Caring for self: Haiku for Healing

ImageThe average nurse wears many caps. Often she is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend. She may also be a grandmother, a member of organizations and a student. This is all before she puts on her uniform and goes to work.  And how can you describe what a typical day demands of a nurse? It must have been a nurse who came up with the concept of multi-tasking, the impossibility of trying to juggle priorities while meeting the needs of her patients. She has to coordinate care; speak with physicians; chart; follow up on abnormal lab results; pass medications; I am exhausted just thinking about it!

So how can a nurse (male or female) recharge his or her batteries and make sure they do not deplete their energy sources? Adequate sleep, rest and nutrition are not the only solutions. My task was to find an activity that would provide me with some ‘me-time’, something that would feed my soul, providing an opportunity to relax and breathe far from the madding crowd. I work as an instructor of nurses and my schedule is quite demanding. I frequently work well over forty hours per week not counting work that I take home. My students are encouraged to contact me for any questions outside of classroom hours, and they frequently do. My four children are all adults; most of whom do not live at home, but of course may need to call on me from time to time.


The solution? A trip to the Japanese Gardens in Boynton Beach with my girlfriend Emily (also a nurse), for a reflective meditation with nature, away from the calls of textbooks, homework to be graded, and classes to prepare. I would take my camera, pen and notebook, and in that calming environment I would write Haiku.

On our way we listened to NPR and heard the story of a musician named Chuck Haden, a man who had lost his voice to polio as a young child, and had later taken up the double bass. He spoke of his life experiences and how they had influenced him. He now teaches music at a university, and tells his students that to be a great jazz musician; they must first be a good person. What a message! The same applies to nurses; you cannot be a great nurse if you are not first a good person.


The weather was perfect as only a South Florida day can be in mid-January; the sky an impossibly cloudless blue. The air had a crisp edge to it, justifying the new warm outfit I had treated myself to. As I started the walk through the Japanese Gardens, I knew I had made the right choice. Emily and I wandered slowly along the paths, drinking in the beauty, remarking companionably on the sights. Our shoulders relaxed as regular worries slipped away. The following are my attempts at Haiku. I have long been an unpublished prose writer, but never a confident poet, so I hope you will enjoy the result as I allowed my creative juices to flow.


While I focused on Mother Nature, Emily was working on herself. She rose up to the Haiku challenge, writing affirmations. Perhaps she’ll share some in our next volume! We ended our nature walk with a treat: a Japanese lunch followed by Japanese ice cream—a yummy mantra!


My Haiku:

“Trees waft leaves aquiver,

Clack and clatter of bamboo,

Tourists chatter.”

“Sky blue and cloudless,

Gentle breeze bends the branches,

Tension drips away.”

“Sipping sweet nectar,

Bumblebee busy on a

Blood red flower.”

“Birds fly on thermals,

Sun gleams through fresh pine needles,

Jets soar high above.”

“Wind on the water-

Zebra butterfly flits by,

Bamboo still creaking.”



  1. Audrey Ives · · Reply

    Bethany….how refreshing. i absolutely enjoyed this, I am looking forward to many more .

    1. Thanks Audrey! Trying to branch out a bit from Facebook! We’ll see where it takes me!

  2. Beautiful Beth…I’m sure it will take u as far as u allow it..u are the ink, remember!

    1. Interesting thought! Thanks Mitzi!

  3. MAUREEN LIGUORI · · Reply


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