Cancer Haiku

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that usually is about nature themes. It’s written in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. I find it a beautiful way to create images and stir feelings. Writing it has made me a stronger writer because I must be concise with a finite set of syllables. I often find myself walking around thinking in syllables. I have broadened the scope of my themes when I write haiku to take on personal experiences as I live with metastatic cancer. I offer glimpses into my heart with a bit of that imagery and feeling I’m hoping comes across in seventeen syllables. The more I write, I better I get. I hope you connect with them in your own way.

I answered the phone

the voice said you have cancer

and everything changed

but you look just fine

you can’t be metastatic

you do not act sick

tears on my pillow

tears and sobs in the shower

tears behind a smile

chemo in my veins

chasing after cancer cells

killing good and bad

you’ve stolen my hair

my eyes have a lifeless look

I’m pale, weak, and scared

scars on the outside

reflect little of being

scarred and scared inside

we can land on Mars

and urgently make vaccines

we can’t cure cancer

who is this person

who stares back in the mirror

she looks familiar

the dreaded scanner

I lie inside motionless

hoping for good news

nervous in a gown

waiting for fate to unfold

in the next minutes

we need more research

and more effective treatments

to save those we love

cancer spread elsewhere

is known as metastatic

and cannot be cured

wicked cancer cells

how did this happen to me

how is this my life

cancer side effects

suck everything out quickly

that helps us feel well

sleepless once again

I lie awake unable

to dream something else

positive thinking

balances hope and science

when you have cancer

spring turns to summer

my next season is unknown

I live in the now

petals on a rose

lovely and soft and alive

how long will you stay

bad thoughts creep inside

my heart about when and how

that I push away

dying is rebirth

to where our souls remember

and feel love and light

Author: Kristie Konsoer

I've been living well with metastatic breast cancer since 2012. This blog is a place where I can share thoughts and ideas on cancer, how I feel perceptions of cancer must change, and how I am finding a way to live with strength, hope, meaning, resiliency, humor, and hopefully a little wisdom.

13 thoughts on “Cancer Haiku”

  1. Beautiful!
    I’m starting an e-Zine called the “art of cancer” to be pulled together as submissions hit 50 at a time – anyone with cancer can shoot over a few poems (more to come) and I’d love to include some of your haikus in the ezine – maybe the best of will go to a yearly publication with proceeds going non profit organizations. I can’t decide if it’s a good enough idea so there’s room for opinions. Do you think people would read it or do you think people will
    find the basic problems too unacceptable for general consumption.

    I want to sit with your beautiful haikus and give them the time the art form deserves. Mostly I think that they are rushed through by readers and loved by students everywhere who are forced to read poetry and write reports. 😂

    I left you one on Twitter…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your idea is wonderful. I think the audience would likely remain the cancer community and the art community. I would like to find a home for some of my work but never get around to the submission process. No idea where to start.

      I agree that haiku gets ruhed through because it is short. Each one can be thought about more deeply. That’s often where the emotion kicks in. Marie refered to them as “arresting” which I consider a high compliment. I better go reread them myself! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Each haiku is a powerful expression of the anguish you are experiencing, Kristie. I am glad you have this tool, and I appreciate you sharing them. And my heart goes out to you. Your courage is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Kristie,

    I love your haikus. I relate to much of what you wrote. I think Ilene is spot on. People do rush through haikus because they’re so short. At the same time, their brevity is part of their power, intrigue and relatability. I like her idea of sitting with them for a bit. I agree with Marie’s assessment – arresting. They are that. Thank you for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not all of my haiku work. I wrote a tanka last week that I didn’t care for but it went over well. I went with the ones about cancer that carried meaning for me and/or expressed a point clearly. I love what you said that less is more. Thank you.❤️


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