The best definition of the motivation behind writing haiku can be found in The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson:
‘It is hard to tell you how I am feeling. Perhaps if I share with you the event that made me aware of these feelings, you will have similar feelings of your own’Traditional haiku would normally take nature as its subject, often with the poet observing a natural phenomenon of some kind. It would also feature a prominent grammatical break at the end of the first or second line. A good example is this haiku:
Furu ike yaThis was written by Basho, one of the most famous and revered haiku poets. He lived from 1644-1694 and began writing haiku at the age of 18. His work contains some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking poetry of any culture and the haiku above is one of the most famous in Japanese literature. It has been translated many times by a variety of translators but this version, by R.H. Blyth:
mizu no oto
The old pond.Haiku is no longer exclusive to Japanese and has been embraced worldwide. In the process it has shed some of its formalities so that nowadays most English language haiku simply follows the 5-7-5 structure but does not stick to the theme of nature or include the grammatical break.
A frog jumps in –
the sound of the water.
I have to tell you –
everything is not shit,
so, it is just you.