For those of you unfamiliar with the Japanese poetic form known as haiku, I’d like to take a moment to tell you a bit about it. The haiku is a short poem of a standard number of lines (three) and syllables (seventeen). Essentially, it is the Japanese equivalent of the limerick. As is so often the case, the Japanese have taken a Western invention, but made it smaller, cheaper, and more efficient. Have you seen those new camcorders? They fit in the palm of your hand, weigh nothing, and are quite affordable. Simply amazing.
Japan is a small, island nation and 85% of its terrain is mountainous and essentially uninhabitable. That is why it is necessary that their poetry be compact. There simply isn’t room for “The Song of Hiawatha” or other such epics. It’s sort of like how I won’t let James Michener novels into my apartment, only in Japan it’s on a national scale. Michener has always sold very poorly there, and it’s no wonder. Perhaps were he to reduce his thousand page “Centennial” to a haiku, he might make some inroads. But that’s not very likely to happen now because James Michener has gone to that New York Times Bestseller List in the sky, rest his soul.
Yes, Michener is dead, but haiku lives on. And here are some examples, from my very own bamboo pen dipped in squid ink.

On Joy
Dance across rooftops!
Laughing, springing, unafraid
of falling off the

On Destiny
The wheel of life keeps
on turning, eventual
ly crushing us all.

On Love
Palindrome of life,
you solve all of my problems!
Oh, regal lager!

This is Just to Say…
I ate your damn plums,
okay? Just get over it!
Goddamn, I hate you.