Haiku is a traditional Japanese short form of poetry. It is a three -line poetry, following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Haiku poetry traditionally discusses abstract subjects or those from the natural world, including seasons, months, animals, and even the smallest elements of nature, down to a blade of grass or a drop of dew. Writing haiku poetry is fun for kids because it is a tool to play with languages. It is also useful as a form of expressive arts to support a child’s social emotional development.
The rules for writing a haiku poem are as follows:
- There are only three lines, totaling 17 syllables.
- The first line is 5 syllables.
- The second line is 7 syllables.
- The third line is 5 syllables like the first.
- Punctuation and capitalization are up to the poet, and need not follow the rigid rules used in structuring sentences.
- A haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact usually it does not rhyme at all.
- It can include the repetition of words or sounds.
JAL Foundation holds around the world haiku competition every two years. The winning poems are published in a book called The Chronicle of the Age of the Earth. Here are some winning entries in English, accompanied by Japanese translations, from the World Children’s Haiku Contests: