I’m going to say this calmly, and I don’t want to argue about it: none of the submissions for this week’s haiku column rose to the level of poetry. I know, I know. Sure, some were clever:
mismanaged dangers — if frequent frequently will anger Management [Walter Miles]
And some offered useful advice:
staying calm at work is preferable to weeks completing crosswords [Walter Miles]
Some were droll:
A pile of Ripped stress balls Lying by her chair [Samuel Sibony]
Some were in the moment:
in — out of anger management this breath [Ernesto P. Santiago]
And some managed to get outside of it:
Tonight, in the pub, I will bitch and moan and scream. Now, I’ll bite my tongue. [Alex Bilmes]
But none moved beyond prose mind — the mind we use for our everyday transactions — to enter that elusive other mind, the mind of poetry. The closest we came, one could argue, was this:
garden of silence — time and space suspended by water lilies [David Dayson]
But even this is more a bromide for the self-help crowd draped in the raiment of prettiness. We just didn’t get there this week.
There’s no reason to get upset, sometimes this just happens. It’s not as though the Muse delivers on command, much as we like to think her at our beck and call. Next week will bring us somewhere else, somewhere perhaps where the Muse dwells, and you can negotiate at that point. In the meantime, breath deeply, count to seventeen (if you must) and take solace in wisdom:
The Sex Pistols said Anger is an energy. They didn’t have jobs. [Alex Bilmes]
counting to ten punching my calculator — Mark Gilbert * it’s a jungle in the highest office roar of the boss — Marietta McGregor * furious running to the tenth floor without panting — Marta Chocilowska * almost twelve the boss is just halfway in his sermon — Willie Bongcaron * salary freeze — the tea kettle whistling in the staff lounge — Gail Oare * getting some help more than I could handle a loose tie — Ernesto P. Santiago * keeping a distance from my angry manager a crow squawks — Carmen Sterba * anger management . . . playing hide & seek with my boss — Hifsa Ashraf * biting my tongue I shred some more of my anger — Rachel Sutcliffe * layoff notice the saucepan boils over — Amy Losak * attitude problem — the boss’s response to those who tell the truth — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams * working lunch biting the meat harder argument — Ashoka Weerakkody * anger management embracing the emptiness of profit and loss — Michael Henry Lee * I sign up for a course to manage my anger — counting fingers — Angela Giordano * since he is always angry my colleague has been sent to attend an anger management course — Rosa Maria Di Salvatore * storm clouds dispersed by late afternoon empty donut box — Peggy Bilbro * laughter therapy he was easier to ignore before — Pat Davis * Post-quarrel embrace Sparks on a broken cell phone glass — Stefano Riondato * a lifetime later that tone of voice, I’m told unforgiven — Ron Scully * subsiding storm the hardliner’s voice tones down — Angelo Ancheta * angry . . . a weekend work seminar on anger management — Madhuri Pillai * closing the loan file please come day after tomorrow more auspicious — S. Radhamani * a deep breath to cool my anger — tonight tai chi lesson — Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo * a sky blue and black with both hands on the table him dotting the i . . . — Adrian Bouter * fleck of spittle on the tight mouth he manages — Paul Geiger * the boss gives me a long look . . . crackle of the cattle prod — Chad Lee Robinson * not regretting what I said unpaid overtime — Olivier Schopfer * office empty except for me and a dead wasp — Christine Eales * Nervous tension — watering the philodendron I slowly breathe — Nazarena Rampini * angry silence — the remains of a wasp on the windowsill — Martha Magenta * the way she forgives me . . . makes me madder! — Tomislav Maretic * bullseye perfectly controlled barb — Mike Gallagher * refreshed daily the long end of a wound from last year’s tussle — Alegria Imperial * late for class arguing over space in the car park — Karen Harvey * anger management — a few more cups of coffee on my desk — Ana Drobot * just a glass of water to regulate my breath — Adjei Agyei-Baah *
Next Week’s Theme: Women in the Office
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 1 March 2016.