On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
A HAIKU, as is familiarly known, is a Japanese poem of a particular length and structure. It consists of three lines, the first and last having five sound units, the middle having seven. Formally, these sound units are called ons in Japanese, corresponding to morae among English linguists and, loosely, syllables to the rest of us.
At its traditional best, a haiku’s 17 syllables, 5 + 7 + 5, contain a juxtaposition of two images with a kireji, or cutting word, between them. The kireji emphasizes this duality of thought or image.
Japanese haiku is high art. But my purpose here is to alert SimanaitisSays readers to a respectful variation: The Haiku Art of the Periodic Table, offered in the August 4, 2017, issue of Science magazine, published weekly by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
AAAS Science writer Mary Soon Lee collected 119 science-oriented haiku, one for each element in the periodic table, plus a hypothetical haiku for Element 119, not yet synthesized.
On a personal note, I’ve composed only a single haiku in my life, perhaps more properly termed haiku doggerel. The occasion was my first trip to Japan, the press introduction of the Mazda GLC in 1980 and, incidentally, I believe the first time American journalists were trusted to drive home-market cars on public roads. Hitherto, foreign press drives had been confined to test tracks only.
Here are several of my Elemental Haiku favorites.
Perhaps you’ll share your favorites. For an interactive periodic table displaying each bit of poetry, go to http://vis.sciencemag.org/chemhaiku. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017