Writing Exercise: Haiku

Created for Living Words by Dr. Deno Trakas (

Deno Trakas, has a knack for haiku – a short poem that consist of three lines in a 5/7/5 (a total of 17) “on”, which are Japanese units of sound that we usually translate to mean syllables. The poem usually depicts an image from the natural world that cuts to another image that suggests something more than the literal meaning.  Here’s a well-known example:

At the age old pond
Frog leaps into the water
A deep resonance

Trakas’ interest for haikus became a morning ritual, when for roughly 150 days he greeted each morning by creating a new haiku on a napkin. According to Trakas, “Writing a haiku is an experience that is of the moment, which then becomes a record of the moment.” To get started, look out the window. What do you see? Think of the meaning of the subject you have chosen. Consider similes and metaphors to describe the subject. Try to use original language to describe it. Play with words to fit the syllable pattern.

Here’s one created by a Living Words group. We hope it will help inspire you to create your own. You can do it!

Sagging mattress sky
Slowly opening my eyes
Morning light obscured

We would love it if you would share your haiku with us in the comments below!