Haiku Examples

Cranes by Japanese Artist Hokusai

This page contains haiku examples and short explanations of these haiku examples.

Oshima Ryota, disciple of haiku poet Hattori Ransetsu, is the author of this haiku.

Firstly we look at a famous haiku poem, and then review some more contemporary poems to see how the form has changed over time.

from the long hallways

voices of the people rise

in the morning haze

- Oshima Ryota

The kigo in this haiku is situated in the final line, which refers to spring, and is one of the three distinct elements that are used to construct the haiku. These three elements appeal to the different senses: the voices appealing to the auditory, and the long hallways and morning haze to the visual.

This is how this haiku creates a snapshot poetic vision.


ticking on the leaves

the long night

- Karen Sohne

Of the haiku examples,this one is more modern. And we can see that it incorporates a more human perspective, instead of being so singularly focused on nature. the natural image of the falling rain is infused with significance through its perceived relation to the passing of time.

Snow in my shoe


Sparrow's nest

- Jack Kerouac

Kerouac did not adhere strictly to the 5,7,5 syllable format of the haiku, and wrote in a way that reflected his attitudes towards life. He thought differently of the haiku, and wrote about it:

"The American Haiku is not exactly the Japanese Haiku. The Japanese Haiku is strictly disciplined to seventeen syllables but since the language structure is different I don't think American Haikus (short three-line poems intended to be completely packed with Void of Whole) should worry about syllables because American speech is something again...bursting to pop."

Infact Kerouac took this experience of 'bursting to pop' and called his own haiku-ish poetry 'American Haiku Pop', this was short poetry that was designed to provide a moment of revelation.

Lady butterfly

perfumes her wings

by floating

over the orchid.

- Matsuo Basho

This famous haiku poem examples appeals to all of the senses, the colourful image of the butterfly arouses the visual, and you can imagine the perfumed smell of the orchid drifting through the air.

What are your first impressions of these haiku poems by Issa?

autumn rain -

I send an unwilling flea


- Issa (Translated by David G. Lanoue)

wafting through trees

a beggar's flute

a nightingale's song

- Issa (Translated by David G. Lanoue)

my pine tree too

is grateful...

spring rain

- Issa (Translated by David G. Lanoue)

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