A haiku or two: Friends & Family

Two adult people's hands hold one another in a handshake-type grip. The photo is cropped at the wrists and has a plain pale yellow background.
Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

The whole Twitter poll thing is not exactly working out, with this month’s result being a three-way tie. Ha! Fortunately, the casting of one unofficial vote from someone not on Twitter acted as the decider and this month’s Heart Haiku zine theme is…

Friends & Family!

Feel free to interpret this prompt in any way you like – write a haiku (or two) about just friends, just family, or both. Maybe you would like to write about how friends and/or family impact on your experience of living with a heart condition, or you might like to flip that around and write about how your living with a heart condition impacts on your relationships with friends and/or relations. Do friends help or hinder in a way that family doesn’t, or vice versa? Are you open with friends and family or do you prefer to keep your health issues to yourself? Do you do that to protect them or to protect yourself…or for some other reason altogether? Maybe your nearest and dearest provide emotional support, practical help, distraction techniques, (mis)understanding…? What constitutes “family” (or “friend”) to you? Do you communicate through face-to-face chats, WhatsApp conversations, via online support forums, or not at all? However friends and/or family interact with and impact upon your experience of living with a heart condition, we want to hear about it!

Never written before? Don’t worry! Can’t spell? Don’t worry! You’re a professional poet? Don’t worry! Whether you take a month or a minute to write your haiku, I will be glad to receive it and the insight it gives into your unique experience.

I have quite a lot to say on this topic myself (it strikes me as a very important aspect of living with a long-term illness) but I’ll save my syllables for later and post them in the comments, in an attempt not to sway the sort of things you guys come up with. And, no promises, but I will TRY to do a few blog posts related to the theme of Friends & Family throughout the month of August.


THE FINE PRINT

A haiku has 17 syllables in all: 5 in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the third. For our purposes, that’s really all you need to know – just don’t tell the haiku police I said so! Some contributors have said they find identifying the number of syllables in a word tricky. 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. A bit more detail about writing haiku, should you need it, is available in this previous post.

All contributions left as comments on this post will be considered for inclusion in issue 9 of the zine, which will be made available for free download via the Creative Resources page. As ever, please be mindful of protecting your own (and others’) identity in what you write. No slander, please! 😅 In the zine, I’ll attribute the haiku I publish to whatever name you use when you leave your comment. A pseudonym is fine if that’s what you’d prefer.


So looking forward to reading what you all come up with!

20 comments

  1. Husband’s shoulder’s wet.
    I can’t stop crying, you see.
    So pleased he’s with me

    Here in CCU
    The days go by so slowly.
    But good friends visit.

    More to come…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] This month the blog has a focus on all things Friends & Family, tying in with the theme of the zine. I love the way the patient founders of IHSA, from across the globe, have come together via the common ground of their heart conditions, forging friendship and creativity as well as a place to find support and information online. Have you made new friends because of a shared heart condition? What are your thoughts on online friends? If you fancy sharing your thoughts on this (or any other) aspect of Friends & Family, perhaps you would consider contributing a haiku to this month’s zine? Full details available here. […]

    Like

  3. I’ve already written quite a few haiku from the perspective of being a parent with a heart condition (will dig them out later) but here’s one from the perspective of being an adult daughter with parents who still support her more than she is able to support them.

    Being well brought-up,
    I imagined I’d, one day,
    return the favour.

    Like

    • Here are a couple I’ve written about two very different heart-based conversations I’ve had with friends over the years:

      “Exhausted, breathless…”
      “Well, we ALL get tired,” butts in
      friend, missing the point.

      Phoned my friend in tears –
      She ditched work so I could say
      “Transplant,” face-to-face.

      On the whole my friends are a great source of support, including the friend featured in the first haiku, who once asked me to describe my symptoms before interrupting and dismissing them entirely. While this response smarted (hence writing a haiku about it years later – ha!) nobody can say the right thing every time and I’ll more often think about all the times she ran errands for me or gave me a lift or made me a cup of tea and told me what a great job I was doing as a mum. The smallest gestures and comments from friends and family can make a huge difference, for better or worse.

      Like

      • My friend sent me this one in response. Posting it here so they’re all together. She’s a keeper! 🙂

        Friend phoned me in tears –
        Her heart is broken but it’s
        the best heart I know.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. […] and think a friend or relation might like to write a haiku on the topic, please refer them to this post before the month is out. A rare opportunity for those with fully functional hearts to appear in the […]

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  5. […] This month the blog has a focus on all things Friends & Family, tying in with the theme of the zine. I thought The Wild Way Home represented a supportive family unit in a child-friendly but not overly sanitised way, acknowledging that often there’s a lot of rough along with the smooth. How have your family responded to your heart condition? Do you face difficult conversations head on, or are you more likely to protect one another from the truth? If you have a sibling, is your relationship with them (in light of your heart condition) unique in some way? If you fancy sharing your thoughts on this or any other aspect of Friends & Family, perhaps you would consider contributing a haiku to this month’s zine? Full details available here. […]

    Like

  6. Ahead of tomorrow’s post about pregnancy and [early] motherhood with heart failure, here are a few of the haiku I’ve written on the topic… Yes, I write about this one a lot!

    My relationship
    with my child is difficult –
    my heart got broken.

    Faint heart never won
    fair maiden, or so they say.
    My faint heart won you.

    Risk versus reward.
    How a decision is reached
    is anyone’s guess.

    I had to agree
    a mother meant more to you
    than a sibling would.

    I claim you saved me
    But you’ll be the death of me.
    Daughter, I keep mum.

    Still in bed, awake.
    The day starts when I get up.
    I’m not up for that.

    “Mum! Play! I promise
    I will hug you afterwards?
    I’ll leave you alone?”

    Oh, the things I’d do –
    Follow a thought to its end
    And miss my daughter.

    Just the two of us
    Separated on day one.
    Unfinished haiku.

    Throwing and catching
    A piggy in the middle
    Breathless games of life

    “Mum,” she says, “Mum, look!”
    I look, am always looking –
    Captive audience.

    Her dreaming fingers
    Twitch at the nape of my neck –
    Bridging our two worlds.

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

    My “magic machine”
    Makes my heart go boom-boom and
    Not wibble-wobble.

    These are all from the haiku vaults, none written especially for this topic. That last one is about my CRT-D device, which my daughter calls my “magic machine”. She was less than two when I got it and this is how I explained it to her once she was old enough to ask questions. It’s only fairly recently (aged nine) that she’s started to ask anything more specific or technical about it, revealing that my own understanding of the device does not actually go too far beyond the “boom-boom” versus “wibble-wobble” explanation!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] This month the blog has a focus on all things Friends & Family, tying in with the theme of the zine. Being a parent to a young child/children while living with a heart condition comes with a unique set of physical and emotional challenges. I’m certain and sad that there are vital stories about these experiences going untold. If you fancy sharing your thoughts on being a parent with a heart condition, or any other aspect of Friends & Family, perhaps you would consider contributing a haiku to this month’s zine? Full details available here. […]

    Like

  8. […] This month the blog has a focus on all things Friends & Family, tying in with the theme of the zine. Do neighbours count as friends, or even family, to you? What difference do your neighbours make to you and your heart condition? If you fancy sharing your thoughts on this or any other aspect of Friends & Family, perhaps you would consider contributing a haiku to this month’s zine? Full details available here. […]

    Like

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