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
just taking my time
tossing products in my cart
ye olde target run
Josh’s odes are always a pick-me-up:
O orange powder
On mac, Doritos, Cheetos
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 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
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.