How to Write a Lune Poem

A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom. – Robert Frost

A lune poem a short poem that is often called the American haiku. It is very similar to the haiku, although it is even shorter.

It was created by Robert Kelly, one of the more recent poets. He became frustrated with the usual form of the haiku and so he began to experiment with different amounts of syllables.

In the end he decided on a thirteen syllable form, instead of like in the normal haiku which has seventeen syllables. He decided to have five syllables on the first line, three syllables on the middle, and five syllables in the last. He also decided that this poem could rhyme if the poet wanted. He decided that as long as the syllables were right, there were no other rules.

Just like with a haiku the best way to start any poem is to decide what you are going to write about, since the lune is so short it is important to choose a single moment to memorialize in the poem. So for this poem I am going to write about a tree, an oak tree.

Now that I have a subject I am going to try to find some words and phrases that describe the oak tree. Here’s what I got: majestic; protector among trees; soaring into the sky; the ancient of trees; mystical; strangely magical.

You can see that there is no way that I can use all of this in thirteen syllables, but this gives me an idea of where I am going and where I want this poem to go.

Once I edited those lines together into the lune, here is what I got:


Protector mid trees
Soaring to the sky

So that is all there is to writing a lune the way that Robert Kelly wrote his. However, another poet, Jack Collom, came up with an alternate form of the lune which relies on words rather than upon words rather then upon syllables.

This version has three words in the first line, five in the second, and three in the last line. Just like with Kelly’s version there are no other rules.

So the first thing that I am going to do when writing this poem, just like the other one, is to choose a topic. This time I am going to write about the ocean.

I am now going to write down some phrases that I might be able to use in my lune. Since this is based on words I am going to try to avoid single words, but if I find a single word that would work perfectly I will put write it down. So here is what I got: calm is a deception; stretching as far as one can see; deep cool blueness; waves beating the shore.

Using these ideas, this is what I ended up with:


Calm is deception
Stretching far as I see
Waves beat shore

I hope that this has helped you in learning how to write a lune poem. Now that you know how it might be fun to try writing one.  I had a lot of fun writing these two poems; they are similar to haikus, but they are different.




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