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Per Diem Archive: M. Paul February 2013, Worker's Haiku

Worker's haiku

Like Issa's celebrated turnip-puller pointing the way with said vegetable, the worker has featured as a solitary figure in many fine haiku/senryu down the years. In these selections, the poets depict a variety of professionals hard at it or not, as the case may be: barber, bookseller, chauffeur, dentist, doctor, gravedigger, mechanic, policeman, postman, waitress and many others - even an estate agent. Some clearly relish their work; whereas others find all kinds of ways to make the daily grind that little bit more bearable than it might otherwise be. Not surprisingly, some appear more competent than others. Some are captured in a quiet, off-guard moment when his or her concentration on the matter in hand has temporarily lapsed, perhaps when the boss isn’t looking. We’ve all been there. Some are beavering away indoors; others are out in all weathers. Whatever the scenario, each of these lovely haiku tells a story, whether comically, poignantly and/or beautifully.

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Author: Alison Williams
light rain
the postman’s bike
outside the shop
Author: Matt Morden
winding road
a council worker paints
the S on LOW
Author: Dee Evetts
island airport . . .
our baggage handler puts on 
his pilot’s cap
Author: Barry George
In between fillings
the dentist again
talks of his son
Author: Martin Lucas
the house painter
   descending his ladder
      blue sky
Author: Matt Morden
community meeting
the priest adds up
his mileage claim
Author: Steve Middleton
the bookshop owners
at their computers
—singing
Author: Alan Summers
Easter wedding
the chauffeur in a tangle
with the umbrella
Author: Owen Bullock
man with the stop sign nothing to do   but spit
Author: Ronald Rubin
musician’s funeral
the organist’s
wrong chords
Author: Michael Ketchek
laughing gas
the dentist and I compare
our old draft numbers
Author: Stephen Toft
after the op
my surgeon outside
studying the clouds
Author: Greg Schwartz
    slow day
 the barber cuts
    coupons
Author: John Barlow
last thing Friday
the mechanic belts out
a Neil Diamond song
Author: frances angela
early closing
a waitress sits
in a circle of light
Author: Stephen Toft
afternoon drizzle
the driving instructor
swaps sides
Author: Rebecca Lilly
The gravedigger
staring out into space
then back at the grave
Author: Deborah P Kolodji
last persimmon
the real estate agent
suggests a lower price
Author: Michael Fessler
summer’s end
a carnival worker tells me
about his life
Author: Caroline Gourlay
stopping the postman—
each day fewer leaves
on the cherry tree
Author: Steve Mason
waist high in fog
the groundsman marks out
the football pitch
Author: Shimi (Mark Brooks)
withering wind
the fence-builder pulls a nail
from his lips
Author: Greg Schwartz
speeding ticket
the cop in no hurry
to give it to me
Author: Alan S. Bridges
late autumn
the rug-hooker works in
her last scrap of orange
Author: John Barlow
winter mist
four gravediggers watch
a fifth dig

Author: André Surridge
winter night
the chestnut vendor
in a cloud of steam
Author: John Barlow
Christmas week—
the fishmonger’s face
expressionless
Author: Malcolm Williams
in gown and slippers
a surgeon pauses
with the racing page
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