What is haiku?

Japanese haiku have been traditionally composed in 5-7-5 syllables. Over the years, however, most haiku poets in North America have become aware that 17 English syllables convey a great deal more information than 17 Japanese syllables, and have come to write haiku in fewer syllables, most often in three segments that follow a short-long-short pattern without a rigid structure.

Haiku poems can describe almost anything, but you seldom find themes which are too complicated. Haiku poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation.

Here are some hippo-themed haiku:


By Diane Stefan
(added July 2012)

lumbering on land
pure weightless grace in water
hippos can do both

wide wide open mouth
aggressive survival chomps
closed-mouth – see the smile

oft times just like me
contradictions define them—
so I love hippos


By Jack Wetzel

lovers, eager collectors -
Ears twitch, jaws agape
Tail tossing dung far and wide -
King of the river


By Pam Johnson:

Flinging my dung
An unexpected shower
For the visitors!

Hippo on a shelf
Looking out through cloudy eyes
Why won't she dust me?

Night brings hunger pangs
Search for food is successful
My belly protrudes

Waddling toward the river
Trampling grass on my way
Muddy home sweet home


By Diane Stefan:

late one Kenya night
hippo grazed 'neath pale moonlight
breathless magic sight
diane stefan - July 26, 2007

Hippos everywhere
I'm surrounded by hippos
Hippo-lovers dream

gracefully swims to the shore
to bask in the sun

Harmony Hippo
Sue's awesome automobile
clearly wows Houston!!

Beware the hippo
Always with a huge smile
sneaks into your heart

All around the world
we hippo lovers join hands


By Sue Shefman:

Birds and squirrels sharing food
Garden vacation.

People always smile and point
A day made brighter.

Lovers of hippos
Meet, talk, share, buy, sell and trade

Aquarium, zoo
Long bus ride to Richard’s home
Philly, here we come!


By David Soto:

A Hippo Cafe
A true delight to see
One more 'rita please

A hippo so huge
A waterbed so small
Maybe the backyard

hippos caliente
los hippos se refrescan  
hippos muy bien


By Becca Miller:

little river horse
you're the apple of my eye
my hippopotomi

hippo baby
a happy life you'll lead
lovin' water

snuggled in deep
glorious mud indeed
cozy hippo


By Adelaide Prentice:

a flick of an ear

not tired but angry

hot sun
mud-caked wrinkled skin
wallowing hippo


Author Unknown
(contributed by Howard Williamson)