Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

Haiku None Will Hear

Haiku none will hear
The rest is silence

Yes, I am aware that the five-seven-five form we were all taught in elementary school has next to nothing to do with real Haiku. But Japanese Haiku is one of the great literatures of all time, and is wholly undiminished by having given rise to a minor English doggerel.

One day many years ago, my housemates and I were shooting the breeze about lord knows what when Lynnette remarked (apropos of I don't remember what) "Oh, I can't stand Haiku." At which another housemate, Mark's, eyes met mine across the room.

Mark: She can't stand Haiku
Alex: Oh, whatever shall we do?
Mark: Save cry forth, "boo-hoo"?

Mark and I had entire conversations in five-seven-five over the ensuing months. Lynette somehow failed to kill us.

What brought today's little bout of versification on was a friend's facebook post that used the word preapocalyptica, and another's comment to the effect that the word was easier to type than say. Which made me subvocalize it, which I had not initially done. And, finding it rather sonorous in my head, said it aloud. And noticed it was seven syllables. And then how could I resist?

It's interesting to me, if possibly no-one else, that I didn't subvocalize the word on first reading. I made a conscious decision some years ago to try to break my life-long habit of subvocalizing: My reading speed has always been something of a source of embarrassment, as all my brilliant friends would zip through material at three or four times my speed. I told myself for years that subvocalizing gave me an appreciation of a writer's poetry, as well as improving my comprehension and retention. But, especially when reading technical material or scanning logs, it began to rankle.

Of course, trying to unlearn a mental habit is like trying not to imagine a pink elephant. Knowing that, instead of telling myself don't subvocalize!, I tried to develop the habit of skimming. I don't recall the last time I gave the matter any conscious thought until about an hour ago, when I was surprised to find myself having to deliberately subvocalize preapocalyptica in order to make sense of Ron's comment. This is by far the most solid evidence that I have in fact succeeded in changing my reading habits.

I should, of course, take a reading-speed test to find out. But for right now I'll hold off on that, and use it as a means to further my resolution to post more often.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that I intend to post more often?

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