Poetry Lesson Two (key stages 1 and 2)
What is a Haiku?
Say it like this – ‘Hi goo’
A haiku is a very short poem, just three lines and it doesn’t rhyme.
From what country did the haiku originate? Can you find out after this session?
How to write a Haiku
It is easy to learn to write a haiku, but it takes a lot of practice to learn how to do it well. You need to practice by writing a lot of them, so you get very good at it.
In the English version of a haiku, the first and last lines have five syllables each, and the middle line has seven syllables.
What is a syllable?
A syllable is a sound or beat in a word
Jim is 1 syllable – clap once
So is Ben – clap once
Poppy is 2 syllables – clap clap
Isobel is 3 syllables – clap clap clap
Joshua is also three syllables– clap clap clap
Now watch this
So a haiku has 17 syllables in total. The pattern looks like this:
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables
Writing a Haiku
Hailu poems are often about seasons or nature, but you can write your own haiku about anything you like. If you don’t want to write about nature and want to write about sweeties, cats or football, that’s okay.
When you do it properly, the last line of the haiku usually makes an observation. That means it points out something about the subject you’re writing about.
To begin writing haiku poems, follow these steps:
- Decide if you’re going to write about a season, nature or something else.
- Select one specific thing you’re going to write about.
- Think about your last line first. What observation do you want to make?
- Start writing.
- Count the syllables as you go to make sure you’ve got the right pattern – 5, 7, 5.
- Draw a picture to go with your haiku (you could do this in one of your Art sessions)
Further examples and help
If you decide to write a haiku about nature, there are many subjects to choose from. You could write about animals, plants, the sky, the ocean, the wind. Start by selecting a topic, then deciding what you want to say.
Summer is coming.
Warm weather here very soon.
We will go outside.
If you count the syllables on your fingers (or clap them) as you read this poem, you’ll see the lines have five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables.
I might write a haiku about my cat. She sleeps all night and all day. Here’s my haiku.
Nali sleeps all night.
She needs lots of rest for a
Day of cat napping.
Just because most haiku poems are about seasons or nature doesn’t mean you can’t write funny haiku poems. One way to make a haiku funny is to have an unexpected last line. For example, if the last line says the opposite of what the reader expects, it becomes like the punchline of a joke. If I decided to write a funny haiku excuse for why I‘m late for school, it might look like this.
I am late for school
My mum is a slow driver.
I love lifts to school.
See how the ending is unexpected. I’m not apologising but telling the reader something they don’t expect and that hopefully makes them smile.
Spellings to practise