A few months ago, I joined a chronic pain management group. At this week’s session, discussions about anxiety and panic attacks were mercifully followed by an activity with a more creative bent.
The psychologist / facilitator introduced group members to the traditional Japanese form of poetry called Haiku. This short-form, three-line literary genre restricts the author to the following structure: 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the next, completed in the last line by 5 syllables. Some reference is usually made to a season or to nature generally.
A number of haiku examples were written on a whiteboard for all to see. Unsurprisingly, pain was a common theme. The one that resonated with me most, perhaps because of its vivid imagery and reference to my own personal experience, was this gem:
In a bleak pain-filled meadow
Where is my garden?
We were then invited to compose our own poems, limiting ourselves, if possible, to the rules of haiku. I wrote the following ditty:
Will the waves recede
leaving sea shells on the sand?
Grill me an eel, please!
Amen to the distractions and transcendent effects of the written word.