Skip to content

Haiku in the Workplace: Foreign Takeover

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]

through expectant

disoriented —
the sixth sense of etiquette
not quite there yet 
	[David Dayson]

to fearful

“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. . . .

New Poems

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
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
     — 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
     — 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!

kacian_jimFrom 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.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This one reveals a certain truth, doesn’t it?

    foreign takeover . . .
    it’s urgent that I study better
    the English language

    acquisizione straniera . . .
    è urgente che io ripassi
    il mio inglese
    — Lucia Cardillo

    – Lorin

  2. Dear esteemed poet,
    Warm greetings! delighted to go through this site now, going through
    each and every poet.
    with regards

Comments are closed.

Back To Top