The official requirement that an English haiku have the 5-7-5 syllables does not quite make it a haiku.
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We don’t speak Japanese, the ideal medium for haikus, for transmitting the ideograms, ideas and Japanese cultural metaphors.
We don’t have cultural metaphors that are short enough to have either 5 or 7 syllables and at the same time artistic. (“ Pop goes the weasel” “Annie get your gun” –maybe?)
Though I’ve been working on the concept of Neohaiku, it still suffers from wordiness. But it might grasp the sense of haiku formula –not the syllable formula—the three object structure. That means that the haiku should have a set up, an attribution and a delivery.
From the Haiku clinic (http://www.poetrylives.com/SimplyHaiku/SHv2n3/haikuclinic/haikuclinic.html)--
A Riddle type, free of the syllable formula:
shadows the tips
of bat wings
An Emotion type, also free of the formula:
last semester's papers
scattered on the bricks.
I think had these haikus been massaged into the 5-7-5 syllable formula, the flavor of the situation would have fizzed out.
To check with translations of the haiku masters (of the 17 century), like Bosho:
I lie awake
This icy night.
Stabs the darkness
Sick on a journey:
Over parched fields
Dreams wander on.
Again, no formula, only the 3 object structure in English. In Japanese they would still use the 17 character format, a visually pleasing arrangement of their ideograms. Which must be Katakana and Hiragana.
Does anyone know if Kanji, being whole-word ideograms, are ever used in Haiku?
Then I come back to the HUP: why use the syllable formula in English?