By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor
There are so many tiny things in life that we fail to notice on our daily schedule. You might not realize how much you appreciate these aspects of the world until you stop to examine them. Simple pleasures can be as gentle as the sky turning into an ombre of azure as the day progresses or as vibrant as the grin of a best friend as you say hello in the morning. Most of the time, we take the small gifts for granted, but this month, I think we should all try to appreciate the little things that make us smile every day. So what better way to appreciate simple pleasures than by writing simple poems?
What Is a Haiku?
The haiku is a style of Japanese poetry that originated hundreds of years ago and became popular within Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate. Haikus are a very simple form of poetry, and their purpose is to describe an observation to the reader in a very straightforward way. It is considered to be “Zen Poetry,” designed to increase the writer’s awareness of his or her surroundings. To write a haiku is to freeze a moment in time and preserve it on paper.
How to Write a Haiku
Traditionally, haikus have seventeen syllables. The first and last line both have five, and the middle line uses seven. Additionally, haikus are written in the present tense. There are really no other rules regarding the composing of haikus. They do not need to rhyme or use any type of comparison. Actually, haikus do not normally contain metaphors or similes as that would complicate the simple, sincere structure. Haikus are a snapshot in time that focuses on descriptions, so try to incorporate as many details from each of your five senses as you can in seventeen syllables. Here are some examples I’ve written to help get you started:
Such beautiful poetry
Only a few words
Outside my window
Snow falls, white and delicate
Burying the ground
So now that you know what a haiku is and how to write one, I’ll bet you’re all trying to figure out how to start writing! Prompts for writing haikus are really easy to come by as they are all around us. Start by observing your surroundings. Write down what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Once you have this list, reformat your favorite observations into a haiku. After you have written a few and get the hang of it, you will be good enough to compose a haiku on the spot wherever you are.
Use haikus this month to save a little taste of every day in writing. They’re easy and fast to write, and when you look back on these memories in three lines, you will be glad that you took a moment out of your day to appreciate them.