Summer Singers – Insect Haiku

For some of us, a constant buzzing, clicking, humming sound is the very epitome of summer. What would a balmy July night in the garden be without the never-ending songs of crickets and cicadas? The envelope of sound is so constant, so all-consuming, that we would feel lost without it. In fact, when the cicadas suddenly stop singing, the silence is deafening! The following haiku and paintings celebrate the summer singers who keep our gardens lively and full of sound!

Katydid's coloring matches the leaves and helps keep her safe from predators

Haiku might be described as “an art form of paying attention”. The syllabic count of 5-7-5 is not so much a strict rule as it is a reminder of brevity and focus. The haiku poet notices one moment in time and with a few choice words, paints a verbal picture of that moment.

Summer insects are highly revered by both haiku poets and painters, historical and contemporary. The blue-green of the katydid is not only beautiful, but also blends into the surrounding leaves. Like crickets, cicadas and grasshoppers, the katydid fills our summer gardens with song.

Grasshopper’s song in
Moonlight – someone’s
Survived the flood.
~ Issa


At the altar
in the chief place,
cries a cricket.


Insects on a bough,
floating downriver
still singing.
Persimmon and Cicada by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

Cicada mystery:
Within wild cacophony
A great, bright stillness.

Such utter silence!
even the crickets’ singing . . .
Muffled by hot rocks.

Gourd Vine, Cicada, and Empty Shell by Keisai Eisen - Japanese, Edo period

A cicada shell;
it sang itself
utterly away.
~ Basho

Wooden Japanese carving of a cicada demonstrates its cultural significance

Cicada song stops.
What is this sudden silence?
Summer’s end – too soon!
~ Juma

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    Katerina Bizirtsaki
    Katerina Bizirtsaki(@katerina-bizirtsaki)
    2 years ago

    This collection of haiku pieces is really helpful and inspirational. After scrolling through this page, I feel ready to write myriads of haiku!

    1 year ago

    After reading the story by @Carrie OLeary entitled “The Only Way They Know”, I looked up “Insects” on the Search page, and found this wonderful page of haiku and pictures from the old ZenGarden site. Poets and artists have been honoring insects for many centuries – let’s do everything we can to keep them safe and keep them inspiring us, summer after summer.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    Reply to  Fuji
    1 year ago

    This is awesome, thanks for mentioning it Fuji. We don’t have cicadas here, and as it’s unlikely that I’ll ever leave our shores, I probably won’t ever hear their song in real life. I always love to hear the burring of our grasshoppers though and have always been fascinated by the crescendo of sound that emanates from tiny little crickets. Great haikus.

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