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Here are some words of inspiration by our judge Jim Kacian for poets submitting haiku and senryu to the FT’s ‘Haiku at Work’ contest this week. The topic is work/business travel.

Mr Kacian, founder of the Haiku Foundation, writes:

As hunter-gatherers, we have always travelled – for sustenance, for work – and culturally we owe much to the practice.

Eventually Marco Polo and scores like him broadened our perspective on what lies beyond our usual ken through their reports from the outside world. This is not to say that the practice has been an unmitigated good:


miles to the city

and his next job . . .

the child servant

after Issa


But even among consenting adults, business travel is a mixed blessing. It begins for most as a kind of lark, time away with pay to frolic in the unknown. In this first phase, we might seize upon any excuse:


selling yam seeds

when cherries are in bloom . . .

a business trip

after Bashô


And find ways to keep it that way:


travel itinerary

Dad lists all the villages

where he can’t be reached

by Bruce Feingold


But over time even this becomes a drudgery for most, offering all the travails but none of the comforts of home. We also become aware of what it costs us:


home from a business trip,

everything as it was

except the children

By Bernard Einbond


And if we’re lucky, we might be able to break out of the routine in time to enjoy more of the home life. But for some, the realisation may come too late:


buried this week –

on his desk

next week’s itinerary

by Charlotte Digregorio


Please send your entries to workplace.haiku@ft.com by Thursday November 13. For rules and further details please go to www.ft.com/haiku

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