The Poetry of Business

writing

For twenty years the Dai-ichi life insurance firm in Japan has run a short-form poetry contest specifically directed at Japan’s so-called “salarymen”, the country’s white-collar workers. These salaryman poems have become intensely popular across Japan and throughout the world as they capture the ironies and perversity of daily office life.

Perhaps, in this American season of relentless election commentary and overwrought headlines, those of us in the commercial world would do well to refresh ourselves by reflecting on some verses of our own.

So here is my brief collection of business poetry chronicling the trials and exhilirations of the office worker. The first is from the Japanese short-form master, Sumi. The next is an unconventional sonnet from Lord Byron’s little known drinking companion, Jonathan St. Love. The final two are from the largely overlooked Irish limericist, Paddy O’Donagh. Enjoy them.

Downsizing

By Sumi

Reduce staff, boss cries!

So we each lost ten pounds.

It’s good to comply.

……………………………..

Power(point)             

By Jonathan St. Love

When gallant Thor the thunders broke, he wrought

True Mjolnir’s ancient stone to break the night.

With sandals bringing earth’s caress to naught

Young Hermes’ trodding feet were set to flight.

The armor of Achilles full encased,

The warrior’s pow’rs upon the field increased.

When Neptune’s fist his glist’ning trident raised

The desperate shudders of the earth released.

What spear, what shield, what weapon from the gods

Can make my worldly foes to bend the knee?

I need not one! No more repair the odds.

For I have mighty Powerpoint, you see.

My foes from quiet aching boredom weep,

Still others it compels to deepest sleep.

……………………………..

Fenwick

By Paddy O’Donagh

Fenwick had no time for me

He only saw folks for a fee

He thought of aspiring

Then came the firing

Suddenly Fenwick was free

…………………………….. 

Month-end

By Paddy O’Donagh

The CEO talks to the Chairman

The Chairman talks to the Board

But when quota’s unmet

And the family’s in debt

It’s the salesman who talks to the Lord   

……………………………..

Just remember: not everything you read on the Internet is true.

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