About Haiku

Haiku is a weird and wonderful form of Japanese poetry. It is based on an ancient form of poetry called Haikai and was developed into Haiku by Masaoka Shiki at the end of the nineteenth century.

It has very strict rules. It must consist of three separate parts, the first of five syllables, the second of seven syllables and the last of five syllables. Of course this is a westernisation of the form, because in Japanese here is no such thing as a syllable. The closest thing to it is a ‘mora’, which is a phonetic unit similar to a syllable. Japanese haiku are normally written as a single line whereas they are normally written as three lines in English or European languages. To be proper haiku the three parts must not link to each other as in a sentence, and must have a reference to a season or the natural world.

There is another form that emphasises humor and human foibles instead of seasons called ‘Senryu’. I’ve tried as much as possible to make mine Haiku.

Below are my attempts at this ancient and exacting art form.


Written when my grandchildren went home after Christmas.

No mess, no laughter

A paper plane is flightless

Grandchildren went home

My Daughter In Hospital

Reclining on clouds
An angel repairs her wings
Oh fortunate clouds

On Hospital Food:

Hidden by plastic
Lurking, threatening the plate
Hospital food waits