Week Fifteen: The Lune


The Lune–also known as the American Haiku–is a thirteen-syllable variation of the English Haiku created by American poet Robert Kelly (it may also be referred to as the Kelly Lune). Kelly’s adaptation of the better-known English Haiku–which also features a tercet, but with the 5-7-5 syllable count we all learned in school–shortened the syllable count from seventeen to thirteen and opened up the form by not requiring some of the haiku’s distinguishing features, such as the focus on nature.

One source proposes that Kelly chose the word lune (the French word for moon) to describe his adapted haiku form because the syllable count matches the thirteen lunar months of the year.

A Lune by Robert Kelly:

thin sliver of the
crescent moon
high up the real world

Requirements of the Form


– Consists of any number of tercets, though a single tercet is most common


– Open, but generally has a sense of immediacy
— Often lacks punctuation, capitalization

Syllable Count

[Line 1] Five syllables
[Line 2] Three syllables
[Line 3] Five syllables


– No requirements


– Typically not rhymed

Three Original Lunes

the woods by the creek

the woods by the creek
all our best
silences were there


she watches, wonders

she watches, wonders
in silence
the child in the leaves

who will comfort her
as she cries
as her forests burn


from ancient darkness

from ancient darkness
sudden light
galaxies of soul

Links to Online Resources

Lune – Writer’s Digest
Lune – Poets Collective
Poetic Forms: Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and Lunes – lestersmith.com
Robert Kelly – Poets.org
Robert Kelly (Poet) – Wikipedia
The Lune and Robert Kelly – The Line Break
Various Moons – Poetsonearth.com


–Original creative works are owned by the
author and subject to copyright laws

2 thoughts on “Week Fifteen: The Lune

  1. Pingback: Week Nineteen: Alphabet Poetry – Astra Poetica

  2. Pingback: The Lune – Adam of the Universe

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