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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

July 21, 2006

denise has us thinking about careers and choices

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 12:35 pm



We’re still eschewing punditry and mostly skirting the blogosphere, but we couldn’t help notice that Denise Howell of Bag & Baggage fame — one of the most liked, respected and admired lawyer-webloggers (and high-tech mommies) —  was recently removed from her part-time post at the giant law firm Reed Smith.  [See the reactions, e.g., of Bob and Carolyn, Evan, Dennis, and Ernie].

On July 15, 2006, Denise announced her work status, while proclaiming that being Tyler‘s mom was her “most important job,” and that her “professional roadmap henceforth will involve only things that are washed through a stringent ‘how much do I really love that?’ filter, and can be comfortably accomplished in the limited, catch-as-catch-can hunks of time that fall serendipitously out of the sky during the course of my other ‘duties’.”

. . . Tyler is job #1 . . . tyler swinger

The f/k/a Gang wishes Denise all the best in her personal, parental, and professional (ad)ventures.  Instead of opining further, we’re going to post poems from Kobayashi Issa, one of Japan’s four Master Haiku Poets.  Although he died almost two hundred years ago, we see some familiar themes in Issa’s haiku:  what is work?  do we all have choices?  does gender matter?   who’s the boss?   what are our priorities?

surprising the worker
in the field…
out-of-season blooms





gate’s cherry tree
all this flit-flit flitting
is work!



a migrating servant
laid off
at age sixty






looks like boss frog
in the high seat






the uproar in the servants’ room
beats the frogs…
drinking party



hey big cat
shake a leg!
the wife calls



the wife sowing wheat–
it’s that
kind of temple




the sake gone
time to buckle down
and moon-gaze






harvest moon–
when my heart’s had its fill
it’s dawn







Mister Toad–
the wife may be waiting
your children crying






my hut’s mosquitoes
go out to make a living…
dusk moon






the defeated wrestler, too
joins the crowd…
bright moon






if only she were here
for me to nag…
tonight’s moon!






naughty child–
instead of his chores
a snow Buddha






new year’s fog
she washes
all the windows






fresh straw for the garden–
about ten servants
at work







a laid-off servant at market–
his fifty year-old face




the flute-playing servant
is the village headman!
butterflies dance




hands clapping
mother teaches her child
the dance




its mouth open
waiting for mother…
baby bird in the autumn rain







children crowded ’round
wear her out…
mother sparrow




mother cat
steals for her kittens…
run faster!






the child snores
the mother pounds straw…
summer moon






mother monkey
baby on her back points…








even for washing
four or five radishes…
hired help




Mum Festival–
the drunk I hired
gives me sake




the dragonfly, too
works late…
night fishing







in the short night
the dew works fast…
blades of grass




siesta work
for the stepchild…
picking brother’s fleas




the bees with children
are work-a-holics…
making honey




the blacksmith basks
in the cool air…
night work




growing old–
by the hearth’s light






the goblins are gone
so get to work!


. . . . . by Issa, translated by Daniel G. Lanoue
BONUS from Honored Guest Poet JOHN STEVENSON
I hate
my job


winter night
firemen coil
smoke-scented rope





the tethered dog
watches the guide dog
enter a deli


late night —
a waitress repeats
the list of pies 


Monday morning
putting the point
on a pencil


. . . by John Stevenson 

“butterfly” – from Upstate Dim Sum (2005/I)
“winter night” and “the tethered dog” – from Quiet Enough
“late night –” – from The Heron’s Nest (March 2006)
“Monday morning” – from Upstate Dim Sum (2003/I)


p.s.  A trio from Matt Morden of Morden Haiku:
an old resume
my son colours in
his rainbow




shortlisting . . .
a hint of perfume
on the resume’

job interview —
the candidate’s cufflinks
tap on wood


“an old resume” – Snapshots #7 (2000); bio page at World Haiku.  “shortlisting . . .” –  the loose thread: rma 2001; tundra 2; “job interview –” – Morden Haiku (April 11, 2006)


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