Traditional Haiku is the 5-7-5 format. Five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the last. The last line is supposed to be the cut or slash to provide contrast to or a shift from the first two lines.
If you look it up in Wikipedia, you’ll find better descriptions. I like it because of the challenge to create a vision and experience in a brief, concise, and intense set of words–seventeen syllables.
If you think that is easy, check the Wikipedia entry and they try it yourself.
I’m working on a project that involves Haiku in my own style. I call it Biker Haiku. Most of the poems were composed in my head while on the road. Flavored by the landscapes, weather, and encounters, the little bits of verse help package the experience of the journeys.
Long, straight desert road Flickering desert mirage Mountains float ahead
I currently have 30+ little poems in the project. More will come. At some point, I’ll take the entire collection and make a little ebook. In the meantime, I’ll continue to crank out little verse snippets after rides.
Like this one:
Cool October day Ride along a river road Through golden tunnels
Yes, the other day was a cool day in October. A friend and I rode our motorcycles along a beautiful river and through incredible falls colors you only get in the Pacific Northwest. Western Larch (also called Tamarack)–an evergreen that actually changes color in the fall–lends a bright golden hue to the landscape.
This time of year can be magical in the changes, the colors. We’ve been fortunate the fall colors came before the heavy rains that knock off all the leaves. The mornings start cold and often frosty. Mountain roads might retain some of that frost in shaded curves. Sometimes leaves fall like orange snow as you ride down country roads.
Pull the images from your mind and pack them into seventeen syllables. It’s an exercise in brevity and art.
(Note: somehow, I managed to publish this before it was read. Fat finger error, evidently.)