Pandemic Poetry

Becky Radnaev, Former Content Strategist

Article Category: #News & Culture

Posted on

Finding sanity, balance, and camaraderie in the humble haiku.

Viget is replete with literature enthusiasts. We have a book club, blog posts about said book club, and a #poetry channel on Slack for sharing Wendell Berry and Emily Dickinson. Before the pandemic it saw only occasional activity. That was until our Employee Engagement Manager, Aubrey Lear, popped up one day with a proposal: a month-long haiku challenge. (Hat tip to Nicole Gulotta for the excellent prompts.)

Haikus have long been beloved by Vigets. (In fact we have a #haiku channel too, but all the action tends to go down in #poetry.) There’s something about the form’s constraints, pithiness, and symmetry that appeals to us — a bunch of creatives, developers, and strategists who value elegant solutions. What we didn’t know was that a haiku-a-thon would also become a highlight of our very, very many Work From Home days.

For my part, writing haikus has become a charming distraction from worry. When I find my brain fidgeting over Covid-19 what-if scenarios, I set it a task. 5-7-5. Stack those syllables up, break ‘em down. How far can I push the confines of that structure? Where should the line breaks be? One run-on sentence? Find a punchline? It’s a nice little bit of syntactic Tetris. It stops me going down mental rabbit holes — a palette-cleansing exercise after a day’s bad news.

Then there’s the getting-to-know-you benefit that comes from Vigets sharing their daily haikus, each interpreting the prompts differently, offering a unique and condensed take on things common to us all.

There’s Elyse with her gorgeous personification of household objects:

Around the House

The small tea kettle

is now forming a union.

She demands more pay.

Or Laura, musing on the mundane things we miss:

Something you long for

strolling up and down

the aisles, browsing away

wonder everywhere

just taking my time

tossing products in my cart

ye olde target run

Josh’s odes are always a pick-me-up:

Nourishing Meal

O orange powder

On mac, Doritos, Cheetos

Finger-licking gewd.

While Grace’s are thoughtful and profound:

Thoughts while Driving

Tis human nature

We struggle to grasp the weight

Till it’s upon us

There’s Peyton, with his humorous wordplay:

Plant Friends

Plant friends everywhere

Watch them grow from far away

Then come back to them

Plant friends everywhere

Water them with Zooms and calls

They’ll water you too

And Claire, who grounds us in reality:

While folding laundry

gym shorts and sports bras

mostly what I’m folding now

goodbye skirts and jeans

Kate is sparky:

Lighting a candle

lighter fluid thrills

fingertips quiver, recoil

fire takes hold within

While I find the whole thing cathartic:


Old friend — with me since

birth — whom I seldom take time

to appreciate.

Our first #30daysfohaikuchallenge is over now, so we’ve decided to start another. Won’t you join us? Prompts are below and you can share your haiku in the comments.

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