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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