The Problem of Pain


It’s always been problematic for haiku poets to tackle the topic of pain. It’s often considered too personal, too subjective to translate well into a genre known for its static observations of nature. I would argue, however, that pain and suffering are as inseparable from nature as joy and beauty, and that as long as the poet avoids pitfalls like “telling instead of showing”, there are plenty of opportunities for poignant observation that should resonate well with an audience.

I for one like to lead the reader into the periphery — staying out of the examination room and instead remaining in the waiting room.

waiting room —
all the crossword puzzles
filled in

I’m of the opinion that one should tell the reader as little as possible, describing one or more of the attributes of a chronic pain condition, and not offering an explanation but rather a simple observation.

sunrise —
a deep breath
before tying my shoes

And while I don’t like using the word “pain” in a haiku, there are always exceptions:

new moon —
I ask
about pain meds

I feel better already.

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