The Japanese Haiku is a poem of seventeen syllables, formed in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables each. It originated in the Tanka poems of the 9th Century, and evolved over time, perhaps reaching its peak in the work of Basho in the 17th century. Today, it still retains a Buddhist spirituality, attempting to capture in few words, the soul of the subject frozen in one moment.
I feel language is like that: an expression of the soul compressed into syllables and words. And the person with aphasia, experiencing a paucity of words, is almost a living Haiku.
About a year ago, I began to write Aphasia Haiku, publishing them from time to time on my Twitter account. Roberta Elman encouraged me to save them, and I have tried to do so.
Syllable, to word, to soul: I offer a few to you.
You are standing there/grab hold of the rope tightly/We will not let go.
Smiling in the dark/now in dreams I almost hear/my own voice speaking.
I wish I knew how/to find that elusive place/where language breathes soft.
Seated at the head/the table full of family/waits for me to speak.
The past sits quiet/behind my eyes where thoughts are/the future is blind.