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Haiku in the Workplace: The Team Meeting

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.

New Poems

self employed —
the most efficient team meeting
     — Maria Laura Valente
the committee —
on how to agree
     — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
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
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
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!

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 20 February 2015.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. After the deadline this one liner:-

    meeting cancelled it doesn’t get better than this

Comments are closed.

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