Should Japanese haiku poetry become the new language of diplomacy?
European Union President Herman Van Rompuy probably wouldn’t mind if it did.
The avid composer of traditional Japanese mini-poems greeted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Brussels on Wednesday with a cryptic 17-syllable verse, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Once come May spring ushers in life everywhere; Laughing blossoms,” said Van Rompuy, who has been composing haiku poems for years and has even published a collection of his work.
As is so often the case with diplomatic speak, we’ve got no idea what it really means.
Is there a deeper political message within the three lines of verse?
After all, the two leaders were meeting against a backdrop of growing tensions in Ukraine and negotiations on a free trade agreement.
Whatever the significance of the five-seven-five syllable structure, Abe seemed to get it and he immediately responded in kind.
“Lovely spring evening; How deeply do I appreciate the hospitality at an old castle,” the Japanese leader said through an interpreter.
Abe was clearly referring to a dinner on Tuesday hosted by Van Rompuy at an ancient chateau.
Or was he?