Experiment #1: Write a pirate haiku…

…That is:  write a haiku about, by, or for pirates.

Then feel free to post your haiku in the comments. 

If you don’t feel like posting a haiku, you are also welcome to share some useful phrases to help others. (You scurvy bilge rat! Avast, me hearties! Keelhaul that.) If you need inspiration, consider visiting International Talk Like a Pirate Day and checking out an “English to Pirate” translator.

If you want  a few examples and some background on why I think this is a good idea, keep reading.

Some Background (or Why Bother?) 

Games have rules. Canvases have edges. I think constraints can be wonderfully helpful in art and play. Maybe that’s why I like messing around with haiku.

A haiku, as you almost certainly know, is a poem of three lines.

  • The first line has five syllables.
  • The second line has seven syllables.
  • The third line has five syllables.

Traditional Japanese haiku contain a reference to a season — but that’s optional as far as I’m concerned. (It’s one more rule than I care about.)

I wrote my favorite haiku at a party hosted by the fabulous jeweler Elise Matheson. Elise called it a “haiku earring party.” She puts earrings out on a table. Each guest chooses a set of earrings; Elise provides a title for the haiku. The guest writes the haiku, recites it to Elise, and claims the earrings.

My title “How to Hide a Universe,” and I’m still ridiculously pleased with the haiku I wrote:

How to Hide a Universe
A difficult task,
Or so it might seem at first.
Then you close your eyes.

Here are a few pirate haiku, sent to me by visitors to the website for my children’s book, The Wild Girls.

First, a very instructive haiku by Kaila offers excellent advice.

Pirate 101
Be dirty and loud
Always find the treasure chest
Avoid Peter Pan

I think this untitled haiku by Natasha is wonderfully direct and extremely piratical, perfect for a dramatic reading on International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19)

rum rum rum rum rum
arr arr rum arr arr rum arr
rum rum rum rum rum

Consider this untitled work by Emma. She speaks with the authority of a pirate captain, and I personally would never cross her.

no one cares, you dunce!
you are still walking the plank!
put that treasure down!

I’ll end with one of mine own.

The complete pirate —
peg-legged, gold-toothed, hook-handed —
has some parts missing.

Now it’s your turn.



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8 Responses to Experiment #1: Write a pirate haiku…

  1. Pat Murphy March 3, 2013 at 5:31 am #


    The complete pirate —
    peg legged, gold toothed, hook handed —
    has some parts missing.

  2. Pat Murphy March 4, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    Avast! Swab the decks!
    Clean ship be a happy ship!
    No blood on the deck!

  3. susie March 4, 2013 at 1:00 am #

    I just cannot write
    Another pirate haiku
    They now disgust me.

  4. Denise Wally March 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Pirate Haiku #1

    Aye, Avast me mates
    Heed the flaming rum monkeys
    They blister and burn

    Pirate Haiku #2

    On the sea so blue
    Heaved and hawed so true
    Rum, the ship and you

  5. Colleen T ORourke March 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Tin-ear Pete struggled.
    Told to get “pair-rot,”
    Best he found was a “two-can.”

  6. David March 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Haikarrr #1

    The sun’s glarin’ o’er
    me as I leave that grog bar.
    Time to sleep ’til noon!

    Haikarr #2
    My peg stumps the sand,
    my boot points to the jungle.
    Treasure’s through those trees.

    Haikarr #3
    She’s a beaut, she is
    Thirty inches, red and gold,
    Made for my shoulder.

  7. Jerry Stearns March 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    A Pirate Promise

    If ya looks again
    At me treasure on the sand
    I’ll keelhaul ya, sure.

    Friend or Foe

    Crow’s nest cries starboard
    Ahoy, the Jolly Roger
    Let’s break out the rum

  8. Shirley Smothers January 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    The anger and rage
    Simmers just below the surface
    Must control the beast

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