Haiku Poems: Write Haiku Poems to Live Naturally | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Household Haiku Poems: What IS Haiku?


Learn to Write Homestead Haiku

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What are haiku poems? The traditional structure of the classical Japanese poetic form known as haiku includes a personal observation, a concrete seasonal reference, a pivot word or turning point that introduces an insight/shock of awareness, and all in only three lines of text totaling 17 syllables.

I try to write a haiku poem every day. I recommend it! I call my poems “household haiku” or “homestead haiku” because they record everyday occurrences as I go about my day.

Why Write a Haiku Poem?

What does writing haiku have to do with healthy, frugal living? Cheap therapy! 

I started writing haiku a few years ago when I began developing haiku-writing workshops to help adults improve their writing. I suspected that regular haiku practice could help people write more succinctly and express more in fewer words.

I didn’t expect that maintaining a regular haiku practice would also deepen my powers of observation and concentration, boost my emotional resiliency, help me navigate life’s rough patches, and expand my self-awareness. But it has. Alongside some great natural remedies, haiku poems can be a wonderful stress reliever.

In the spirit of classical tradition, I don’t labor over my haiku. I create them spontaneously and swiftly, using ordinary concrete words to record a moment of concrete experience. 

I don’t worry about making them “good,” either. Whatever emerges is good enough for my purposes.

My all-time favorite “household haiku,” from the beloved classical Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), echoes my own relationship to housework.

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house

Robert Hass translation

This July day was spectacular and sparkling here in central New Hampshire. Here’s the haiku I wrote to mark the day:

summer’s bright magic
calls me out to play—alas!
the dirty laundry

Haiku Poem Examples

Here are a few random haiku poems from my homestead haiku collection.

the way that white cat
savors spring’s first quackgrass—
we’re all weed-hungry

I plant beans and chard.
the fields around my garden
sow dandelions.

a colorful crowd
delirious with sunshine
zinnias arrive

shared a strawberry
with a slug. Gulp! wanted fruit,
not raw escargot

last strawberry lurks
under mulch; small, misshapen
no less delicious

big chunks of firewood—
no warmth from them without this
handful of splinters

don’t worry turkeys!
those hunters have their minds on
venison today

all the cost, the work!
holiday buffet tonight—
but now, the blizzard

that man walking by—
I can tell by his perfume
he stays warm with wood

up wind-scoured hillside
on my snowshoes: what a rush!
surfing wild, white seas

incessant snowfall
shovelers bent like willows
hoping we don’t snap

waking up in dark,
dark driving home; I’d really
like to hibernate

January thaw:
snowbanks melt, disgorge their loads:
fall campaign posters

they’ve arrived: cluster flies,
lady beetles, seed bugs—
winter guests, Welcome!

this fall cover crop—
oats and peas—looks sparse to me:
for toads, a jungle

You don’t have to be a writer, an aspiring writer, or even a poetry lover to reap the benefits of writing haiku. Give it a try! Then, summon the courage to share your haiku in the comments section below.

Haikus aren’t the only type of poem you can write—we just love them because they’re short and sweet but pack so much meaning. Robert Frost also wrote great poetry about gardening and the household, and you can read a taste of it here.

About The Author

Margaret Boyles

Margaret Boyles is a longtime contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She wrote for UNH Cooperative Extension, managed NH Outside, and contributes to various media covering environmental and human health issues. Read More from Margaret Boyles

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