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Haiku Poems: Understanding the Features

In this worksheet, students investigate the features of haiku poems (short poems that originated in Japan hundreds of years ago).

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Read and Discuss Texts

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

A haiku is a type of short poem that originated in Japan hundreds of years ago. Haikus were often written about nature or the seasons of the year.

 

Haikus are really just one sentence, divided into three lines, and they have a fixed number of syllables. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables and the third line has five syllables.

 

This haiku has been translated into English from Japanese. It was written by one of the earliest haiku poets, Matsuo Basho, who lived in the seventeenth century. Try clapping the syllables as you read it.


Taken in my hand,

It will vanish in hot tears -

The frost of autumn.

 

In this worksheet you can read some haiku poems and answer questions about them.

In which country were the first haiku poems written?

China

Japan

Vietnam

Mongolia

Is this statement true or false?

 

A haiku is a poem with three lines. The first and last lines always rhyme with each other.

true

false

How many syllables are there in the second line of a haiku?

5

6

7

Haiku poems often focus on one of our five senses. Which one is featured in this haiku?

 

Summer afternoon.

Bees buzzing in the border,

Lawnmowers humming.

sight

smell

hearing

touch

taste

Writers of haiku poetry have to choose their words carefully to fit the syllable pattern. Which line has too many syllables in this haiku?

 

Winter

Howling wind lifts tiles.

Snow blows through cracks in the windows.

We shiver indoors.

line 1

line 2

line 3

Look at the haiku again. It is quite easy to change the second line to fit the syllable pattern. Tick the version that could be used instead without changing the meaning of the line.

 

Winter

Howling wind lifts tiles.

Snow blows through cracks in the windows.

We shiver indoors.

Snow blows through cracks in the door.

Snow blows through the window cracks.

Snow blows down the chimney pot.

Although the main features of haiku poems are their syllables and their use of description, poets often use other poetic devices for effect as well. Look at the summer afternoon haiku again and decide what device has been used in the second line.

 

Summer afternoon.

Bees buzzing in the border,

Lawnmowers humming.

personification

alliteration

rhyme

Which poetic device has been used in this haiku?

 

Striding through the fields,

Clad in their iron armour,

The pylons march on.

alliteration

rhyme

personification

Which poetic device has been used in the second line of this haiku?

 

Brightening our day,

A huge ball of molten gold.

The sun is our life.

alliteration

simile

metaphor

Put the three lines below into order to make a haiku. The first line should set the scene. If you can't read the entire sentence in the boxes on the right, hover your mouse over each box.

Column A

Column B

line 1
Birds come home to roost.
line 2
The garden at dusk.
line 3
Trees loom black against the sky,
  • Question 1

In which country were the first haiku poems written?

CORRECT ANSWER
Japan
  • Question 2

Is this statement true or false?

 

A haiku is a poem with three lines. The first and last lines always rhyme with each other.

CORRECT ANSWER
false
EDDIE SAYS
It is the number of syllables that is important, not whether the words rhyme.
  • Question 3

How many syllables are there in the second line of a haiku?

CORRECT ANSWER
7
  • Question 4

Haiku poems often focus on one of our five senses. Which one is featured in this haiku?

 

Summer afternoon.

Bees buzzing in the border,

Lawnmowers humming.

CORRECT ANSWER
hearing
  • Question 5

Writers of haiku poetry have to choose their words carefully to fit the syllable pattern. Which line has too many syllables in this haiku?

 

Winter

Howling wind lifts tiles.

Snow blows through cracks in the windows.

We shiver indoors.

CORRECT ANSWER
line 2
  • Question 6

Look at the haiku again. It is quite easy to change the second line to fit the syllable pattern. Tick the version that could be used instead without changing the meaning of the line.

 

Winter

Howling wind lifts tiles.

Snow blows through cracks in the windows.

We shiver indoors.

CORRECT ANSWER
Snow blows through the window cracks.
  • Question 7

Although the main features of haiku poems are their syllables and their use of description, poets often use other poetic devices for effect as well. Look at the summer afternoon haiku again and decide what device has been used in the second line.

 

Summer afternoon.

Bees buzzing in the border,

Lawnmowers humming.

CORRECT ANSWER
alliteration
EDDIE SAYS
Alliteration is when several words begin with the same sound.
  • Question 8

Which poetic device has been used in this haiku?

 

Striding through the fields,

Clad in their iron armour,

The pylons march on.

CORRECT ANSWER
personification
EDDIE SAYS
The haiku describes the pylons as if they are people. This is personification.
  • Question 9

Which poetic device has been used in the second line of this haiku?

 

Brightening our day,

A huge ball of molten gold.

The sun is our life.

CORRECT ANSWER
metaphor
EDDIE SAYS
When something is described as if it is something else, it is a metaphor.
  • Question 10

Put the three lines below into order to make a haiku. The first line should set the scene. If you can't read the entire sentence in the boxes on the right, hover your mouse over each box.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

line 1
The garden at dusk.
line 2
Trees loom black against the sky,
line 3
Birds come home to roost.
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