“Baby Cry Too Much?”


This is the second in my new series, “Haiku for social change”, the first having appeared on my own blog page. Since this piece is about pharmacology and psychopharmacology, I think MIA is a good home for it.

The requirement to use only 17 syllables to express an idea forces me to cut excess words. Readers can take in information quickly. The size suits our attention for grabby sound bites.

Each of these poems can be considered a free-standing unit or a piece of the longer ribbon. When read together, I mean them to be in this order.

These haiku are more accurately called senryū. According to wikipedia, senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature. Senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous.

Baby cry too much?
May mean mental illness soon.
There are drugs for this.

Everyone takes them.
No illness needed. We love

No more bad feelings!
“Feel good” pills work when and if
you believe in them.

Feel good pills “pooped out”?
Take name brand, newer and more.
Till the voices come.

Can’t get off the pills?
Taking them makes you crazy?

Your kid bored in school?
In trouble for making noise?

Take sharp edge off life
with benzodiazepines.
Then? Grand mal seizures.

Too much espresso?
Your eyes wired open at night?
Drug yourself to sleep.

Still trouble sleeping?
See your doctor and stock up.
You may stop breathing.

Over the counter
for every day aches and pains.
Kidney failure death.

Morphine addiction?
Pharmaceutical answer:
Invent heroine.

High cholesterol?
Buy pill. But it poisons your

Weight loss guaranteed.
as long as you take these pills.
Some anal leakage.

Have pill want to sell?
Helps nothing and makes you sick?
Sell new illness first.

Known money makers.
Retirement investors choose

People understand?
See dangers and stop madness?
I wait for blue moon.

Thanks for reading.
Alice de Saavedra Keys MD


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


    • mjk,
      Thanks for your support of my writing as I wander off the beaten path with my words. Thanks for the video link as well.

      Poetry, and especially this type of haiku, has given me the chance to simplify and condense my thoughts about psychiatric issues.

      The first one, “Baby cry too much”, sums up in 17 syllables multiple current psychiatric issues for me: the DSM 5 push to “pre-diagnose”, pushing drugs on younger and younger children. And, yes, I have heard of “treating” an infant with drugs for the “illness” of crying “too much”.

      How do we judge how much crying is too much in a baby? Why would we think to drug them to make them stop? Now extrapolate to every age human and ask this question again.

      Each one of these 17 syllable haiku embodies a real situation I’ve come across in psychiatry and medicine.


      Report comment