Two Ideas

One Haiku, Two Ideas

Haiku are short, only three lines as a general rule, so we should not pack too many differing ideas or themes in one haiku.

Read the Basics of Composing Haiku
by Susumu Takiguchi, Chairman of the World Haiku Club

Best is two ideas (sometimes called a fragment and phrase in American Haiku), which can be divided in

first idea in line one
second idea in lines two and three


first idea in lines one and two
second idea in line three

The first short idea could well be the kigo for this haiku.

Let me give you an example.

This would be a BAD version with THREE ideas:

cold winter night,
a dog barks,
the stars sparkle.

Now let us trim it to two ideas, keeping the winter night as kigo and use as juxtaposition either the dog or the stars

winter night -
a dog barks
in the cold barn

cold winter night -
the stars sparkle
sooo far away

Each haiku has only two ideas or themes now and reads very smoothely. If you have three lines with three different ideas, they usually read quite staccato and not like a smooth haiku (I do not like the expression "in one breath" very much ...) but haiku should read like the gentle flow of a nice brook on a soft spring day.

Mumbling a haiku to yourself aloud and listening to the flow is one important part when composing haiku.
Make it your habit to mumble to yourself!
If it does not feel like a gentle flow, keep searching for better words.
This was one of the first pieces of advise from my Japansese sensei.

If your original haiku has three separate ideas, search for the two ones you really want to write about and expand one of these ideas over two lines.

Here is one of my recent examples with the short idea in line three.

stepping out
to sunshine and flowers -
January break

January is the kigo, kept in the short third line. The hypen - is used to indicate the break (kire in Japanese) between the two ideas.

Use simple and precise words, poetical or philosophical embellishment and contrived phrases are not suitable for haiku.

State what made you pause at that moment when you conceived your haiku in plain words, like a snapshot with a camera.

haiku seasons -
my simple life
becomes poetry

Gabi, January 2006


......................... Some of my Haiku Theory

Spelling and Punctuation

One-Line Haiku : three sections, three lines

THEORY : Counting on your fingers: 5-7-5 Cultural Differences

THEORY : Why 5-7-5 ? Or rather, Why Not!

Tips for a GINKOO, a Haiku Walk 吟行


Please send me your contributions

To the Daruma Museum Index

To the WHC Worldkigo Database

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