Haiku in the Workplace: The Answering Machine
My three winners, as usual, meet the requirements of the theme, and also offer something a bit more. My third place winner has a lovely nostalgic tone:
even at Christmas when I see your email I long for Christmas Andrew Coleman
This is an homage to Basho’s great and famous poem
Even in Kyoto — hearing the cuckoo’s cry — I long for Kyoto.
and I would have scored it higher had it been entirely original to the poet.
In second place I have chosen the truly Scrooge-ish
please understand your message will not matter in January Andrew Coleman
So harsh, but is it not really honest? Can it not be construed a kindness to lay the truth before the caller? In the name of the season, of course.
My top choice is a wonderful bit of misdirection:
there is no room in the in- box Andrew Coleman
True kindness: the caller need not leave a message (which, as we already know, will be insignificant by the time it would have been returned), and need not expect a reply. We are all released from our duties to simply partake of the season. All neatly suggested by passing reference to one of the foundational stories of the season. Nicely played.
phoning in my resignation the answerphone full — Rachel Sutcliffe * another late night between mugs of coffee I leave messages — Sonam Chhoki * Segreteria — una voce allegra copre il mio pianto Greeting message — a smiling voice covers my tears — Monica Federico * Just the same message again and again — I seek my inner zen — Anna Maria Domburg * answering machine the new office clerk a know-it-all — Johnny Baranski * heavy traffic the red flashing light of my answerphone — Ernesto P. Santiago * prioritizing my impossible day answering machine — Devin Harrison * grocery list in the middle of meeting my wife’s call — Neha R. Krishna * “Leave a message after the beep” . . . I yell at the boss, disguising my voice — Maria Laura Valente * for those who know who knows the fantastic a reminder — Antonio Mangiameli * press one . . . press two . . . lost in an endless phone maze — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams * fast asleep . . . message at midnight a late check-in — Samantha Sirimanne Hyde * solar eclipse the answering machine cuts off before i — Jennifer Hambrick * hospice the machine assures me that my call is important — Michael Henry Lee * “voice mailbox full” again, the value of deep breathing — Sandi Pray * graveyard shift . . . press “1” if you would like to talk to a human being — Mark Gilbert * capturing the moon ...................letting it go to answerphone — Brendon Kent * always there for my convenience your tinny voice — Marietta McGregor * after the beep — the silence I scramble to fill — Debbi Antebi * that “dulcet” tone fighting the impulse to end the call — Sonam Chhoki * answering machine in the background the rain sound — Eufemia Griffo * answering machine between your words . . . bird sounds — Valorie Woerdehoff * newtons cradle . . . his pitch again on the answering machine — Steve Smolak * singing along again with the musak answering machine — Christina Sng * the only message kept on the machine — your goodbye — Angela Giordano * answering machine a therapy session available on saturday night — Lucia Fontana * Mozart’s notes — impatiently I wait for a click — Maria Theresa Sisti * your call is important the message repeats the rhythmic tap of my fingers — Madhuri Pillai * estate in ufficio — il dialetto del mio paese nella segreteria telefonica summer in the office — the dialect of her country in a voice mail — Margherita Petriccione * voice mail - so the metallic sound of your voice — Angiola Inglese * no message on my answering machine rising fog — Olivier Schopfer (Failed Haiku 1.9, 2016) * phoning in sick my voice on the answerphone ‘after the tone please . . .’ — Karen Harvey * On hold — A minute of Vivaldi’s Spring dreaming — Nazarena Rampini * Friday evening — my answering machine jammed with tasks from my boss — Diana Teneva * answering machine — among antiques in my son’s smart phone — Srinivasa Rao Sambangi * Valentine’s day: my boss will speak only to a metallic voice — Elisa Allo * recognizing myex-wife on the answering machine among strangers — Goran Gatalica * Monday morning lift the receiver for callbacks . . . silence click — Paul Geiger * I am away from my phone right now — or not — Michel Stinson * curse — but held back before the “beep” signal Imprecazioni — ma trattenute prima del segnale “beep” — Lucia Cardillo *
Next Week’s Theme: The Mentor
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 4 December 2014.
This Post Has 3 Comments
to write a poem
on an answerphone
… and I refuse
to answer the phone
while writing a poem
Jim, thank-you for publishing my haiku in this article and in past articles.
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