A haiku for every occasion

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but haikus are “the shizzle”, as teenage hoodlums like to say. For many years I lived in ignorance of this fact, fruitlessly pouring my heart out into birthday and Christmas cards, desperately trying to convey my thoughts and feelings in blathering prose that left everyone involved exhausted. Then I discovered haikus.

They are simplicity brought to life. They are the spark of human imagination, codified into lines of 5, 7, and 5. They are, quite simply, perfection.

Also, they’re super handy. It is a universally known law that when confronted with a haiku, the reader will be far more interested in counting the syllables of each line than in, say, the actual contents of the haiku. This can work in your favour in multiple ways. The most obvious, I think, is that eternal problem of what to write in greeting cards.

Take birthday cards. You could spend half an hour gathering your thoughts and putting them to paper, cringing at each cliched sentence, well aware that the person receiving the card will be utterly unimpressed by your half-hearted babbling that inevitably uses the words “happy” and “birthday” seven or eight times over the course of the message. Or you could write a haiku, and watch in peaceful contentment as the card-receiver discovers your haiku and happily sets about counting the syllables. It’s a win win! You spared yourself the time and agony of etching out a heartfelt sentiment, and you gave the card-recipient a fun little game to pass the time.

Now, I’m very proficient at knocking out haikus left and right, but I know some people aren’t. Therefore, I have helpfully created a series of “Happy Birthday Haikus” for you. Simply pick the haiku that matches the number of syllables in your birthday boy or girl’s name, slot in the name, and you’re good to go!


1 syllable

Happy birthday, _____

Of all my friends in this world,

None compare to you!

2 syllables

On this day, _____

Eat cake, laugh and shout hurray,

For it’s your birthday!

3 syllables

My dear _____

On this most birthful of days,

I shout hip hurray!

4 syllables

Oh _____

I think you know what I’ll say,

Happy birthday! Yay!

If you know someone with a first name longer than five syllables … well, tough. Ditch them and get friends with more manageable names.


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Categories: Random, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

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33 thoughts on “A haiku for every occasion

  1. Too funny, Michelle!
    You have made my day brighter.
    Smiling while I count.

  2. I used to do this.
    Not in birthday cards and stuff;
    Just did it for fun.

  3. Genius! You’re doing a great service to the community with these.

  4. I wrote a cliched
    type of response for this post,
    but didn’t post it.

  5. Intimated by the talent on display so not even going to try a haiku. Thank you so much for this AND I learned a new word. How do you use shizzle in a sentence? My breakfast cereal has a shizzle taste? My, that girl is a really rather shizzle?

    Have re-blogged so others need no longer worry about the blank space in birthday cards. You’ve performed a social service!

  6. Reblogged this on BRIDGET WHELAN writer and commented:
    Michelle has provided a real social service – you don’t need to be intimidated by the blank space in birthday cards any more….

  7. I too like the 5-7-5 but since beginning, about a year ago, occasionally to pen them on my blog I’ve had a look at many on the net; as far as I can see they seem to have any form you like, except they’re short with all the advantages you mention for greetings cards 🙂 . So what makes a haiku a haiku?

  8. Some great birthday Haiku there. I do spend more time counting syllables than reading the words, but I like to tut when they don’t adhere to the rules 🙂

  9. My friend Emily has adopted your same haiku technique, and also has your flair for humor. In my husband’s most recent birthday card, she wrote this gem.

    A Birthday Haiku:
    Years continue on
    reminding us to enjoy
    what we have while we. . .


    Just keep doing what you’re doing.

    The rest of his cards have long since made it to the trash, but this one is still displayed.

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