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Haiku in the Workplace: Interns & Trainees

After the apparent gravity displayed toward mentors last week, poets seemed more than ready this week to let loose. Your targets were the hapless interns and trainees who populate your offices. Nearly all of you found this situation laden with humor, not to say opportunity. These are the poems that seemed to me to offer the greatest amusement and empathy.

A plentiful source of mirth for many arose from the poet putting him or herself in the place of the poor trainee

trainee architect

sees the boring grey building

it's not lego now
	[Kate Stallard]

the trainee pilot

all the instruments go blank

he's not in the sim

	[Kate Stallard]

or else imagining potential pitfalls

penistone scunthorpe

for trainee crossword setters

could be interesting
	[Kate Stallard]

and yes, this works on this side of the pond as well.

A few offered sage advice

trainee editor

perhaps you were born instead

to be a barber
	[Kate Stallard]

cub reporters
push harder, progress slower
than press release pile
	[Sarah Leavesley] 

The occasional poem explored the process of the trainee’s adventure

just enough mistakes
trainer and trainee reflect —
to make it worthwhile
	[David Dayson]

or its culmination

well pruned —
a budding trainee
	[David Dayson]

But in the end what really matters to the trainee is the attainment of the kinds of skills s/he will need for a productive career. Surely that’s what has been realized in my top choice

accounting intern 
learns lists, numbers and sums,
ordering coffees
	[Sarah Leavesley]

I wish you inspiration . . . and kindness.

New Poems

the new boss’ name
nettle soup
     — Kimberly Esser
over and over . . . 
again the fledgling goes right
back out of the nest
     — Ernesto P. Santiago
my office,
an adventure 
between right and wrong
     — Antonio Mangiameli
golf with the boss . . .
my intern
overshadows me
     — Charlotte Digregorio
work experience
mother shows him
how to iron a shirt
     — Rachel Sutcliffe
the intern
coffee is all
she'll ever get
     — Michael Henry Lee
shadowing me
the intern
picks up bad habits
     — Mark Gilbert
out of his depth
the apprentice talks 
of perfection
     — Robert Kingston
student teaching —
mistaken for thirteen
at twenty-two 
     — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
a red apple —
mother’s note in the new
boy’s lunchbox
     — Brendon Kent
technical support
someone left the machine
     — Willie Bongcaron
     for life — it all starts at 
     — Paul Geiger
new intern
weighing my words 
for the first time
     — Shloka Shankar
he cancels his
date night
     — Poornima Laxmeshwar
putting the CEO
on hold
     — Jan Benson
name on a tag
still, the Head of Department
calls me something else
     — Sonam Chhoki
trainee . . .
thrown at the deep end
I learn to swim
     — Madhuri Pillai
revolving door —
the intern comes in 
my time goes out
     — Jennifer Hambrick
surgical intern —
he stitches back
my secrets
     — Tanmoy Das Lala
first day of work
a flight of butterflies
in my belly
     — Eufemia Griffo
internship season —
a sigh of relief
for the accounting department
     — Maria Laura Valente
tiger cub —
the joy of playing
with deer
     — Pravat Kumar Padhy
first day of training:
briefcase and tailleur
to appear older
     — Elisa Allo
hard nuts —
a chick watches the hen
cracking grains
     — Srinivasa Rao Sambangi
grasping the last wrung
on the corporate ladder —
new intern
     — Terri L. French
staff meeting . . .
on the windowsill a sparrow
with a twig in its beak
     — Olivier Schopfer, Presence 56
first steps
in the study
of the “devil’s advocate”
     — Angiola Inglese
1. I have my doubts
2. TBD
     — Judt Shrode
teaching her
how to play chess
but not how to win
     — Christina Sng
first day
smiles over cubicle walls
along the parade route
     — Gail Oare
her first day
I show her
she shows me
     — Elizabeth Moura
mosquitoes —
too many trainees 
without rules
     — Maria Teresa Sisti
all-day drizzle
the constant buzz
of an intern’s phone
     — Debbi Antebi
patient late
in each origami fold 
training patience
     — Lucia Fontana
orientamento —
il mondo del lavoro
in uno stage
orientation —
the world of work
is one big internship
     — Angela Giordano
Stage su stage
S’allunga il curriculum
senza lavoro
longer and longer
putting off work —
the interns
     — Lucia Cardillo

Next Week’s Theme: Lost in Translation

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 January 2015.

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