What is that Kerouac haiku about a turtle floating on a log? Something like this, though I don't remember it perfectly:
turtle floating downstream
on a log—
I think this captures Kerouac's essence of the little satori of haiku. In those two words 'looking up' at the end the scene suddenly opens up and we get this glimpse of the serious wild heart of a turtle, its earnestness, our projected anthropomorphic pride and strength, its survival, its pragmatism and realism, its serious up-arching of the neck 'wondering' WTF is going on with this new transport...
It's comical in the sense that all creatures are comical in their necessary self-seriousness, and it conveys both the comedy and the quite wonderful tenderness of this scene with utter concision and brilliance. I am in that moment suddenly, and my heart pours out to it just because of the sheer innocence he conveys. And this is the thing... if you can focus the energy of words like that in haiku, then you create a little nexus through which people can drift into other realities. I am there floating and laughing and crying in turtle world, and somehow knowing something I didn't quite know before. It's worth a lot of struggle, this haiku stuff, just to hit one moment like that.
Apologies if I misremembered it. It was something pretty close.
Edit: Oh, now I just looked it up... It's actually this:
A turtle sailing along
on a log,
So I remembered it pretty badly, but in fact it makes the point far better in the original version than in my half-assed remembrance. Interesting use of punctuation and capitals there too, to solve some obvious haiku issues about pacing and spacing.
Anyway, I still think that that tiny line, 'Head up', in context, is one of the most moving and memorable and profound lines I've ever read in haiku, or maybe any other poetry for that matter. Haiku is like Sinatra's New York, I think. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere... Most of us can't make it. It's the three line pressure cooker.