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Most people are familiar with the structure of a traditional joke. Some sort of story is presented, followed by a humorous punch line that closes the narrative. Fewer people are familiar with haiku structure. Instead of a story a snapshot is created by the poet, followed by a contrasting image. This juxtaposition is called "kiru" (cutting) and is usually signaled (in Japanese) by a cutting word (kireji) at the end of one of the haiku's three lines; in English the effect is generally achieved by the phrase-image itself, usually the last line. Unlike the punchline of a joke, which closes the presentation, the kiru opens it to further possibilities. Perhaps the best known Japanese haiku is by Bashō (translated by Cyd Corman): old pond . . . frog leaping splash Or, this translation by Lucien Stryk:Old pondleap — splasha frog.
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