A Haiku or Two - Anniversary Haiku Contest - Submission deadline July 9th

A Haiku or Two

Hello all fellow Secret Worlders!

To celebrate the 6th Anniversary of Secret World Legends, I am announcing a haiku writing contest, sponsored by the League of Monster Slayers. Contestants can submit up to 2 haikus based on the constraints shared below. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 haikus as judged by me, Goonshine. You can submit anytime between now and the deadline: 2023-07-10T03:59:00Z

Apologies for the long contest rules below, but I want to explain what haiku are for people who might not know, and to be crystal clear on expectations of what is considered a haiku for this contest.

What is a haiku?

A haiku is a syllable limited poem, related to a specific theme, in the 5 / 7 / 5 style. The first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7, and the third line has 5 again. While strict with its format and briefness, haiku is said to be one of the most accessable forms of poetry. With this contest I’m hoping to offer a different challenge from the usual flash fiction contests, but still keeping a low barrier to entry.

Notes about syllable count and judging

Syllable count

If your haiku has 1 line with 1 too many or 1 too few syllables (for instance 6 syllables in the third line), it won’t be immediately disqualified, but it might lose points in scoring.

Being 2 or more syllables off in a line, or having multiple lines that don’t match 5 / 7 / 5 format, will result in that haiku being disqualified.

Why include this exception? Haiku has a tradition of being 5 / 7 / 5, but also has some fabulous poems that buck that trend by 1 syllable. If you think you have something really special, or your haiku just can’t be told without bending the format a little, then by all means submit with 1 syllable less or more.

Editing after submission, punctuation

Editing your haiku after submitting will also disqualify it, so if you forgot something like your character name, delete and resubmit. Nothing submitted after the deadline will be accepted.

As for punctuation, use em-dashes, use commas, periods, exclamation points, parenthesis, ellipses…whatever expresses your haiku best!

Haiku examples:

Full criteria met:
Cyclopean gaze, ← 5 syllables
Labyrinths, whispers, power, ← 7 syllables
Illuminati. ← 5 syllables

Loses a point:
Cyclopean gaze, ← 5 syllables
Labyrinths, whispers, power, ← 7 syllables
Illuminati rules! ← 6 syllables

Cyclopean gaze, ← 5 syllables
Mazes, whispers, power, ← 6 syllables
Illuminati rules! ← 6 syllables

Syllables will be counted using https://www.haikusyllablecounter.com/.


Haikus traditionally include a seasonal theme, but I want to give writers some leeway in what to write about. So, the haiku must include one OR more of the following themes:

  • Autumn
  • Secrets
  • Magic

Your haiku should also include some identifiable reference to something from the Secret World. Not including something identifiable from the game won’t disqualify you, but you might lose points in judging. Below are examples—note that these are not constraints or suggestions, just examples:
Anima, Gaia, Bees, Honey, Agartha, Filth, Sleepers, Agents, Handlers, Orochi, Dragon, Illuminati, Templar.


Submissions should be made to this post in the forum. Any submissions outside this post will not be included in judging. Submissions should include the following information:

  1. title of the haiku
  2. body of the haiku
  3. which theme was chosen
  4. name of the in-game character who will receive prizes

All entrants are allowed to submit up to 2 haikus. Any more than 2 haikus submitted for a single character name will not be included in judging.


1st: Jack Boone agent dossier, 50 Mk IV Weapon Fragments, 50 Resplendent Talisman Fragments, 50 Elaborate Glyph fragments, Radiant Vampiric Essence
2nd : The Duo agent dossier, 50 Resplendent Talisman Fragments, 20 Mk IV Weapon Fragments, Radiant Razor Fossil
3rd : 50 Elaborate Glyph Fragments, 10 Mk IV Weapon Fragments

Additionally, the following prizes will be raffled and distributed to participants who are not in the top 3:

  • Emote: Evil Laugh
  • Party Ghoul

Entry rules in total

Your haiku:

  • must be written in the 5 / 7 / 5 style, with leeway for an extra syllable on one line
  • must include 1 or more of the 3 themes: Autumn, Secrets, or Magic
  • should include an identifiable reference to something in the Secret World

Your submission should:

  • Be a reply to this forum thread.
  • Include the title of the haiku, the body of the haiku, which theme was chosen, and the name of the in-game character who will receive prizes.
  • Be a max of 2 haikus for consideration. Anything past the 2nd submission will not be counted.
  • Be unedited.

Editing your haiku, egregious disregard of the syllable rules as outlined above, or other chicanery will disqualify that haiku.

Start date: 2023-06-26T05:00:00Z
Submission deadline: 2023-07-10T03:59:00Z
Winners announced: In this thread on the official Funcom forums by 2023-07-17T05:00:00Z


Example of a complete submission:

The Blue Meanies

Cyclopean gaze,
Labyriths, whispers, power—

Theme: Secrets
Submitted by: Heather “Goonshine” Ramis

List of accepted submissions:


I love, love, LOVE the idea of this contest. And haikus. I just want to point out some things about haikus that people might not know or think about if they’re not familiar with the genre.

I don’t really think the 5/7/5 rule is a hard rule in English, I would say that most non-japanese language can bend that and even Japanese authors do, in English I tent to like even shorter ones, but for the sake of simplicity, it’s fine. Line breaking is also arbitrary, Japanese haikus are written in a single line after all, so it can really be in 1, 2 or 3 lines, just letting people know, for the sake of uniformity I think it’s fine to enforce the rules.

More importantly, what I value in haikus the most is the feeling, and a lot of people who get hung up on the superficial form aspects of it tend to miss. It’s really not about how many syllables or lines are in it, at least not primarily, but what the author felt and how to convey that feeling to someone else in as few words as possible.

Another common feature of haikus is juxtaposition. Usually it has 2 objects and there’s a dynamic between them. Often it has some sort of syntactic ambiguity where you can read and understand the haiku in different ways. You can try interposing object with the background, different states of the same object, actions, relations, etc.

I like viewing haikus as abridged tankas, they don’t really have finality to them, instead inviting the reader to infer the rest, just giving the most minimalist snapshot.

Finally, haikus should be contemplative rather than descriptive. It’s not enough to just have some words, naming things that fit into the syllable mould, it has to evoke emotions, like a good candid photograph of a moment accidentally made in passing.

Also haikus don’t really have names and first letters in them don’t have to be capitalized. Hopefully that will be somewhat helpful to the participants.

striped little sweetling
sitting on a moonlit porch
jack-o-lantern smiles

no need for sunblock
under a beach umbrella
Egyptian mummy

starless chilly night
over Kaidan bay rises
Orochi serpent


Thank you for your insights on haiku.

As for the three lovely haikus you included in the post, are they submissions? If so, could you review the submission guidelines again, select only the 2 that will be part of the contest, and submit them a reply with the necessary information (username, theme, etc)?

Nah, they’re more like examples. I don’t really need the prizes so it would be unfair of me to take them from someone who could use them.

What a fantastic contest with a challenge!
I really liked the stanza poetry contests we had at Christmas so this one appeals to me also.

Summoning my death

Spells cast in Wispwood
Golden trees and pumpkin grounds
The seventh raven

Theme: Magic, Autumn & Secrets
Submitted by: Raziel (With a capital i at the end not an L)

Thank you for the opportunity! <3


I’ll throw my hat into this ring:

An Ode to Arms

Blade shatters, reforms
Death comes through steel and magic
Hell’s mystery, now mine

Theme: Magic, secrets

Death’s Harvest

I’m trapped in Kingsmouth
Halloween became too real
It’s not just zombies…

Theme: Autumn

Submitted by: Alpharius “DuskCharger” Hyperion


Announcement: we’ve received word that two GM-only agent dossiers will be added to contest prizes!

Prizes are amended as follows:

1st: Jack Boone agent dossier, 50 Mk IV Weapon Fragments, 50 Resplendent Talisman Fragments, 50 Elaborate Glyph fragments, Radiant Vampiric Essence
2nd : The Duo agent dossier, 50 Resplendent Talisman Fragments, 20 Mk IV Weapon Fragments, Radiant Razor Fossil
3rd : 50 Elaborate Glyph Fragments, 10 Mk IV Weapon Fragments

I know this is a shift in expectations, so any of the 3 contestants who has already submitted haikus (Rizzle, DawnCharger and fowlskins) that feels strongly about the need to revisit their work, you have the opportunity to delete your existing submissions and resubmit if you so desire.


That’s awesome, thanks to the kind donators!
I don’t feel the need to revisit and am happy with my submission as it is.

Thank you again!


Let’s give it a try…


Four Bees on their knees
Worshipping Geary’s portrait
The Rider cometh

Theme: Secret / Autumn

Submitted: Hobragon
(yeah I know, team green instead of blue… but that Samhain was back in TSW anyways :slight_smile: )


Dark Callings

Hello sweet dreamer
Drink and descend into night

Theme: Secrets/Magic
in-game: Solostyx


Nice idea!

my two tries, both to theme “secrets”:


its time now sweetling
to prepare and concentrate
to fight the darkness

The calling

gathering courage
fighting for peace and freedom
the league waits for you

Enjoy anniversary, everybody!

  • sixofeight

My Rifle

Anima explode
Third aged shenanigans
makes critters go boom

Theme: Magic
Submitted by: Rifla “Rifla”Potetflak


Treebranches decayes
some of them toppling loudly
Sweetlings endures fall

Theme: Autumn
Submitted by: Rifla “Rifla”Potetflak



Stray into the patch
Jack-o’-lantern grinning wide
Fleeing from the vines

Theme: Autumn

Swallowed a bee

Startled from my sleep
Fireballs fly from my fingers
Room lit up with blue

Theme: Magic

Character: Unidentified


Theme: Secrets
Though you might detect a subtle subtheme… :stuck_out_tongue:

This seraph of slime
It Fell From the Outer Dark
Me must oppose this

Save the pod target
then you can focus the hulk
stay on the damn grate


Theme: secrets
Character: Fenrir

In love hotel’s glow
Purple ink reveals secrets
Two souls intertwine


Really nice idea! Love this Contest!

The taste of brittle memories

Now reap what you sow,
all sweetness comes to an end,
when the last leafs fall.

Theme: Magic, Autumn & Secrets
Submitted by: Daniel “Zephyre7” Sternkind


Title: The Fate of Bees

We are made of stars.
Autumn leaves fall and show the
cycle: stars flare and…

Themes: Autumn, secrets.

Title: Inbeda with the enemy.

Power makes relics.
Geary’s bath back-scrubber, his!
Inbeda smiles, dreams.

Themes: Magic, secrets.

In-game character: Hengist.


Title: “The Rift”

Maddening Vista
Dawn of Armageddon’s reign
You have done well, Chuck

Theme: Secrets

Title: “Gaki”

In darkness they lurk
Angry, HUNGRY, restless dead
Long for your nectar

Theme: Secrets

Submitted By: Syleah “corriander” Cavanaugh


Leaf Fall

Before the winter,
Red and yellow messages
Carried by the breeze

Theme: Autumm


Carrying two swords
The embodiment of death
The eldritch disease

Theme: Secret

Submitted by: Ainsworth “BlackSwordman” Blackthorn