Word of the day – haiku

the word haiku in Japanese kanjiAs I’m sure many of you know, haiku (俳句) are short Japanese poems made of of 17 syllables usually in 3 lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. The only Japanese haiku I can remember is:

古池や (furu ike ya)
蛙飛びこむ (kawazu tobikomu)
水の音 (mizu no oto)

An old pond
a frog jumps in
splash!

There are many other English versions of this famous haiku by Matsuo Bashō (松尾芭蕉) here. It’s amazing the number of different ways such a seemingly simple poem can be translated.

Haiku are not only written in Japanese. Non-Japanese haiku don’t always have exactly 17 syllables, but they usually a similar structure to the Japanese ones. Here are a few examples I came across recently in Scots:

Reid cluds lemin
at keek-o-day – refleckit
in the cray glaur

Red clouds glowing
at sunrise – reflected
in the pigsty mud

Hauf-road up the glen
a daurk wee lochan –
a cran tentie

Halfway up the glen
a dark little loch –
a heron watchful

Birlin doon
the rowth o gean blume
taigles a bummer

Swirling down
the plenteous cherry blossom
delays a bee

Do you know of any haiku in other languages? Or have you written any yourself?