After so much writing about propaganda and myths and lies and deception, it’s nice to be able to pause and focus on something positive for a change. And so I’d like to take a moment to heartily recommend (pardon the split infinitive, ye high school English teachers) CheeseFlap’s Haiku site.
I became aware of CheeseFlap when he or she (I have no idea who CheeseFlap is) left some comments on this blog – and I later realized that each of these comments, like each post on CheeseFlap’s own blog, is a haiku!
As you may know, a haiku is a type of pithy poem invented centuries ago in Japan, a 3 line verse containing 5 syllables, 7 syllables and 5 syllables respectively.
For example, here’s my own mnemonic haiku about haiku:
First, five syllables
Second, seven syllables
Third, five syllables
(I didn’t promise it would be a good poem.)
Traditional haiku were nature poems; and while they sometimes hinted at philosophical truths or emotional experiences (and hint is about all you can do in such a short space), they always featured references to one of the seasons. But in contemporary usage, the form has been used to cover all kinds of topics, and it’s as often light verse as Poetry with a capital P.
CheeseFlap’s haiku are sometimes philosophical musings, but generally deal with contemporary events, cultural commentary, and even propaganda. Sometimes they are light and humorous, and sometimes they are concentrated and insightful, and sometimes they feature sheer poetic brilliance.
In contemporary society, the media compete for an ever-shrinking attention span, and this provides a golden opportunity for hucksters to sway public opinion by providing brief soundbites that tell people how to think, no facts required. It’s refreshing to be reminded that wisdom can also come in compact doses: in this case, a mere 17 syllables.
If that’s too long for your attention span, you really need medication.