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:

Duragesic patch
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.

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