Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

Three Urban Haiku


Traditional Japanese haiku is written in a pattern of 5 sound units in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third.  I recently learned that this pattern is discouraged when writing haiku in English since English syllables are not the same as Japanese sound units.  The focus of English haiku should be to capture a physical setting and a moment in time, hopefully with some sort of “twist” or “aha” for the reader.

Haiku is a lens through which nature and seasons are observed.  I live in the city, so these haiku depict this non-traditional setting.

Twilight clouds roll in
Crows roost on high wires —
A “No Parking” sign.

Waxing gibbous moon
Dog droppings on the sidewalk —
A jogger missteps.

Cold afternoon rain
Slick white Beamer blows by —
Salt from my lips!

ljg (c) 2013



11 thoughts on “Three Urban Haiku

  1. these are beautiful Lori

  2. Interesting how the Japanese and English haiku formats differ yet each provides a quick image and lasting thoughts.

    • I am still learning. For example, this morning I learned that in English 11 syllables more closely matches the length of 17 Japanese sound units.

      • could you give an example of that?

      • From: http://www.ahapoetry.com/keirule.htm

        Today, many bilingual poets and translators in the mainstream North American haiku scene agree that something in the vicinity of 11 English syllables is a suitable approximation of 17 Japanese syllables, in order to convey about the same amount of information as well as the brevity and the fragmented quality found in Japanese haiku.”

  3. These really conjure up images. The second one is my favourite.

  4. Love these droplets of life. I am a bit of a windbag so I tend to write more haibun than haiku lol. These are so good at popping an image into the mind that makes me smile.

  5. I really enjoyed these Lori – especially the first

  6. I say you have done the English haiku proud.

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