Winter haiku

[Post edited 12/17.]  Since this haiku chain launched itself before I had a chance to lay groundwork, I thought I’d backtrack and provide some perhaps useful information.

A haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but I understand that there are longer and shorter forms.  In English, haiku usually take the form of one short line of 5 syllables, a long line of 7 syllables, and a short line of 5 syllables.  I’ve misplaced all my haiku notes, but you can find out more here or here.

Here’s my beginning haiku:

Colorful beads drape
Desert grasses–frost parsing
Light’s long white sentence.

34 thoughts on “Winter haiku”

  1. Thanks, Karen. And stick around, if you can. The solstice is coming up and in celebration (Yay! Days getting longer!) I’m planning a poetry chain, open invitation. I’ll probably prescribe a short form, maybe haiku, maybe another Japanese form–something people can weave in and out with, should they feel so inclined.

  2. The fallen leaves leach
    Faded hues into snowmelt,
    Staining the sidewalks.

    I think I like yours better. The end of year seems dark to me. I like that you find light there.

  3. .

    Pffft. Let’s start now. Winter haiku….okay. Go.


    The wind passes through
    My fingers and the pages
    Of my book, now closed


    Hmm. Okay. Somebody else.

  4. Well … looks like we’re on. Such a hunger.

    greenfrog, the haiku at the head is from one of our old chains. And I still owe you one over at IL.

    Who’s next?

  5. Sorry for delay, down with a cold.

    Snowblink’s glass flowers
    Glisk in cold, white fields beyond
    Barbed wire’s grey bramble.

    greenfrog, I’ll bet Buber would write, “Du.” His translators write, “Thou.”

    FYI, the entire “primary word,” according to Buber, is “Ich-Du,” since there is no Ich sans Du. Ich sans Du = “Ich-Es,” “I-It.” I-It is plain icky.

  6. Toasty toes in socks
    window frosts with winter breath
    silent thought in snow

    And Patty, in winter, grey and white mean so very much more than only two colors.

  7. okay Patricia, you got me to try one~

    Willows pose for Dawn
    in white chemise, and lace
    the pond’s reflection.

  8. humm- I already see a flaw, only 6 syllables in line 2?

    does this work-

    Willows pose for Dawn
    in white chemises, and lace
    the pond’s reflection.

  9. Karen:

    Me, I like the first one better. Adding the extra syllable in version two throws the rhythm off.

    Which points me to the observation that the 5-7-5 pattern of the haiku is a good structure to begin writing around, but that too strict adherence to the syllable-count-per-line can warp the poem a bit.

    Many of the best haiku I’ve read don’t adhere to the 5-7-5 pattern. Some, in fact, are one-liners. (I’d offer up a bit more about what I think makes a haiku a haiku—beyond the syllable pattern—but I’ve got a paper to write for school; time to stop avoiding it!). Here are some good recent examples from Simply Haiku ( and Modern Haiku (

  10. Karen,
    if we’re voting, I like the first one better too. It was lovely and had a smooth flow to it. fergit the syllable!

  11. Just realized that reads rather poorly. I’ll try again, this time with line breaks:

    winter morning gray
    on gray: deerhide framed by
    sage, sand, snow

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