feel?

Step 3: Composing haiku

Students start composing their poems in haiku style that fit in the 5–7–5 syllable pattern. Although they have plenty of impressions from the previous steps, they need to sift through them and choose and even enhance their choices for a better final poem.

Step 4: Peer reading

Students read each other’s poems and react to the voice and intent contained in them. This step will allow them into the realm of interpreting, comparing and reacting with opinions.

Follow up activity

Teacher asks students to write about some of their indelible memories by answering the following questions:

a. Where were you?

b. What did you see and hear?

c. What did you smell and taste?

d. What did you feel?

Step 5: Publishing the haiku

Students/ teacher discuss the procedures of publishing. Even assigning a publishing jury to do the job where the teacher plays the role of a guide merely.

Websites that welcome English haiku:

1. World Haiku Association:

2. The Haiku Society of America:

3. Asahi Haikuist Network:

4. The Mainichi Daily News-Haiku in English:

More examples of Haiku: (taken from: )

Closing time
 even the bartender
 looks handsome
 — ai li (London)

In the mirror
 not really recognizing myself
 another year older
 — Angelika Kolompar (Vancouver Island)

Holi Purnima
 the moon follows me
 at every turn
 — Puja Malushte (Mumbai, India)

An IKEA run . . .
 there is something familiar
 in the Hubble images
 — Alexey Golubev (St. Petersburg, Russia)

My bookshelf
 a spider in search
 of lost time
 — Dietmar Tauchner (Puchberg, Austria)

Sound of temple bells
 penetrates villagers
 end of the year
 — Isao Soematsu (Tokyo)

December ends — 
 the milkman revises rates
 for the New Year
 — Pravat Kumar Padhy (Odisha, India)

Snow-covered lake
 scattered lights glow from
 fishermen’s tents
 — Hidehito Yasui (Osaka)

I shiver
 in the glow
 of the winter moon
 — Nancy Nitrio (Orangevale, California)

Christmas dusk
 a glow lingers on the
 bedroom wall
 — martin gottlieb cohen (Egg Harbor, New Jersey)