Half-Arsed Haiku – 13 Jan 2015

By Hans Braxmeier via Wikimedia Commons

By Hans Braxmeier via Wikimedia Commons

On Knowing What This Might Mean

Impermanence now seems
permanently etched in my mind-
cherry blossom girl.


When setting up my blog I was torn between two Japanese philosophies to sum up how I was feeling.  Kintsugi (which you can see I plumped for in the end!) was one, but I also love the concept of mono no aware.   Literally translated as ‘the pathos of things’, or often ‘an empathy toward things’,  it  derives from the Japanese word mono, meaning ‘thing’, and aware which was a Henian period expression of measured surprise (like ‘oh! or ah!). So it’s often been translated as ‘the ‘ahh-ness’ of things, of life, and love.  It’s an awareness of the impermanence or transience of things, and a fleeting feeling of wistfulness or slight sadness at their passing.  Or it can also refer to that deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.

So as in kintsugi where the flaws and broken bits are party of an object’s story and add to its beauty, in mono no aware the transience of all things simply heightens your appreciation of their beauty, and evokes a gentle sadness at their passing.  I think living with a life limiting illness does that to you – it’s a bittersweet state to be in.

In Japan, cherry blossoms are often a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life . The transience of the blossoms, the beauty and short flowering period mean they have often been taken to symbolise mortality.  The events of last week with my rubbish scan results have made me consider my mortality once more. I often think of the other young women I’ve known from various support groups for secondary breast cancer. I look at photos or names and feel a wave of sadness and fear when I realise so many have left us already.  Young women – mothers, sisters, wives, friends, workmates. Women who had everything to live for.  I think of their beauty and strength and character and humour, i think of my cherry blossom girls.

Usually I’m happy to live in a convenient bubble of denial, burst only by occasional hospital visits or treatment or updates, good and bad, from others I know on a similar journey. For the first time though things seem a bit too real.  For the first time I’ve realised I am impermanent, that things are changing and I can’t outwit this disease for ever.  For the first time I feel like cancer may just have the upper hand.

I’ll call its bluff for now though…



  1. kanzensakura · January 27, 2015

    I like the name of your blog and I do like this poem a lot. I too am a cherry blossom girl. but different.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. georgeplace2013 · January 27, 2015

    Thoughtful haiku. Wonderful spirit in your words. Keep that poker face on and good luck.


  3. Jen · January 27, 2015

    For what it’s worth, I can relate. Yes, every situation is different … but I too have felt that limbo state … have learned to embrace brokenness … mostly…

    But … you keep calling that bluff … and never, never, never, never give up or give in.


  4. Hamish 'Managua' Gunn · January 27, 2015

    Very poetic look – keep in touch with nature, physically. And I think writing haiku is a blessing.


    • TheKintsugiGirl · January 27, 2015

      Thanks Hamish. I do think nature can work wonders on the mind, body and soul. Lots of research nowadays showing how important green spaces are for our physical, emotional and mental health – just backs up what people have always believed instinctively… i’m lucky that even though i live in a city i can still find plenty green spaces to wander through including our beautiful botanic gardens just 20 mins walk away. And you are right about the haiku – just started writing them at new year and I’ve pledged to write one a day for 365 days, just hoping it remains a blessing and not a curse!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bastet · January 27, 2015

    each cherry blossom
    fallen like snow in springtime
    chills the heart
    each bright morning sunrise
    warms the heart with renewal

    a huge hug … look to the sunrise not the fallen cherry blossoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark M. Redfearn · January 27, 2015

    Whether we have a life-threatening disease or not, impermanence is etched in each on of us. We are all cherry blossoms…

    Cherry Blossoms

    Liked by 1 person

  7. moondustwriter · January 28, 2015

    And so we live to face another day and write.
    I send the biggest of cherry blossom hugs to you with a tear of understanding

    Liked by 1 person

    • TheKintsugiGirl · February 2, 2015

      What a beautiful (and bittersweet) poem- really touching. thank you xxx


  8. Chèvrefeuille · January 28, 2015

    As a haiku-poet you are really connected to nature … I can empathise with you in this feeling I love Cherry Blossoms and I like their fragility as is the fragility of haiku …. the impression of a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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