A Haiku paints a word picture. It is simple in form – three lines, the first containing five syllables, the second, seven, and the third, five, for a total of 17 syllables. But there is nothing simple about a Haiku’s power to capture the heart of your life experiences.
I was in the last phase of cancer treatment when I heard the Voice for the first time. While awaiting the arrival of the radiologist, I closed my eyes. That’s when I heard, the command.
“You need to write a poem!”
Without missing a beat, the same Voice insisted, “And it needs to be a Haiku!
On a small scrap of paper, I wrote the following:
Search and find the mutant cells
As I re-read what I had written, my hands involuntarily clapped when I reached the word, “gone”. Then, a quiet calm permeated my being, along with a certainty that I would survive.
That night my husband, Ben, suggested I challenge myself to write five a day. And so began my haiku writing practice…
I was grateful to begin a new story. Having pushed past surgery, chemo, and radiation, a new hair color, and a new “normal”, I was ready to start a new story.
After years of neglect and silence—thanks to my haiku writing routine—my poetry Muse, and I had been happily reunited.
About a year later, I heard the Voice again! It said, “Start a Writer’s Group to support individuals whose words and stories need to be heard”.I didn’t have a clue how to accomplish this. However, during a sleep dream, I received a guided meditation to invoke the Muse and guidance to use the images, symbols, and feelings that surfaced as writing prompts.
So, began “Writing with Your Dream Muse” classes, and we are still writing today…
Life was good. I finished writing my book, “Healing Haikus”—A Poetic Prescription for Surviving Cancer”, and was the contributing author to five other books.
I was beginning my fifth-year cancer-free. Once you have heard the words, “You are cancer-free”, you think the “scare” is over. However, some stories have a sequel.
Mine does and it begins, “You have a recurrence”.
I continued my daily poem-making…
I had just completed my latest CT scan, and I was looking forward to the weekend.
The telephone rang.
The voice of my oncologist cried with urgency into the telephone, “Get Marjorie to the Emergency Room! It’s in her brain!
Fear gripped me. The next chapter in my continuing story would be a game-changer!
And it was…
The last entry in my haiku journal before my brain surgery was July 17, 2015
Cancer in my brain
You slipped by the barrier
Back into my life
The following day, I underwent brain surgery to remove one large and three smaller cancerous tumors. While recovering, my intestines perforated, and I required an emergency colostomy.
Life’s crescendos come
Quietly as a sunset
Dipped in marmalade
Despite the odds against my survival, I did!
I am a miracle!
I needed—more than ever—to write again.
At the same time, I was learning to wear a colostomy pouch, I needed to adjust to my new “compromised” brain.
My precious communication skills forever changed! How cruel to return my Muse to me… Damaged!
However, the most painful and serious deficit I encountered was difficulty in writing. Writing and haiku connected me to my Muse and to all my important relationships. Sending even a text or a simple email can be excruciating. Words come out scrambled. My ability to express myself on paper is severely hampered. Writing for long periods can leave me cranky, tired, and disoriented.
Yet, I NEED to write a daily haiku.
Where I look to retrieve words
That are still hiding
I was struggling with my conflicted feelings about what cancer had taken from my life, and gratitude for being alive. I decided to write everything I was feeling…raw and uncensored.
Tears flow today for
What was and what might have been
Grief robs gratitude
I wrote furiously until I finally exhausted all the anger and frustration I had been holding inside.
Then, something magical happened.
For the first time, I saw my cross-outs, squiggles, write overs, BIG LETTERS, and small letters as ART!
Letters and words swerve
On road maps of consciousness
From an artist’s hand
Through several thwarted attempts to write a “perfect” haiku, I was astonished that my frustration and my pain could be transformed…into art.
Writing haiku has given me a different lens in which to view the world—one that is much rosier.
When I learned about the Japanese art and philosophy called, Wabi Sabi, a way of life that focuses on finding beauty the within the imperfections and impermanence of life, I decided that I was a Wabi Sabi Practitioner,
Words tumbled wounded
Bleeding blessings from poems
Created to Heal
My next chapter, Wabi Sabi Haiku Word Art, has already started…
Dr. Marjorie Miles is a best-selling Amazon author and Wabi-Sabi Haiku Word Artist. She fulfills her passion for creative expression as a writer, dream worker, poet, and speaker. Her miracle-filled life includes living beyond lung cancer, brain cancer, and a life-saving colostomy.
She facilitates monthly “Writing with Your Muse” groups, offering inspiration and guidance to aspiring authors. Her uplifting memoir, Healing Haikus: A Poetic Prescription for Surviving Cancer, demonstrates the powerful effect of creative expression on healing.
Incurable romantics, she and her husband exchange original poems they create each morning. His are rhyming poems, and hers are haikus.