Haiku is a form of poetry popular in Japan, which is becoming more widely appreciated around the world in this century. Haiku writers are challenged to convey a vivid impression in only 17 Japanese characters.

One of the greatest exponents of this form was Basho (1644-94)

Four Haiku by Basho

Ancient pond
Frog leaps

Waterjar cracks -
I lie awake
This icy night.

Lightening -
Heron's cry
Stabs the darkness

Sick on a journey -
Over parched fields
Dreams wander on.

In Japan these poems are valued for:

People have tried to translate the Haiku into an English form:
  1. Using no more than 17 syllables.
  2. Arranging these in lines of 5-7-5 syllables
  3. Avoiding similes and metaphors
  4. Retaining Japanese values

Anyone interested in learning more about Haiku should look up the great writers like Basho, Issa and Buson, and keep an eye open for modern writers in English, too. Keep in mind that "More than inspiration, it needs meditation, effort and mainly perception to compose a real Haiku".

There are plenty of sites on the Internet reflecting the growing interest in this form.