Not a 5/7/5 Haiku

they talk about fall

leaves growing old

but it’s winter that draws near


I always second guess my haiku that end on a long line. 5/7/5 is ingrained in me.

I have noticed that my other haiku that end or start in a long count are not as well ‘liked.’

Did this haiku grab you?


8 thoughts on “Not a 5/7/5 Haiku

  1. When you grow up learning that haiku must be in 5/7/5 form, it sometimes feels like cheating if you break away from that pattern, doesn’t it? But in any case, to me your haiku in this post is lovely and flows very nicely.


  2. In Japanese, a haiku is a one-line poem touching upon seasonal phenomena, natural or cultural of about seventeen syllabets (my term for uniformly short syllables that can be written with a single letter of a phonetic syllabary). Aseasonal haiku do exist, but only as exceptions included with a body of properly seasoned work. Japanese do not separate their written words, but do recognize that syllabets usually sound best clumped in fives and sevens. While 5-7-5 is the most common pattern, I doubt if it is found in even half of the haiku, for one also finds 12-5, 7-5-5, 5-5-7, 5-12 and others which, together, comprise a majority. There is, as everyone notices, no end-rhyme per se, but there is much more internal rhyme than is generally recognized, and most good poems have a crisp snap, or failing that, a sound suitable to the subject. It is not enough to simply count syllabets. While Japanese do not recognize beat – they usually claim all their syllabets are equally stressed and equal in length (both things patently absurd) – I do. I have found, independently of Blyth, who discovered it long before me, that Japanese haiku, even when the syllabet count exceeds the ideal (in old haiku, six and eight count clumps are fairly common) – usually have seven beats.


    • Thank you for the info, I don’t really know anything about the Japanese language. I know that a lot of what the first haiku poets did was not 5/7/5 and I know they were 1 line long, but I have always seen haiku in 3 lines and have fallen in love with that form.


  3. It did grab me, but not so much because of the structure – the theme of seasonal change is very powerful and very haiku…


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