Haiku/Senryü/Zappai: Holy Trinity


Laundered sheets of ice
Soft with pristine innocence
Tortured by the sun

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.


Freshly laundered sheets
Soft with pristine innocence
tortured by our acts

Senryū (川柳, literally ‘river willow’) is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 syllables. Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious.


Freshly laundered sheets
Soft with pristine innocence
Routinely tortured

Zappai (雑俳) is a form of Japanese poetry rooted in haikai. It is related to, but separate from, haiku and senryū. Lee Gurga defines zappai as a form of poetry that “includes all types of seventeen syllable poems that do not have the proper formal or technical characteristics of haiku.”

I’ve tried to twist the same poem into the three forms. If you find an issue with this you can #¥®%°}vittu#$ -saatana& _$perkele#@).

Or email me at gof#ckyrslf@gmail.com

Weekly Theme:
Untried Poetry Forms

50 thoughts on “Haiku/Senryü/Zappai: Holy Trinity

  1. The sheets are complaining M. You’ve stirred their ire:

    We may be freshly
    Laundered but you lot always
    Bugger us up. Thanks

    Gotta be careful with sheets M. They very sensitive to what happens to them.

    Billy’s comment on seeing

    #¥®%°}vittu#$ -saatana& _$perkele#@) ?

    Get knotted too he said. I didn’t teach him language like that. Must’ve been school…….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope sentience doesn’t go beyond animal and plant life for the sake of everything else that has to deal with us. It’s bad enough what we do to the animals and plants.

        Billy is getting older, as children do.


      2. Ah, my vivid imagination at play again. Your use of ‘sentience’ made me investigate further. I think I remember hearing of it but wasn’t sure of it’s meaning. Coined by philosophers in the 1630’s to describe ability to feel as compared with ability to reason……

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Billy says my imagination determines his age at any point in time. Not quite sure what he means, but think he wants to remain a child. A clever one. With all the right morals…..that is the most important, yes?…..

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I assumed as much. Since I’ve been trying to pin point and age only to release Billy regresses on a daily basis.


  2. I LOVE this post, Mouse. First of all I learned the difference between a haiku and senryu, as well as it’s triplet sibling the zappai which I was totally unfamiliar with. Also, I loved that you illustrated all three variations through an example of roughly the same topic. Ingenious! It was like a poetic fugue or fractal. Informative and entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I thought this might help my own comprehension as well as a few others who dabble in the shorter form.
      I’m hoping I don’t come across a fourth variation. It could take some rewriting.

      Liked by 1 person

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