Haiku Hiatus

Haiku hiatus
Who makes rules, who enforces
One breath, trap door step.

I’ve been out on the internet, looking at haiku blogs, and found many haikus that don’t conform to the usual 5-7-5 syllable scheme, with seasonal images and a turn of some sort.   One blogger said a haiku is essentially an experience expressed in a single breath, that’s all.  No other rules.  While the Wikipedia definition does point out that the 5-7-5 scheme is part of traditional haiku, that refers to moras in Japanese, which aren’t the same as syllables in English.  The definition does include a seasonal reference, and some sort of turn to another image, or a “cutting word.”

Right now, none of that seems particularly relevant.  The fly trying to escape the coming winter is buzzing like mad at the sunny window in my study.  Very annoying, which fits my mood.  It’s been a packed week with too many late nights working and too much clutter in my head to stay focused on 17 syllables expressions, whether a single breath or not. 

Another trap door has opened up in my life.  I got the “trap door” reference from Forrest Church’s book Love and Death.  He talks about the sudden challenges and losses in life as trap doors — grave illness, the death of a loved one, those life events that make you take a sharp turn to the left, or right, or maybe not a turn at all but a fall through a gap in the floor.

Cancer had been marching closer for two weeks.  First, the partner of a friend at work was diagnosed with a plum sized tumor on her ovary.  Then another close friend’s husband was scheduled to start hormone treatment for his prostate cancer, a step they’d been putting off as long as possible due to the grim side effects.  Then my sister, a breast cancer survivor of 19 years was diagnosed with cancer on her spine.

Suddenly the floor in front of me is an open door and clunk!  I’m in the basement again.  Okay, I know the basement.  Get out the flashlight, stoop so I don’t hit my head on the rafters, wave my arms around in front of myself as I move so I don’t walk into cobwebs.  It’s cold and damp and dark down here and I’d much rather be in the living room, on the couch, next to the fire.  But I know there are stairs out of the basement, and I won’t be here forever.

Cancer sucks.

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