The relinquishing of self to a larger entity and purpose may indeed be noble, far-sighted, practical, philanthropic, and a host of other things, even all at once, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a pleasure. Judging by the bulk of your responses, your meetings are much like mine. Often they are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing:
Crisis talks, Management decision, Tea urn repaired. [Stuart Brown]
Or else they are much ado about nothing:
a team of kites in untuned harmony . . . play the wind [David Dayson]
What else to do but seek solace in humor?
lunch time meeting — strategy and tactics then just desserts [David Dayson]
My third choice was based primarily on the resourcefulness of the participants:
alert attendees hang on every word — buzzword bingo [Stuart Brown]
Now that’s creative teamwork! The poet also gets the reader to hang on every word, then delivers the punchline with perfect timing. Bingo!
My second choice this week rides primarily on a delicious portmanteau word:
tiresome meeting — lifted up by endolphins at a water fountain [David Dayson]
We too are lifted by such an auspicious concatenation, just what we need after the juice-sapping of the weekly accounting.
My top choice this week captures the essence of haiku very neatly:
Office gathering Laid bare under neon lights Empty pizza box [Greg Skeen]
Haiku most often find their resonance in the most mundane places, and what is more mundane than an empty pizza box? Yet the whole story is here: the office “gathering” which is a nice euphemism for working late; the paltry and unimaginative rewards (not even crusts left over, and box? not even boxes?; and the gaudy but probably modest work environment. And despite this meagre picture, a sense of team — a collective of individuals willing to sacrifice to a common aim — emerges, without ever having been caught in the spotlight. Nicely observed.
self employed — the most efficient team meeting ever — Maria Laura Valente * the committee — disagreeing on how to agree — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams * controlling any other business the chair — Ernesto P. Santiago * team meeting outdoor the hawk cuckoo repeatedly calls “who’s in the cowshed?” — Sonam Chhoki * team meeting finally we agree to disagree — Rachel Sutcliffe * early team meeting — writing a haiku to stay awake — Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo * lingering fog i pretend to take notes at a boring meeting — Polona Oblak * team building exercise cubicle dwellers in a mud wrestling pit — Terri French * team meeting at the end I ask about the acronyms — Nicholas Klacsanzky * peer review — crested cockatoos crash the faculty meeting — Julie Thorndyke * team meeting — all hands in the box of donuts — Chad Lee Robinson * yellow legal pad . . . all the good ideas in a wastebasket — Shloka Shankar * team meeting the mantra takes on a life of its own — Michael Henry Lee * team briefing doodling miles away — Mark Gilbert * team meeting the sand trap’s raised lip service — Betty Shropshire * team meeting — pigeons gather on the factory roof — Andy McLellan * communications team meeting under the table we text jokes — Peggy Bilbro * breakfast team meeting the important topics discussed only after coffee — Christina Sng * rogue wave — the day there’s really a team at the team meeting — Jennifer Hambrick * team meeting — under the table her foot his leg — Adrian Bouter * new recruits the resource guy has a way with words — Willie Bongcaron * the jay’s shadow descends and a junco jumps team meeting — Michael Stinson * bickering like birds — the new team — Angela Giordano * team meeting the silence back in a bee’s flight — Lucia Fontana * song of distant magpies I drift through the meeting — Timothy J. Dickey * team meeting . . . get a ‘take away’ or not on the way home — Madhuri Pillai * meeting . . . I draw daisies among my notes riunione . . . disegno margherite tra i miei appunti — Lucia Cardillo * team Meeting on my schedule wish list — Eufemia Griffo * transgenic seed sheep grazing — food meeting — Antonio Mangiameli * ad hoc — team aware of everything but no schedule — Goran Gatalica * the I in team she shares my idea as her own — Debbi Antebi * brainstorming . . . too original ideas Principal waves them off — Elisa Allo * too many paths we stray off the way home — Olivier Schopfer * the team meeting in the lawyer’s office deep snoring — Marta Chocilowska * the team meets ten engineers eleven opinions — Paul Geiger * team meeting the squabble of magpies — Christine L. Villa *
Next Week’s Theme: Maternity/Paternity Leave
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 20 February 2015.