Celebrating National Haiku Day with a poem: ‘Is this a haiku?’

William Bennett/Staff

When considering

the haiku as poetry

shorter than the rest—


Remember this rule:

Syllables — five-seven-five

(Your own haiku test.)


Today, most haikus

Can be about anything

(Whatever looks best.)



Haikus were about nature

(Before they came west.)


Haikus are supposed

To describe a moment where

The poet would rest.


When he took the time

To look around him and saw

A bird in its nest.


Basho was the king

Of haikus in his own time

(His poems were blest.)


You may disagree

With this new, longform haiku

Or find it a jest.


“That’s not how it’s done!”

You cry so indignantly

To stop my own test.


“You’re right,” I’ll admit.

“First, it’s not in Japanese

And rhyming, a pest.


However, it’s close

(Or closer) to Pound’s attempts

In the English quest.”


I might do better

To compare this haiku to

A red robin’s breast.


And if you think now

You’ve got a better haiku

Please, friend, be my guest.

Contact Lauren West at [email protected].