Post-holiday blues is a real ailment:
decorations come down — Post Tinsel Stress Disorder [David Dayson]
perhaps not quite so of-the-moment as PTSD, but much more widespread. And in this case, entirely self-inflicted. The sugar high of the holiday season induces a sugar crash in the dark days that follow:
after holidays the repeat episode of January gloom [Ernesto Santiago]
which we often compound by setting ourselves unrealistic goals of how we would like to be, or behave, or appear, in the new year:
tinsel packed away — we turn to detox diets next year's holiday [David Dayson]
No wonder things seem so glum!
January chill — slipping up on broken resolutions [David Dayson]
The good news is that things usually get better — we become realistic about our resolutions, daylight lasts longer, and we get back on a more even keel with our emotions.
pine tree discarded — we recycle ourselves into New Year [David Dayson]
One of the ways to expunge our gloom is by writing about it! I hope these helped.
I was intrigued by the number of poems that employed literary techniques in this batch. Such techniques are generally eschewed in haiku, which traditionally has aimed more for a ding an sich approach to content. But I think these are worth noting. We find, for example, straightforward personification:
January strides in — New Year's resolutions softly tiptoe out [David Dayson]
as well as metonymy (where a related term is substituted for the word itself — this example uses two):
panto season ends — a hoarse dame and a lame horse limp into New Year [David Dayson]
and this clever version of onomatopoeia:
onomoneywoe — credit card bills after oniomania [David Dayson]
My three winners this week all do the work that these already-mentioned poems do, but in addition capture their moments in specific images rather than general terms. My third choice, for instance, is exactly what we think a haiku ought to be:
all that remains — pine tree needles pricking stockinged feet [David Dayson]
We have a clear image relevant to the theme — remnant pine needles — and an activity where we might notice them — walking in stockinged feet. The small pricks are exactly that, on their first level, but also open to a second reading, wherein they become emblematic of the little impingements of the season, the letdown following the big day. The opening line works well enough, though it does have a slightly portentous feel in this context, which is why this does not score higher.
The circumstance of our second choice is nothing if not self-induced:
gloom unfestooned — a long hangover spills into New Year [David Dayson]
The conception of the “long hangover” captures our theme perfectly, and is easily visualized (saving us the pain of experiencing it ourselves). The choice of verb sloshes it into greater detail, and leakage seems apropos in this context. There is also the darkening effect of that repeated “oo” sound in the first line. All these indicate the poet’s control of his material.
This week’s top choice:
winter shelters close — under cover of moonlight homeless disappear [David Dayson]
is also, of course, keenly noted and sharply etched. The first line clearly limns the situation with no waste. And the third continues on to the expected consequence. It is in the second line that this poem rises above the descriptive. There is something about it, real or imagined, that deepens the sadness of this already sad situation. “Under cover” feels furtive, and to have this take place under “moonlight,” which is, after all, illuminating (if not quite the sun), creates a sense of unexplained menace. There is a sense that this dispersement, though visible, is yet invisible, and the emotion evoked cheapens the gaud of what has come before, even if it was heartfelt. The author abides by the strict syllable count here, too, and this formal element makes the whole event more structured, which makes it worse, as though this loss is built in to the system, unavoidable. Such treatment can feel padded out in some instances but feels perfectly natural here.
The good news is that this season already behind us. We have another 50 weeks to gather the strength to face another holiday season. We probably should get started.
after the holidays the Grinch still perched at the bosses' desk — Terri French * before dawn — the alarm clock reminds me end holidays — Maria Teresa Sisti * after the holidays a company of hangovers — Ernesto P. Santiago * holidays over the tight constraint of this tie — Rachel Sutcliffe * post-christmas lull the queen bee can't get no satisfaction — Roberta Beary * the wintering of my corporate path an email from H.R. — Jan Benson * rough morning a carton of kefir cools my hand — Nikolay Grankin * Santa came Santa went I am still here — Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo * stray tinsel — iridescence in the web — Beth McFarland * back to school — I still write 2016 in the daily log — Marina Bellini * post holiday everyone in the office on the same diet — Michael Henry Lee * january airtime — the messiah has come and gone — Jennifer Hambrick * cold January — compelled to accept the new contract — Pasquale Asprea * back to work a Christmas tree in the gutter fragments of tinsel — Paul J. Geiger * January office memo new year changed by hand — Peggy Bilbro * early morning street the sound of wind through abandoned Christmas trees — Olivier Schopfer * first morning the fog in my coffee dreams an office — Brendon Kent * end of holiday — the beginning of a new countdown — Maria Laura Valente * eating paperclips this attempt to be ready for the office manager — Alan Summers * the new moon Christmas lights blinking at an empty room — Debbi Antebi * half price sale black leather daily planners retired too soon – Ron Scully * post-holiday stress the office inflatables in a slow meltdown — Marilyn Appl Walker * January blues yet again I rewrite my resolutions — Marion Clarke * end of holidays the coal miner checks his headlamp — Pravat Kumar Padhy * on my bookshelf seeking Think and Grow Rich . . . finding Walden — Charlotte Digregorio (Frogpond 19:1, 1996) * post-holiday week the coffee machine all to myself — Christina Sng * post-holiday time — after all these calories difficult decisions — Goran Gatalica * tropical vibes at the watercooler Bali short break — Marietta McGregor * post boxing day all those wishes in my trash box — Srinivasa Rao Sambangi * First Action — remember password then google ‘Easter’ — Mark Gilbert * poinsettia droops faces retirement iris arrives — Trilla Pando * post holiday blues my suntan fades as i wade through emails — Jennifer Sutherland *
Next Week’s Theme: Balancing Work with Life
Send your poem using “workplace haiku” as the subject by Sunday midnight to our Contact Form. Good luck!
From October 2014 through April 2016 Haiku Foundation president Jim Kacian offered a column on haiku for the London Financial Times centered on the theme of work. Each week we share these columns with the haiku community at large, along with an invitation to join in the fun. Submit a poem by Sunday midnight on the theme of the week, from the classical Japanese tradition, or contemporary practice, or perhaps one of your own, which you might even write for the occasion. The best of these will be appended to the column. First published 19 January 2016.