This week we will look into the Haiku (and on a larger scale – the Renga).


  • In Japanese the haiku is composed of 17 sound units divided into three parts – one with 5 syllables, one with 7 syllables and another with 5 syllables. Since sound units are much shorter than English syllables, it has been found that following the Japanese example results in a much longer poem. The Japanese write their haiku in one line. The Japanese, because of their longer history of reading haiku, understand that there are two parts to the poem.
  • In English, however, each part is given a line in order to clearly divide the parts of the haiku. This allows the reader time to form an image in the mind before the eyes go back to the left margin for more words. The line breaks also act as a type of punctuation. In English these are called the phrase and fragment. One line is the fragment and the other two lines combine grammatically to become the phrase. Without this combining the two lines together the haiku will sound “choppy” as the tone of voice drops at the end of each line.
  • To create a renga, one poet writes the first stanza, which is three lines long with a total of seventeen syllables. The next poet adds the second stanza, a couplet with seven syllables per line. The third stanza repeats the structure of the first and the fourth repeats the second, alternating in this pattern until the poem’s end.


We’re concerned with the structure here, so the collaborative nature of the renga will not be strictly adhered to.


The extravagance
of the season, embodied
God wrapped in infant
(I penned this back in 2010)


Awaiting the snow,
as autumn fades in our minds
we cover for warmth

Lost in the change of seasons
we find our reasons to live.

In the passing years
we learn the lessons of life
growing strong with love.

The blossoms of love take root,
growing to touch many hearts.

The harvest we reap
brings an abundance of food
for a wanting soul.

The taste of passion fills us,
and it leaves us wanting more.

We cover for warmth,
in the winter of our years
we are comforted.

Life is the hearth of our love,
as long as we live, it burns…