For February our guest editor Matthew Paul celebrates the joys and travails of the working(wo)man’s plight. Here’s what he offers by way of introduction:
Like Issa’s celebrated turnip-puller pointing the way with said vegetable, the worker has featured as a solitary figure in many fine haiku/senryu down the years. In these selections that I’ve made, the poets depict a variety of professionals hard at it or not, as the case may be: barber, bookseller, chauffeur, dentist, doctor, gravedigger, mechanic, policeman, postman, waitress and many others – even an estate agent. Some clearly relish their work; whereas others find all kinds of ways to make the daily grind that little bit more bearable than it might otherwise be. Not surprisingly, some appear more competent than others. Some are captured in a quiet, off-guard moment when his or her concentration on the matter in hand has temporarily lapsed, perhaps when the boss isn’t looking. We’ve all been there. Some are beavering away indoors; others are out in all weathers. Whatever the scenario, each of these lovely haiku tells a story, whether comically, poignantly and/or beautifully. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
We’re all workers in some sense, and the range of experiences, accomplishments, wages and woes offer us a kinship even as we seek to move beyond our daily efforts. Enjoy!