Destiny – a Senryu

Destiny is lost
of those fearful and shameless
They shall walk alone

© C. Rhys


Definition of Senryu

1) A Japanese poem similar in structure to haiku, but more concerned with human nature, and is often humorous or satiric — usually in three lines of seventeen kana.

2) A foreign adaptation of 1, usually written in three lines of 17 syllables or LESS.

Again, unless you are Japanese, have been writing Japanese, or speak fluent Japanese, you will be writing definition #2.

A good structure for beginning senryu poets is:

subject and action (on two lines)

The Difference Between Haiku and Senryu

The primary difference between haiku and senryu is the tone. Senryu is much more concerned with human nature, political issues, and satiric humor (making fun of things).

There is a big debate over what is or is not senryu. You will see many haiku in the senryu section of many journals or vice versa. Many poets just submit their haiku/senryu, and let the editor decide where it needs to be placed in their magazine, the haiku section or the senryu section. 

There are views that all nature is haiku and all human nature is senryu. Many journals consider some all human nature poems “haiku.” However, the majority of haiku combine both human nature and nature. 

The major difference between haiku and senryu is the tone. They are similar in construction.

8 thoughts on “Destiny – a Senryu

  1. Cairenn-this is wonderful. I found myself re-reading it over and over as it is especially meaningful today. Thank you for this.
    And thank you too for stopping by Move the Chair-I appreciate you taking the time to look-

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