A forum that I frequent had a haiku thread (related to a haiku contest) and someone posted the following in response to the 5-7-5 syllable rule:
actually, no they don’t. that was a device brought to the west by Blythe. Japanese haiku are written in one line of 17 onji and the breaks are implied in the language. Due to the difference between onji and syllables though a 17 onji poem is much much shorter than a 17 syllable poem. 17 syllable poems tend to be far to weighted, and in fact often need to be padded with extra words detracting form the brevity of the poem, and ones ability to use the best words to convey experience. haiku isn’t intended to be a math problem though, and the 17 onji wasn’t so much a rule as it was a natural rhythm in the language. even the great haiku masters pitched these patterns when it suited the poem. in the west few (if any) haiku societies adhere to patterened syllabic rules, and tend to focus on the skill demonstrated in the poems. in any of the popular ‘haiku’ books out there, few if any true haiku appear, which is determined by the use of seasonal cue words, and the juxtapositon of images within the poem. what appears in books like cat-ku, redneck-ku and haiku for jews, have a closer connection to senryu (a haiku-like poem that relates more to the human realm than natural connection) even that has specfic qualities that have these pieces fall outside their scope. one wouldn’t write any old thing and claim it to be a sestina.
My response was:
I just wrote this verse
Using the Western meaning
Of a haiku poem