Muscle, Mud And Haiku

Learn how to write haiku is was one of the items on my bucket list. These little short poems just always seemed so incredibly intimidating.

Earlier this week, I Google “how to write haiku” over a cup of coffee. Here we go…

Haiku is a short form of (originally) Japanese poetry. Rough translation of the poetry format to English includes 17 syllables in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5, respectively.


kiru or “cutting”, one of the signature techniques of haiku – includes a juxtaposition of two images. For example, a poet could contrast two observations at a micro and at a macro level – a drop of dew on lily flower and silence of the forest. A classic haiku often describes nature or change of seasons.

Haiku also often end with an observation. For example, you could start out by commenting on how good strawberries smell, and then end with a conclusion that summer has arrived.

Obstacle racing haiku… GO!

ice cubes feel so cold
as I crawl on my belly –
I love barbed wire


drop of sweat rolls down
exhausted pile on the floor
burpees suck so much

chafing thighs feel good
I carry heavy sandbag
Vermont, face to face


barbell is my friend
she’s cold, and sleek in my palm
so good for buttocks


how many push-ups
does it take to feel self-worth?
two Goruck patches

peel off your layers
discover purple bruises
earned orange headband


It’s actually a lot of fun to be locked into a rigid structure like that. Haiku is Sudoku with words. A problem to solve, as the phrase you have in mind does not conform to the number of syllables, you are forced to reconsider. To see the image differently. To use another word.

Writing haiku is like playing with food. Throw all the words on the table, and mix them around, squishing phrases between your fingers.

I can’t stop. 🙂

a stack of pancakes
pillows and blankets messy
it’s perfect Sunday

a paper cup
a perfect curl of sea foam
my lips part slightly

smile frozen solid
across the water soaring
a winter pond

Another famous one…

Another bucket list item crossed off.

My English teacher readers – please feel free to pipe up. I’ve never had to count syllables in my life, and I’m pretty sure I suck.

Wanna play? I challenge you to write a muddy haiku! Or a muscle haiku! Or hell, any haiku! (Haiku about hell?)

Signing off,

posted: May 30, 2013