How to write poetry: Haiku

How to write poetry: Haiku

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It is traditionally a three lined, un-rhymed poem about any subject of your choosing. Learn all about haiku, create some riddles or just write a short haiku about something you enjoy.

What you need:

  • pens or grey leads
  • paper
  • imagination
  • coloured pencils

Number of players:


Traditionally, haiku is a form of poetry from Japan. It consists only of three lines and these lines do not rhyme. What makes haiku unique is that the three lines contain a certain amount of syllables.

The first line will have five syllables, the second with seven and the third again with five. Here is an example:

Back and forth they sway, (5 syllables)
Red leaves blowing in the wind, (7 syllables)
Autumn comes again. (5 syllables)

Here are a few tips on how to write your own haiku poem.

1. Decide on a subject

Traditionally, haiku is written about a season or your environment, but you can decide what your haiku is about and choose any subject you like.

2. Observation line.

As haiku is so short, the last line is the line that generally makes an observation, or finishes the point you are trying to make. So not only do you need a subject point, you need to know what you want to say about it. In the example haiku above, we have written about autumn and the coloured leaves in the wind, but in the last line we have stated that autumn is coming again.

3. Syllables.

Remember the rules with the syllables. Five, seven then five again. This is essential for your writing to qualify as haiku.


  • Haiku poems do not have to be about nature or seasons. Try to write a "what am I?" style riddle in the haiku format and have some fun with friends.
  • You can also make a funny haiku and give your readers something they would not expect.
  • Don't forget to draw some illustrations about your haiku and make it even more fun!

Here is an example of a 'what am I?' haiku:

Black and white markings,
All across my back and tail,
On land I run fast.

See if you can come up with a few for your friends to guess what you are writing about. Can you guess what this one is?

Image supplied by Shutterstock.

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