Supreme Court of Canada Opinion Haiku

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:

Fundamental flaw
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.


  1. R. v. Gomboc:

    Grow ops are threatened
    now that cops can measure their

    (grow ops by their nature have no season…)

  2. Now would be a good time to mention the (American) site, Law School Haiku.
    It seems the authors had trouble continuing past 1L though.

  3. Thanks to Simon and John for taking up my challenge.

    I’m a little late to the party, but here is my contribution:

    B.C.G.E.U. v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 1998 CanLII 3 (S.C.C.)

    on the courthouse steps

    unimpeded access right

    trumps right to picket