Thanks to a tweet by Colin Lachance, I found out about the U.S. site Supreme Court Haiku, where judgments of that court are rendered in seventeen syllables. Colin challenged Slaw to come up with mini-poems for our own high court opinions, and I’m picking up the glove here, with the hope that our readers will add to my effort.
Supreme Court Haiku follows the typical move of this Japanese form into English, as described in Wikipedia:
Haiku (俳句 haikai verse?) plural haiku, is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras (or on), in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables,] this is inaccurate as syllables and moras are not the same. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word). In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line and tend to take aspects of the natural world as their subject matter, while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku and may deal with any subject matter.
Here, then, are two haiku about the most recent SCC case, the first in the more prosaic or informational style used in the American site, the second a bit more impressionistic, an attempt to get the kigo and kireji in.
Withler v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 12
Death benefits shrink
For age-related reasons
All equal near death
Winter draws nearer
Fallen leaves become fewer
Yet you are naked
To further inspire you, here’s a haiku about slaw I came across on Twitter:
in fundament of slaw is
cabbage, yes cabbage
But cabbages have heads, so use yours to grasp the essence of a SCC judgment in the 5-7-5 syllable format, and help me take up Colin’s challenge.