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14 Hilarious Haikus

The Japanese literary art form known as haiku endeavors to capture the essence of its subjects in just a few lines. But the mandated brevity still manages to convey a lot of depth. And although these unrhyming poems are often solemn or contemplative, they can also be a vehicle for clever and surprising humor, dishing out cutting self-deprecation and lighthearted observations about the mundanities of everyday life.

Traditionally, haikus are structured as three lines: The first line contains five syllables, the second seven, and the third five again. The form isn’t technically set in stone, however, as poems from the genre’s most celebrated authors, such as Kobayashi Issa, often lose their structure in English translations. While Issa was known for his hauntingly stark musings on life and nature, he was also known to display a levity and wit that transcended the boundaries of the frequently stoic form.

Haiku, beyond its traditional constraints, thrives on nuance. From traditional authors  to modern comedians, these funny haikus make it look easy to express profound humor within roughly 17 syllables.

The technical brilliance of haikus

Haikus are easy. / But sometimes they don't make sense. / Refrigerator.
Anonymous

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Facing a new year

New Year’s Day — / Everything is in blossom! / I feel about average.
Kobayashi Issa

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Trying to say less

To freeze the moment / In seventeen syllables / Is very diffic
John Cooper Clarke

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Is there an echo in here?

I’ve said it before / And I will say it again. / I’ve said it before.
Ariel Elias

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Living in the present

The future is now. / No, now. No, wait, now. No now. / Time to reminisce.
Paul Lander

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Is that Groucho Marx?

Thought I saw Groucho. / Moustache, glasses, funny walk. / Close, but no cigar.
Elayne Boosler

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Aches and pains

Doctors always say / Just listen to your body. / Mine screams constantly.
Colin Mochrie

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Home life

Just tidying up / Before the cleaning lady / Who is also me.
Peyton Price

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The perfect ending

To end this poem, / I need one more magic line: / Abracadabra!
Kate Miller-Wilson

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Door tutorial

When life shuts a door / Just open it. It's a door. / That is how doors work.
Anonymous

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Listening in

I’m a member of / Eavesdroppers Anonymous. / Not that they know yet.
Milton Jones

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From the dog

I do not believe / That your fixation with my / Playing dead is fine.
Jamie Coleman

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Stumped

There’s nothing sadder / Than writing a haiku and / Getting writer’s block.
Ayo Edebiri

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Ode to New York City

The full moon rises / A city sleeps peacefully / Rats rats rats rats rats.
Aubrey Plaza

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Featured image credit: hisa nishiya/ Shutterstock

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About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
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