Whittled Words – Hay(na)ku Poem


Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




Just so you all do not think I am stuck on the old dusty long verse of yore as an outlet for expression, this week I bring you something fresh and new. Hay(na)ku is a simple poetic form, and it is also one of the newest. It was apparently created in 2003 by poet Eileen Tabios, a publisher with Meritage Press. And this should play well into the hands of my readers who enjoy the “six-word story” form.

Hay(na)ku is a 3-line poem with one word in the first line, two words in the second, and three in the third. There are no restrictions beyond this. Unlike its obvious parent, traditional haiku, it requires no syllabic count, cutting words, seasonality, or specifically natural subjects. It is very free range.

A simple example:

chase girls
on the playground.

There are already some variations of this new poetic form. For instance, a reverse hay(na)ku has lines of three, two, and one word(s) respectively. Also, multiple hay(na)ku can be chained together to form longer poems.


Examples of Hay(na)ku Poems:



(Coupled and Reversed)

By Lawrencealot

does not
solve the problem.
Taking thoughtful action
most usually



By Adnama17

Emergency revenge
Nowhere to spare





By Bengalibelle

flying back home…
each star




(Coupled and Reversed )

By Brad Osborne



Ticking tacit

The counting creeps

Louder and louder

The secondhand



Past days

In life sweet

Passing just once

They never



Carefully now

To steady song

Find the music

For however



I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Hay(na)ku poem. Thanks for reading!


15 Responses to “Whittled Words – Hay(na)ku Poem”
  1. beth says:

    I love this form and how it is flexible in reversing the order and combining them –

  2. This form was easy to follow, which made the poems easier to follow! Me likey!

  3. K.L. Hale says:

    I love learning new styles of poetry! Brad, awesome job, on your poems! (Imagine in simple Hay(an)ku form)

  4. Jim Borden says:

    this is my kind of form; seems like it would be fun to create such poems. well done combining the regular and reversed forms!

  5. Definitely enjoyed it Brad! Loved your example!

  6. jonicaggiano says:

    Great new form of poetry. Simple rules but not as simple to write with few words and be meaningful. I liked all the example. Nice piece you wrote Brad. I have not yet tried the stories you mentioned although a lot of people in the community are very good at it. Sending hugs and love ❤️ Joneekins

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