Many people are writing haikus these days. Some of them are doing it for fun, but many are doing it as their only writing, as a piece of art that has to be carefully taken care of. You can put a lot of time and effort into a haiku, if you want. It can be a great gift at a birthday or a wedding, if it is well written. There are even clubs to join for those who love to write haikus, and you can buy great books with haikus.
I think a Haiku can be a fun exercise, and sometimes also a way to warm up before I get to the “real” writing, the writing of my story. It took me some time to grab the idea of what a Haiku is, but as soon as that was done I had a lot of fun both reading and writing them! My impression is that as soon as you understand it you can have fun with it. But many people don’t. Therefore…
The haiku has its roots in Japan. I think that the tradition is many hundred, maybe thousands, years old. What differs a haiku from other kind of poems or prose is that a haiku is surrounded by many rules. To learn how to write a good haiku it is important to follow these rules. But first of all, you have to be able to hear how words are divided into pieces, into sounds.
There are words that cannot be divided into pieces, they just contain one single piece/sound, for example; word, dog, bag, me, you, car. Some words are divided into two pieces: flower, nickel, christmas, sleeping, girlfriend. If you say the word while you listen carefully you can hear where they are divided (flo-wer, nick-el, christ-mas, slee-ping, girl-friend). Other words can be divided into three pieces: computer, restaurant, internet (com-pu-ter, res-tau-rant, in-ter-net). It has nothing to do with how the words are spelled, it is all about how they sound.
Into how many pieces are the word scuba diver divided?
The Rules of a Haiku
A haiku has to have three lines. They can all contain as many words as you want, but there are rules to follow for each and every line. All the words in the first line of a haiku has to contain of five pieces all together. This is an example of the first line of a haiku:
“The wind is blowing”
It´s only four words, but they contain of five pieces; the wind is blow-ing. For the next line the rule is that the words have to contain of seven pieces. An example of the second line of a haiku is:
“wonderful flowers growing”
This time I wrote only three words, but they are still divided into seven pieces/soundings;
won-der-ful flo-wers gro-wing
Then again, the thirds line has the same rules as the first one. As many words as I want, but five pieces.
“Summertime is here.”
Three words, five pieces; sum-mer-time is here. And now, when these three lines are written, following the rules of 5-7-5, the haiku is finished.
The haiku above is written like this:
The wind is blowing
wonderful flowers growing
summertime is here.
Cherry Blossom at Springtime
What I love with a haiku is that it allows me to have fun with words, to think, while I write something beautiful. It is possible to write a long story made of only haikus, of you want. A book? Or just have fun with it, all by yourself as an exercise before you get to your own writing.
A last thing I would like to mention about haikus; if you want to do it a bit more advanced, you can add some other rules. An old japanese traditions says that a haiku should contain something that tells the reader what season it is, and preferably something about cherry trees at spring time. But this is a rule most people don´t follow, I believe. My own experience tells me that haikus are as best when they contain something bad, about darkness and horror. But that is just my own personal opinion.
And by the way; scuba diver is a word that has four soundings; scu-ba di-ver.