56 HomeYamamoto and the Secret Admirers
Neal Stephenson 


The haiku is an epigrammatic 17-syllable verse from; traditionally associated with Japan it is becoming more popular in the West. Usually in the form of three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables, as seen in this example from the novel Cryptonomicon.

     Two tires fly, Two wail.
     A bamboo grove, all chopped down
     From it, warring songs.

The haiku form was popularised in the 17th century by the Japanese poet Basho. He was master of the haiku, which he infused with subtle allusiveness and made the accepted form of poetic expression in Japan. Samurai death poems were often haiku. Death poems were composed by samurai as an acceptance of their own mortality and were an attempt to describe their existence.

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