I am not an expert on Japanese poetry. I don’t read or speak the language, and I have not studied the history of the genre. I could not tell you the difference between a hokku, a haikai, a renga, or a waka. I do know a bit about haiku and haibun because I have tried my hand at writing these two forms in English. I enjoy reading translations of the most famous haiku writers: Basho, Issa, and Buson.
Why do I like these forms of poetry? It is simply that I like the clean brevity of these poems. Only a master of the written word can convey an entire scene in just 17 syllables or a paragraph of prose poetry. Haibun in general, and haiku in particular, capture moments of clarity, mundane actions of ordinary people, and subtle movements of animals and plants in their natural settings. They evoke, sometimes in just single words, the physical experience of entire seasons. These forms are like a Polaroid snapshots of time and space.
Even from unskilled brushes
They look elegant
The first day of the year:
thoughts come – and there is loneliness;
the autumn dusk is here.
Haiku and haibun are elegant, timeless, and completely human.
Here are some links if you care to learn a little more about these forms