A haiku is a Japanese poem that has been around for about 800 years. It has three lines and usually has a set number of syllables on each line (5 – 7 – 5).
Nowadays though there are lots of poets who don’t count the syllables but still stick to three lines.
Because you only get to use a few words, the words you pick have to be the best words for the job.
Haiku can be about anything but a lot of Japanese haiku are a celebration of nature. It might be something as small as leaf or as large as a mountain, as beautiful as a sunset or as mysterious as fog.
People outside Japan write poems about anything. I used to judge the New Zealand poems entered by children in the Japan Airlines Haiku Competition and these poems were about all kinds of things.
Haiku don’t usually rhyme and the words picked are often simple words.
Japanese haiku don’t usually use similes and metaphors but you can if you like (just like we put ham, cheese and pineapple on a pizza but you would never find that in Italy).
Here is my go at writing a haiku. I decided to count the syllables and use a metaphor:
A silver hubcap
in the sky, the moon shines
down on my garden