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!


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

    you really kicked it up a notch!

  2. K.L. Hale says:

    I love this form of poetry! It’s simplicity is so succinct and “staccato”. Few words, great meaning.
    Great poet.
    Weaver of words!

  3. kristianw84 says:

    Wow! I really enjoyed this form. Look at you going above and beyond. I would expect nothing less. I love this!!

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