A haiku or two: Fears

A glowing pumpkin lantern carved with a face sits on the grass
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

In honour of it being October, a month of ghosts and ghouls and all things scary, this month’s haiku theme is “Fears”. Is there anything about your heart condition that scares you? Or maybe living with a heart condition has made you less scared of something? Are your fears for yourself or for your loved ones…or both? Perhaps it’s potential future treatments that frighten you, or the lack of them? Maybe you’re scared of dying, or of being kept alive? Maybe you worry about not being able to do everything you want to or you worry about your financial security? Perhaps appointments fill you with dread? Maybe you’re really scared of needles and you need to go for your flu jab! Whatever your fears, let us know about them in a haiku (or other) form in the comments. I’ll do my best to have the monthly zine ready to download in time for Halloween. 🎃

I realise this could be a sensitive topic for some and you may prefer to contribute anonymously. Remember, you don’t have to comment under your real name – a pseudonym is fine and I’ll use whatever name you leave with your comment when I make up the finished zine. Also, feel free to interpret the prompt any way you like and to reveal as much or as little as you choose – would be great to see some tongue-in-cheek responses to the topic alongside more serious contributions.

The usual reminder: a haiku is a three-line poem with 17 syllables, arranged so there are 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third. But, as ever, we are not the haiku police and nobody will be penalised for having the “wrong” number of syllables. ALL creative contributions are welcome and will be received so gratefully!

I haven’t got any examples of my own haiku this month, but I’ll try to come up with one or two over the coming weeks and will post them in the comments if I do. Happy (or haunted?!) haikuing!


    • David! Nailed it again with both of these – thank you so much!

      I’m a lot less scared of dying than I used to be too. I actually started writing about this in the blog post but deleted as I didn’t want to steer anyone too much towards that one idea. I think the experience of a general anaesthetic (my first and so far only) around the time I was diagnosed made me less afraid of BEING dead, then years of expecting to die and having to face up to that was really hard to go through at the time (still is sometimes) but it’s almost like I was forced to deal with it and get to a stage where I was kind of all right with the concept and could put it to one side? And that’s nice. Kind of?! Mind you, that fear of death has now been replaced by a fear of worsening illness to some degree, but then I am not the type not to be worrying about SOMETHING! 🙂

      So sorry to hear you received your first shock in the shower. Feeling safe in the bath or shower is quite a task post-ICD insertion (or post heart event too, I expect) and I remember being really anxious in that situation. My mum was staying with me after I got my ICD and would tell me not to lock the bathroom door and I would make her promise not to come in unless she was absolutely certain it was a medical emergency and I’d shower with one eye on the door, ready to grab my towel if anyone barged in. Ah, those were the days…? It’s such a vulnerable situation to be in, but one we are all in very often. Perfect little part of real life to be captured in haiku.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The first (and second – 2 puffs) time I used my GTN spray, I hit the deck when I was in the bathroom. My husband heard the thud, but couldn’t get in as the door was locked. Fortunately, I was only unconscious for about 15-20 seconds, and was then able to unlock it. Neither of us lock the door now!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Our bathroom lock is easy to pick from the outside, which you might argue defeats the purpose! It means people can’t barge in entirely unannounced but can get in when necessary. So far we’ve only had to pick the lock when my drunk sister-in-law went to sleep in the empty bath and when my daughter’s friends refuse to leave at the end of a playdate – happy reasons 🙂 Hopefully it stays that way.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Ali. Hearts can be stressful when they make their presence known, and when they don’t! I don’t enjoy the responsibility of having to look out for subtle changes in symptoms – can make you worry about every little thing. Would be nice to be able to have faith in my heart just to do what it’s meant to. Do you find yourself looking for signs that something could be going wrong?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing these, Wendy! I suspect many people will relate to the feeling of lying awake at night, observing the actions of our hearts. It’s hard to be calm or think about something else when you can FEEL your heart doing something, which is always obvious in the quiet stillness of a sleepless night.


      • Ah, the two sides of defibrillators – protecting and threatening at the same time. I really think there’s scope along these lines for an amazing horror film/novel about cardiac devices. Wouldn’t be THAT much work to transform a haiku into a novel, Ali 😉 I’d read it!


    • I’m sure this feeling will be familiar to anyone who’s signed a consent form for surgery. A 1% chance suddenly seems far too likely in that situation 😦


      • Laura – indeed. I had been thinking of asking my surgeon what his success rate was but when he said there was a 1/100 chance of death, I decided not to ask … just in case his answer was 99! David

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I promised “one or two” haiku on the subject of fears…but turns out I’m scared of lots of things! Here are my contributions to this month’s haiku collection:

    The term “progressive” –
    Threatening steady decline
    To a certain end.

    Breathlessness scares me
    And being scared steals my breath.
    A downward spiral?

    I do fear dying
    Though I don’t fear being dead –
    The painful decline.

    That my death will come
    Just when she needs me the most…
    Whenever that is?!

    I can’t move away
    From doctors I have faith in –
    Fear holds me in place.

    The final (?) goodbyes
    Pre heart-op anaesthetic –
    Adieu/Au revoir?

    Doctor’s appointment –
    Moment of discovery,
    There’s no going back.

    While looking online
    For simple information,
    Google tolls death knell.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, NEVER consult Dr Google about heart failure! Google will unduly terrify you with out-of-date information and worst-case scenarios. Ask someone who knows, e.g. the BHF Heart Helpline – https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-helpline


    • I love this, David! What a great way to play with idea of being scarred “for life”! Maybe we should have a haiku zine on the theme of surgery and scars? I’ll save this one for that issue 🙂


        • Yes, by all means. I thought of the appropriateness of the phrase a while ago and your Haiku forum provided the opportunity to come up with something (I’m still thinking of putting together a little poem with Scarred for Life as the title). Having come up with it, I posted it straight away and realised only then that it’s not related to the theme!


          • You should never let the theme hold you back and I’m grateful that this has given us a possible theme for a future issue 🙂 Would love to read your poem when you do write it!


    • Or how about this variation?

      My petrified heart
      Thickens the air to liquid –
      I drown on dry land.

      “Petrified heart” seems an apt turn of phrase as I have a scar on my heart (a mysterious scar, appropriately enough) that stops it being as flexible as it should be.


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