Tick tock, it’s haiku o’clock!*

A reception area/waiting room with a walled in office space behind windows and beige chairs arranged in a row outside it. The ceiling has polystyrene tiles and there is artificial lighting.
Photo by R O on Unsplash

It’s been a while, but here I am again, asking for your heart-themed haiku for issue 7 of the collaborative zine. The theme of this issue is “Medical Spaces and Places,” and I’m looking for your thoughts on any medical location. That might be a hospital ward or waiting room, your GP surgery, your local pharmacy, an operating theatre, the cath lab, the hospital car park, the inside of an MRI scanner, or the back of an ambulance… Maybe you receive medical treatment at home and consider that a medical space at times? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts about that too!

You might find it helpful to think about your senses. How does the medical space look, sound, feel or smell? How do you feel as soon as you enter it? Is the space familiar to you by now or is it new? Do you feel comforted, lonely, relaxed or intimidated? Do you dwell on the past or think of the future? Do you feel like you belong there? Wherever that medical space is and however it makes you feel, we want to hear about it.

[If this is a topic that interests you, you might like to read more about the Sensing Spaces of Healthcare project. You can find them as @hospital_senses on Twitter.]

A man wearing a white coat and a blue surgical glove presses a button on the outside of a machine with a small tunnel/circular opening. Just visible in front of the opening is a sliding bed with a roll of white paper laid on its surface.
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

What is a haiku?

A quick reminder… A haiku is a very short poem of 17 syllables arranged in three lines – 5 syllables in line one, 7 in line two, 5 in line 3. For our purposes, that is all you need to know. The haiku police will not be checking and I firmly believe that anyone can write a haiku.

What is a syllable?

In the past, I’ve had people get in touch to say they find identifying the number of syllables in a word tricky. I have two things to say on this:

1: I do not mind if your “haiku” has the “wrong” number of syllables entirely, or even if you make no attempt to adhere to syllable count or three lines or whatever. You’ll notice previous editions of the zine feature contributions that are not haiku. If you respond creatively to the monthly prompt, I will be delighted to read it and consider it for inclusion in the zine, haiku or not.

2: If, however, you do want to have the “right” number of syllables, there are some handy techniques to help. This video is aimed at children, but has four very useful and easy ways to make breaking words down into syllables super simple. My favourite is to talk like a robot – you will naturally break words down into syllable sections by doing so 🙂

How to take part

Simply leave your haiku (or other creative contribution) in the comments on this post. Unless you state otherwise, I’ll presume you are happy for it to be included in the free zine. Previous issues are available to view/download here. I’ll credit you in the zine with the name you use to leave your comment – a pseudonym (or first name only) is absolutely fine if that’s what you’d prefer. I’ll aim to put the zine together towards the end of this month and will share here and on social media when it becomes available.

One last (but important) point: please don’t name or otherwise identify specific medical locations/staff in your writing. I want to know how you feel about your GP surgery, not which GP surgery you attend!

A long corridor in shades of grey, white and pale blue. There is artificial lighting which reflects off the polished linoleum floors, and in the foreground fire doors are propped open. There is an emergency exit sign illuminated and pointing to the left.
Photo by Cory Mogk on Unsplash

I’m so looking forward to seeing your contributions on this topic and am really excited to be back in the haiku realm with you all. I’ll share a contribution (or two) of my own in the comments at a later date. Happy haikuing!

* Somebody (me) may have enjoyed too much Mike Wozniak on Taskmaster recently…


  1. Right, here are a couple to start:

    Discharge lounge, they said.
    Does that mean I’m going home?
    Or blowing my nose?

    Car Park Full, oh dear.
    Hubby drops me at the gates.
    See the Doc alone…

    (Mike Wozniak was brilliant in TM 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • You don’t have to love Mike Wozniak to write haiku…but it helps?! Ha! Thanks so much for getting the ball rolling with these, Ali. I will never see a discharge lounge in the same way again. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Robbie 🙂 I just need to sit in a waiting room chair (the sensation of air seeping from the seams of that plastic-covered material) to start getting the jitters. I feel like the distance that’s needed between chairs at the moment, and the stacks of unused furniture, really add to the tension of waiting rooms…though I’m glad there is that distance obviously!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You guys are brilliant – so many great responses already 🙂 I was going to hold off on writing any of my own haiku on the topic until later in the month, but found myself inspired this morning by all the haiku you’ve posted. Here are a few of mine. Can you tell which medical settings I’m describing?

    Plastic-covered seats
    sigh in solidarity
    with waiting patients.

    School-dinner smells waft
    through echoed conversations
    at cloth-streaked tables.

    Elderly patients
    assume the youngster is there
    for moral support.

    Turn onto your side.
    Sorry, I just need to move…
    your breast. I’m sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

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