When a magpie lands
in the branches the birds fall
(Juli Zeh, in Dark Matter)
They say Japanese readers are so familiar with the structures and rhythms of haiku that they recognise one immediately.
Today, I read the sentence about the magpie …
No, there aren’t 17 syllables; there are five in the first line and seven in the second. The silence in the third line is perfect.
Wikipedia has a worthwhile article on Haiku in English.
Zeh, Juli. 2010. [Copyright © Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung GmBH 2007. English translation copyright © Christine Lo 2010.] Dark matter. London: Harville Secker [p217]