April 17, 2018: Today is National Haiku Day

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A Brief History

On April 17, 2018, we celebrate National Haiku Day, the day that the traditional Japanese form of poetry is celebrated. In recognition of this great “holiday,” we offer a few of our own creations. We invite our readers to compose their own Haiku poetry and share those with our other readers!

Digging Deeper

Remember, the Haiku form is normally consisting of 3 lines, the first line containing 5 syllables, the second line containing 7 syllables, and the third line containing 5 syllables. Rhyming is not necessary. Haiku appeared in Japan in the 1600’s, and in the US during the 20th Century.  Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki (1867–1902) at the end of the 19th century.  Shiki is considered one of the four great haiku masters, along with Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694), Yosa Buson (1716–1784), and Kobayashi Issa (1763–1828).

Masaoka Shiki

English speaking people sometimes allow for longer Haiku of more syllables because of the difference between Japanese words and English words, which often have more syllables. Other languages may allow for other “rules.” Here are a few of our efforts:

Tonight Cavaliers
Play to even the series
Led by LeBron James

James with the Cavaliers in 2017

You see how easy it is? You can pick timely, topical subjects or subjects of eternal truth, or even whimsy. Humor, anger, you name the theme or emotion, it can be turned into Haiku. We try some more…

Slyly Trump will tweet
Upset over Russia Probe,
No collusion here!

President Donald Trump poses for his official portrait at The White House, in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

You can make the Haiku personal to yourself or your loved ones.

Swiftly the cat leaps
Yet more swiftly Major Dan
Refills his coffee

Nature is a great subject for Haiku.

Canada geese poop
All over the pond shoreline
Must be chased away!

How about philosophy?

Sometimes I reflect
On subjects so confusing
It makes me drink beer

Love and relationships? Yes, we can do that one.

Dog differs from fox
By a mere six pack of beer
Morning is regret…

Okay, your turn! Regale us with your poetic soul and see what wonderful comments people post in response!

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Your readership is much appreciated!

Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Hass, Robert. The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa. The Ecco Press, 2012 edition.

Reichhold, Jane. Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide. Kodansha International, 2013.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.