One of the hearts of Geography is the search for a sense of place. Japanese haiku poetry does much the same thing.

Haiku are essentially Geographical in nature, classically containing "season" words (snow, blossom, etc) and being about aspects of the natural environment. Over several years I started using Haiku as a way of training Geography students to look more closely at their environment and to communicate about it more concisely. Haiku can be a great Geography teaching tool! When time permits, I'll write more here about using GeoHaiku in teaching, but for now I just wanted to encourage students, colleagues and friends to have a go and flag up your efforts with the #GeoHaiku hashtag on twitter.

The stream meanders,
the road alongside runs straight.
Three crows overhead.
#haiku 52'59'08" N., 2'14'50" W.
#geography sense of place


Fix a broken sky
With butterflies and birdsong.
Leave holes for the rain.
(Applied Meteorology Haiku)


The Geo-Haiku
Is great for teaching science:
Concise, precise, true.


The rules are simple. Write a Haiku that fits into a tweet and is explicitly "Geographical" (or geological, or whatever, if you are of that persuasion!). Post it on Twitter with the #Geohaiku hashtag.

It's up to you how strictly / classically you want to interpret the term "Haiku", but I usually think of the following basics:

5-7-5 syllable structure;
Structural/thematic break between lines 2 and 3;
Strong nature theme and/or seasonal characteristic;
For our game, something recognisably "Geo".

If you want to be really Geo-Geeky you could add a latitude and longitude, or a grid reference. Or at least geo-tag the post.

Let me say, of course, that I am no expert on haiku and these examples and "rules" are not in any way models of how it must be done. It's just for fun... and to help you notice more in the world and to encourage you to express it more concisely (and beautifully!)

Advanced GeoHaiku!

You could really go for it and include a picture! (Technically that might stop being a Haiku and become something else, but it's OK for us!)

I've left the last line blank in this one for you to complete as you think best!

Down long ago trails / On far flung isles to the north / The wind, the ground, ice.

Bent trees, broken rocks / Mountain tops in storm force winds... / And then malt whiskey! //(field trip memories)

Long climb, worthwhile view / Cirque, arete, pyramid peak / Topographic high. // (field trip report)

Shear stress: sudden rise. / Ice dynamic threshold: crossed. / Strain rate: non-zero. //

Raindrops fall quickly. Clouds remember the ocean. Oceans dream of skies.

The moon passes close / The ocean draws in its breath / and then we move on...