The haiku poem is a Japanese traditional form. It was given its current name by the Japanese poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), who was a reformer and revisionist near the end of the 19th century. Traditionally, the lines are 5-7-5. The first line has five syllables, the second seven syllables, and the third five syllables. The total syllable count is seventeen. The haiku is similar to the senryu poem; however, the haiku addresses nature while the senryu addresses an emotional state of being or relationship. Unlike a senryu poem, the haiku poem has a Kigo word which relates to a season of the year. The haiku poem was first named the hokku poem by Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). The modern contemporary haiku poem takes many forms and does not subscribe to the traditional form of syllable count and Kigo word. The following is a series which shows the essence of the contemporary haiku poem:

Walking Streets of Paris-Hurting Feet

Streets of lovely Paris

golden to my tired feet

feeding the birds.

Walking the great Louvre

museum of great history

sweet Mona Lisa.

Under the arch

touting my horn very loud


Natural site in spring

Montmartre Cemetery

Edgar Degas rests.

Harry’s New York Bar

on Rue Daunou Paris, France

Ernest Hemingway.

French Moulin Rouge

pretty can-can dancing girls

Cabaret of Paris.

Ramses The Great

Paris Egyptian obelisks

Cleopatra’s Needle.

Partying students

Latin Quarter and Voltaire


Bad guys inside

De la Bastille Paris

Bastille prison.

Cowboy canine

Rin-tin-tin adventures

Cimetiere des Chiens.

Napoleonic wars

tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arc de Triomphe.

King Louis XVI

Queen Marie-Antonette

Chapelle Expiatoire.

Crown of thorns buttress

Notre-Dame de Paris

saving grace above.

Source by Joseph Spence, Sr.

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