National Haiku Poetry Day is April 17. It was first registered by Sari Grandstaff, a poet and school librarian, in December of 2007, and the official date was set by the Haiku Foundation in 2012 to coincide with the National Poetry month.
Originating in thirteenth-century Japan, traditional haiku is written in a 3-line format with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5, usually in the present tense. A haiku is direct, non-rhyming, and is meant to express a fleeting moment in time, with juxtapositions of vivid images (often from nature or with reference to a season) to illustrate a thought, impression, feeling or paradox. Because of structural differences between Japanese and English language, English poets have taken liberties with the syllable pattern which has resulted in what is referred to as “free-form” haiku, so it’s common to see 3-5-3 syllable arrangements in haiku written by English poets.
Celebrate haiku by trying your hand at writing one. Share your creation with others on social media with #NationalHaikuPoetryDay
Here are a few haiku for inspiration, keep in mind some of the poems are translated from Japanese so the syllable count may not align with English. Enjoy!
Warm sun and cloudless skies;
The only breath of air is from
The wings of butterflies.
Rocked by the breezes light,
The blossoming wisteria
Sleeps peacefully to-night.
To-night the moonlight beams
Are veiled by kindly clouds; for hush!
Great Buddha sleeps and dreams.
As one who loved poetry
– Masaoaka Shiki
I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.
– Kato Shuson
Famous Haiku website
Haiku: Seasons of Japanese Poetry. Ed. Johanna Brownell. New Jersey: Castle Books, 2001.