Haiku are seventeen syllable poems with the following structure:
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables
The lines are separate, each contains a new thought - a haiku describes one moment of time and its natural subject matter is the natural world.
Haiku are generally visual, and leave the reader with a picture.
Famous Japanese poets who wrote Haiku are Basho, Issa and Busson.
As the form has evolved, many of its regular traits—including its famous syllabic pattern—have been routinely broken.
However, the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colourful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment.