Some Poetry types

Some Poetry types: Haiku, Tanka, Senryu, Limerick, Sonnet, Ballad, Cinquain

What is a Haiku?

  • 3 line poem
  • lines following *5-7-5 format
  • capturing the beauty of a moment
  • poems on nature
  • no need to rhyme

*5-7-5 is the syllable count of each line (first line with 5 syllable, second line with 7 syllable and third line with 5 syllable)

Haiku Examples

bougainvillea seeds,
resilient and wild; they’ve
mastered the alters
The beats of ocean
buried in a dew as feels of
blue sky in a cloud

These are some of Haikus which I have published in iwriteher

What is a Tanka?

  • 5 line poem
  • lines following 5-7-5-7-7 format
  • capturing a mood, thought, or feeling
  • no need to rhyme

In a way, it’s an extension of haiku.

Tanka Example

Falling off leafage
uncertainty over her veins
but held on until
raindrops dripped, brief silence of
her leaves growing up again

This is a Tanka which I have published in twitter

What is a Senryu?

  • 3 line poem
  • lines following 5-7-5 format (like a haiku)
  • poems on human nature
  • usually contains irony
  • not written on nature or seasons
  • no need to rhyme

Senryu Examples

chilly nights tone up
burning eyes under blankets
vaccine influences
silence lingering
I dislike it between us
you need me, as I

These are some of Senryu which I have published earlier

What is a Limerick?

  • 5 line poem
  • Poem with a humorous rhyme
  • The lines adhering to AABBA rhyme scheme
    • The 1st & 2nd lines must rhyme
    • The 3rd & 4th lines must rhyme
    • The 5th line must rhyme with the 1st
  • The A lines have more words and syllables than the B lines
    • The 1st, 2nd, & 5th lines usually have 7–9 syllables
    • The 3rd & 4th lines usually have 5–7 syllables


Staring into my bare soul,
my mirror says, hey kajol
you look stunning today.
soon I take my cameras which yell,
who the hell are you, jay?

This is a Limerick which I have published in twitter

What is a Sonnet?

  • 14 line poem
  • Each line with 10 syllables.
  • The structure can be divided into three quatrains (four-line stanzas) plus a final rhyming couplet (two-line stanza).
  • Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
  • Each line usually rhymes using the following stressed and unstressed syllable pattern:
    • soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD
  • Sonnets often describe a problem and solution, or question and answer.
  • The transition from problem to solution (or question to answer) is called the volta (turn) which appears in the final rhyming couplet

Sonnet Example by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? (a)
Thou art more lovely and more temperate. (b)
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, (a)
And summer's lease hath all too short a date. (b)
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, (c)
And often is his gold complexion dimmed; (d)
And every fair from fair sometime declines, (c)
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; (d)
But thy eternal summer shall not fade, (e)
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, (f)
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, (e)
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st. (f)
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, (g)
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. (g)

Here, Shakespeare compares the transient beauty of a young man to a tranquil, warm summer day.

What is a Ballad?

  • narrative poem
  • usually in quatrains (four-line stanzas)
  • lines rhyming abcb.

Ballad Example

John Keats’ ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad”

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

What is a Cinquain?

  • 5-line poem
  • lines following 2-4-6-8-2 syllable scheme
  • A cinquain does not have to rhyme.

Cinquain Example

leave her
leave her alone
she belongs to herself
don’t destroy her with your love-hate
just leave

This is a Cinquain which I have published in twitter

How to take syllable count?

Syllables are based on sound, not spelling. Hence the number of syllables in a word is decided by its number of vowel sounds. For example, in the word “count,” there are only one vowel sound, hence one syllable.

You can count the syllable manually or with some tools. is useful for counting syllable.

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