Weltshmertz and our Woeful Longing

Words like longing and pining pull our heart strings because longing is related to some unfulfilled desire or an unmet need, something that most of of have experienced in life or continue to do so.

Previously, on seeing the words Pine & Grief provided for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge, I couldn’t help thinking of this phrase ‘we pine for what is not‘.

This phrase, that represents the universal truth, is originally from the poem To The Skylark by P.B. Shelly. For the first time I brought another writer’s work into my post.
Shelly says ‘we look before and after…and pine for what is not…
I gave it a twist by adding ‘we overlook what we have got…

Pining for grief

We pine for what is not
And overlook what we’ve got
Recipe for our grief

Thus, the trouble with us is not just that we long too much for our past or that scheme too much for our future. It’s also that we don’t focus on our present, forever ungrateful for what we currently have, while not making the most of it. By doing all this we are ‘pining for what is not’ as well as unconsciously creating sadness and misery rather than positively constructing happiness by taking our current life in our own hands.

*** ***

My second haiku is about a different kind of longing…



Hi-tech generation
Craving perpetual novelty
Desolation lingers

Weltshmertz is a feeling of sadness caused by ills of the world, as too much craving brings world weariness.

Longing is not all bad though. There’s a unique pleasure in yearning for the ones we love. It shows that we care. And yet, excess is bad – for excessively desperate longing is not just a sign of existing depression but it is addictive and cyclical, thus causing more depression.

19 thoughts on “Weltshmertz and our Woeful Longing

    • Thanks Ameena! Those lines by Shelly are a universal truth as well as human nature. I was away from Word Press but couldn’t stop myself for long 🙂 Addicted to writing.


  1. Two beautiful haikus, Alka. “overlook what we’ve got” That is so, so true and I absolutely feel that phrase. We have so much to be thankful for right where we are in this moment in time. Food, health, clothes…some of the small things to be thankful for 🙂 “Weltshmertz” There, I learnt a new word today. I suppose I feel that way sometimes when I don’t have the time or energy to write. Then again, there is a time and place for everything.

    Hope you are having a good weekend and don’t stress too much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mabel! Indeed if we think of it, what truly matters is only our present, with whatever resources we have. These little things we take for granted matter a lot for they are a necessity of life. I discovered this word Weltshmertz during my son’s HSC…it feels like a tongue twister and the meaning is unique as well.
      Even with no time and energy, sometimes what matters is our intention and a strong need to do what we love to do. I now remember my story ‘Time, Energy and Intention to Love’ (to love what you love to do).
      I get your message. No use stressing out 🙂 You too have a nice weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The haikus are great. The feeling captured in the word Weltshmertz is one I seem to encounter a lot these days. Maybe because of the technology virtual world we are now more exposed to prevalence and severity of the ills of the world because, really, as David Byrne would say, “same as it always was, same as it always was.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank for liking the haiku and for your views! This word conveys angst or anxiety which is not just our own inner feeling, but a kind of disillusionment due to the calculative, materialistic ways of the world. It’s true that we now have greater exposure to the good and the bad of the world whereas, just as Byrne says, the world was always the same – ever changing, self-centered, power hungry, capitalistic…

      Liked by 1 person

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