It was a reminder of how removed I am from corporate culture to see how many of your responses this week were hopeful and affirmative. My typical response to someone or something moving into my space is suspicion, coupled with a stiff draught of passive-aggressive obstructionism. But the bulk of your efforts said something like
a pink paeony with hybrid vigour — blooms brightly [David Dayson]
or this, which I take to have come from within the walls of this very publication [that is, the Financial Times of London]:
crisp paper cherry blossom colour — Spring freshness [David Dayson]
To be sure, not all reactions fall into these optimistic, fortune cookie-type modes, but ranged, rather, from trusting
our skins meet when we shake hands — our minds meet later [David Dayson]
disoriented — the sixth sense of etiquette not quite there yet [David Dayson]
“Costs will be cut” and The share price flies, but Am I a cost? [Samuel Sibony]
all the way to doubtful
Red, white and blue Roses, Same colours on the flag, Different pattern, bitter taste. [Katie Rollings]
and even to the vatic
One billion yuan later Versailles lifted and delicately Placed on Tiananmen Square. [Eva Eljam]
and the outright hostile
Our Chinese owners are here, Their predatory smiles Eyeing my swivel chair [Samuel Sibony]
to finally come to reside with the mildly hortatory
at the well — do not throw out Buddha with the spring water [David Dayson]
and thus back to fortune cookie philosophy. (As a completely relevant aside, I take it on faith that everyone knows that fortune cookies are not a Chinese, but an American, invention, and that the style and content of the fortunes is an attempt to suggest wisdom handed down from an ancient culture, once from the Bible, now apparently from Californians channeling Confucius. No foreign powers who might thus “take over” are being maligned by calling attention to such “wisdom.”)
I am awarding only one prize this week, but do wish to note that someone has been studying up on contemporary haiku practice. We have had our first monoku (that is, a one-line haiku) submitted, and while it does not ideally utilize the form, it is at least welcome to see:
snails apace upon fresh green lettuces: devastation in their wake. [Misha Patel]
My prize winner this week seems a bit drab at first glance, but is full of subtlety:
working both ways at home and abroad a foreign takeover [Ernesto Santiago]
The poem is able to suggest, in very brief compass, that this transaction has wide-ranging implications on more than just the local front. A new alliance affects both parties, and that is easy to overlook as we consider its impact on ourselves and our routines, or even our livelihoods. The poem’s form works in the same manner that its content does — the phrase “at home and abroad” swings both ways, and can be uttered by either party involved. There is the suggestion that the takeover is happening on both shores, and that accommodations will need to be made in both places to make this new relationship work. A quiet effect, but not less effective for that — nicely gauged!
All right, time’s up, I need to go see how my FT stock is doing after the merger. Good luck to both sides. . . .
the deal is done . . . Hank invites us to a game next time we’re in Jersey — Mark Gilbert * gray sky — teaching English to my new boss — Johnny Baranski * monday in my office mug a spider spins — Sheila Windsor * foreign takeovers the tender offer of a firm handshake — Ernesto P. Santiago * foreign takeover the canteen’s new continental range — Rachel Sutcliffe * overseas school — new international curricula for the same old bored pupils — Maria Laura Valente * foreign takeover diversity mulipanates depleting dollar — Katherine Stella * what a strange bark the new top-dog from down under — Roberta Beary * subtle changes . . . cucumber-flavored chips in the vending machine — Michael H. Lester * a french consultant checks the train stations . . . hand-over day — Willie Bongcaron * sleek furniture at no nonsense prices meatballs for lunch — Karen Harvey * foreign takeover in the restored casino new business class — Marta Chocilowska * admin assistant his parlour palm shadows my space — sheila windsor * google translate how to wish good morning in the new boss’s language — Madhuri Pillai * trilingual — whether or not to admit it — Pat Davis * number 45 steadily advancing the Kremlin’s interest — Michael Henry Lee * a spider weaves its web in the doorway . . . foreign approach — Olivier Schopfer * on the packed bus native tongue whispers meet head craning death stares — Lorraine Carey * foreign takeover the extra cream on my coffee — Hifsa Ashraf * the old boss alights from the same car with a foreign wife — Ashoka Weerakkody * third world hunger the way the cookie crumbles in our mouths — Celestine Nudanu * foreign investors taking what’s ours overseas a cargo vessel — Mike Gallagher * a new Dutch captain the semi diesel engine still goes TONK TONK — Paul Geiger * ransomware demand my office ренgay files цомpromised — Lew Watts * foreign takeover our new CEO is beamed down — Elizabeth Moura * takeover — how i wish i am among the sold — Srinivasa Rao Sambangi * overseas offer my land, my home, my corner adoration still — S. Radhamani * foreign takeover a fleck of paint under my fingernail — Michael O’Brien * on the desk — eco-solid purchase of African children sulla scrivania — l'acquisto eco-solidale dei bambini africani — Angela Giordano * new ownership team enunciated English brogue’s Scotch whisky — Ron Scully * foreign takeover illegible name of the new company — Eufemia Griffo * takeover — a job offer for translators — Adrian Bouter * foreign takeover . . . it’s urgent that I study better the English language acquisizione straniera . . . è urgente che io ripassi il mio inglese — Lucia Cardillo * foreign new boss extensive note-taking of body language — Angelo Ancheta * merger proposal: I’m thinking of “death and taxes” — Elisa Allo * foreign takeover — on every desk a white flag — Ana Drobot * noise in the roof new wasps invade the office — Christine Eales * overseas takeovers — too many strange ducks in the pond — Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo * Kraft takeover — the taste of Cadbury’s now a little bitter — Lee Nash * missing vowels my name in Devanagari — Alegria Imperial * foreign takeover — now the broom is left in another corner — Tomislav Maretic * not knowing how low to bow foreign takeover — Marietta McGregor * low acquisition my boss’s wife flirts with protectionism — Cezar Ciobika * the frustration of finding lost stuff newly tidied desk — Anthony Rabang * pouring out my last cup of coffee — firm takeover — Adjei Agyei-Baah *
Next Week’s Theme: Multitasking
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 16 November 2015.