Rhyming Haiku

If you didn’t already know this, I write at least one haiku once a month. I have to be careful, because haiku are supposed to mention seasons but mine never do. Are they pseudo-haiku, then? Sudoku?

It’s always been odd to me that haiku don’t rhyme. I think rhyming works well with even-numbered stanzas in poetry. With the haiku, we are left with three lines. If two of the lines rhyme, then the third line seems out of place, possibly put there to be ironic. (I’m not a fan of irony for irony’s sake, whatever that means.) If all three lines rhyme, it seems like there should be a fourth rhyming line, like it’s some sort of grocery store sale. I thought about these constraints and came up with a few ways to make haiku (or sudoku, because they don’t mention seasons) rhyme.

This first one’s a little self-referential.

Haiku can’t rhyme, right?
Where’s the meter? Don’t repeat,
Or it’s quite a sleight

It’s a little bit of a stretch, because if the final line’s “Or” completes the eight syllable couplet of line 2, then the final line has only four syllables, whereas the first line has five, so whatever attempt at meter I tried doesn’t work. It doesn’t help that 5 + 7 + 5 = 17.

This next one forgets about meter in the second line.

Late night burger binge
Grease on fingers, it lingers
Health is on the hinge

I think the second line is the culprit of oddness, so I just accepted that its couplet would give one part four syllables and the other part three syllables.

This next one follows the same structure as the second haiku.

Heart rattles ribcage
It will clamour, pour amour
Trapped for all its days

I think the comma separating the “couplet” in the second line makes the meaning a little ambiguous. British spelling was thrown in to be cheeky.

Are haiku supposed to rhyme? Aren’t they difficult enough to write given the brevity restrictions? I’ll refer to the excellence of Claude Marot, whose famous 18 line poem rhymed with every pair of lines, each being three syllables. Ah! That’s one new way to make haiku rhyme, keeping one syllable off at the end just to be funny (or, heaven forbid, ironic).

Haiku, you’re
A star, your
Words are true
Ask whereto
Map’s ajar?

The italicized text is a rhyme for every couplet of three syllable lines. (The last line can’t be three syllables because it’s a 17 syllable poem.) The underlined syllables are where I stressed a rhyme in the other haiku above. Now, depending on how the syllables are organized, this poem can rhyme in two ways! The ultimate challenge would be to make a haiku entirely of rhyming words, so that no matter the arrangement of syllables per line, the creator could have a rhyming structure. That’s a challenge for another day.

Let’s go no farther,

EDIT 2014-07-24: I changed “haikus” to “haiku” throughout (even the title), having learned from my writer friend A.W. about the more “Eastern” pluralization.

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