How Do You Haiku? #2 Picture Haiku

Welcome to the second post of our seven-post series on Haiku! Last week we took a Ginko Walk in nature to help us find “haiku moments.” My Ginko Walk provided inspiration to write haiku about squirrels playing hopscotch and fish making touchdowns! Today, we’re looking at another way to help us find inspiration — Picture Haiku!

first things first: what is haiku

old pond—
frog jumps in
sound of the water

This short poem is a haiku. It is Japanese poet Matsuo Basho’s famous poem from the 1600s. These three lines tell us something about nature (and season) and capture a moment in time. When you capture a scene in this way, it’s called a “haiku moment” —it’s like a snapshot or a sketch, but with words.

Some people like to write their haiku in a strict 17-syllable count (five syllables for the first and third lines and seven syllables for the second line). Others want the freedom of writing three short lines without counting syllables (modern vs. Japanese forms). The main thing to remember is your poem should be easy to say and read in one breath. Read here if you want more instruction on writing haiku (season words, form, tips, and how to count syllables).

Now, onto the second way to find a haiku moment…


A Picture Haiku is a modern way to visualize your poem. Go outside and snap a picture, rip an image from a magazine, or open the gallery in your phone and select a picture you’ve previously taken. A landscape from a favorite vacation, the garden in your back yard, or any nature-related picture will work. Study the picture, does it inspire a haiku?

my turn

When I saw these orange poppies by a mailbox in my neighborhood, they seemed to be hanging out as if they were expecting a letter. So, I snapped a picture, went home, and put that thought to paper in this haiku.

poppies by mailbox
awaiting love letter from
wandering violet

©Danna Smith at


Find a picture for your inspiration or use the image above and give Picture Haiku a try. Afterward, please share your haiku in the comments below (simply explain what the picture looks like as we can’t post images in the comments). I know it can be scary to share your poetry. Here’s a pep talk if you feel “iffy” about it. If you’d rather post your poems or comments anonymously, I’ve created settings to allow you to do so. Just reply without signing into your WordPress account.


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Next week

Don’t miss next week when we continue with the third way to haiku in my How Do You Haiku?© series of posts.

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