Haiku Day: Honoring the Artful Poetic Form

by   |   today@bju.edu   |  
Spring Flowers on campus of BJU the first day of spring

In schools across America, April is known as poetry month. What might be lesser known is that April 18 specifically is National Haiku Poetry Day.

The History

Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry. It was originally called hokku and used as the introductory stanza of a longer form of poetry, the renga (a linked-verse poem). The hokku would establish the setting of the renga and had to include the season, the time of day and landscape details. In the late 19th century, though, it became its own form of poetry and became known as haiku, from a combination of haikai (a humorous form of renga) and hokku.

When first written, the only subject of haiku was descriptions of nature. The 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō—who made haiku the most popular form of Japanese poetry—broadened the subjects allowed by including his travel experiences as the topic of his. After Bashō, haiku’s range of subjects broadened in general. But, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, “the haiku remained an art of expressing much and suggesting more in the fewest possible words.”

Haiku eventually came to refer to all poems that use the three-line, 17-syllable structure—five syllables on the first and third lines and seven syllables on the middle line. In the early 1900s, the Imagists admired the pithy verse form and its ability to create vivid visual images. Haiku also enjoyed another resurgence of popularity after World War II. Now, almost every elementary school student writes at least one haiku before moving on to middle school.

The Haiku

To honor the artful poetic form, we collected student-written haiku describing BJU in the spring:

Students in the spring
Are as happy as can be.
Summer is coming.
— Claire Murr

Green leaves spring upwards,
splashing through the murky earth
like a frog’s wet leap
— Hannah Zellers

Morning still and blue
Whispered thunder on the wind
Sun shivers for me
— Jacie Pridgeon

Days of sun and rain
Blend colors and sounds into
Songs of allergies.
— Abril Brito Mones

Rays of warmth shine through
Flakes of cherry blossom snow
All over campus.
— Abril Brito Mones

Walking through campus,
Yellow clouds loom over us.
Oh no, it’s pollen.
— Abril Brito Mones

What shoes should I wear?
Boots or sandals? I don’t know.
Greenville weather stinks.
— Abril Brito Mones