My friend Bob the Poet told me about it. A terse verse tercet. Seems related to the Japanese Haiku, but apparently originates from the Philippines. I’ve found an obscure website about it: http://www.baymoon.com, which says the following:
In a traditional Hay(na)ku, there are:
- 3 lines.
- A total of 6 words: 1 in the first line, 2 in the second line, and 3 in the third line.
- There is no restriction on syllables or stressed or rhymes.
Variations include a ‘reverse’ haynaku where the longest line (3 words) is placed at the beginning and the shortest (1 word) at the end of the poem which still has only 6 words in all.
Here is mine this morning (OK, I cheated, ditched an article, used a hyphen, and made the lines look inconsistent):
Dead or alive?
I can still see my friend A standing in the door of N’s office, tugging at her abaya and singing “I want to break free”. She did, although it was years before “free” re-entered her dictionary. Now she looks radiant and has a purpose in life. She says it takes her a long time to make a decision, she is slow in weighing out her options and choosing the best one. But once she’s chosen, she goes with it and takes it to its conclusion. Today she showed me a video a friend sent her from Iraq of a glorious sunrise on a farm full of palm trees and chirping, trilling birds. No sound of bombs. Only beauty and freedom. No need for decisions, just breathe in the dawn.
My decisions, if rash, can be like exploding bombs, leaving rubble and devastation, scorched grass, broken glass, injured parties. They are marginally better when I don’t make them immediately, but sleep on them after drinking suitable quantities of thought-inspiring beverages. There is a lot to be said for hangover as a source of insight and serenity.
In general, I think, my decision-making skills are mediocre at best. Therefore I have made a decision not to make decisions. “Don’t rock the boat”, a good friend told me last night. Let the sleeping dogs lie. No decisions. Let it be. I’m feeling decisively mellow having made that decision.
The young ones sleep well
They fall into sleep and sleep in a shell
Still unafraid of the fading light
They dream dreams softly with their young dreaming might
Dreams of mountains un-climbed and oceans un-crossed
Of apples un-eaten and dice still un-tossed
Of lights un-lit and dresses un-made
Sleeping while dreams begin to fade
Not seeing light turn into shade
We envy the young the soundness of sleep
We envy the dreams, the light, and the lightness
We watch them and whisper and even weep
To see encroaching, impending slightness
To see ourselves not long ago
To hear our elders say ‘told you so’
I tried to explain the power of words to my students the other day. Words, I said, have power in and of themselves (paraphrasing a great writer of course), they create our reality – it does not exist in and of itself, but only through words. They sat in dead silence, but one was less dead than the others. I think her reality came into being at that point.
On a seemingly unrelated topic, I must state here for the record that sometimes one needs a lifebelt to swim to the shore when one is “not waving but drowning”. And sometimes words fail me. That’s when I go back to black and spend money on new clothes. Anyway, my friend Adina is coming over for pre-party drinks shortly. We’ll talk.
“A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things.”
― N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
Not everyone likes Baroque music, but this well-known and maybe slightly overplayed piece is simply stunning, especially in its original version. It made my day as I listened to it in the car one morning, driving slowly in the fast lane on the way to work.
I feel uneasy, or even disturbed, at the thought of marrying education with business. The changing ethos of the educational environment simply means a more business-like approach to teaching and learning. The new organisational discourse employs terminology from the field of corporate management, not education. For example, what does the phrase “meeting expected productivity standards” mean in the context of a classroom? Or, “achieving objectives by setting challenging quantitative and qualitative goals”? Such lexical developments could lead to significant changes in the overall ideology of an educational organisation. They are also potentially contradictory to the spirit and mission of any self-respecting educational institution.
There are other developments, too, including installation of bio-metric attendance monitoring, i.e. dumb thumb-printing to clock in and out of work, just as it is done in factories. What differentiates teachers from factory workers? What’s the difference between a classroom and an assembly line? Not much? Woe to the world if that’s the case… Now, I’m going to re-heat the old brick in the wall. Has it always been like this?