Tag Archives: Haiku

That was the month that was

Post 30 out of 30 for November’s blogathon. It’s an early one because I’ve got a busy day ahead. As always, I want to start this post by thanking you, my reader, for putting up with the daily bombardment this November. Your likes and comments are hugely appreciated and encouraging. I think I’ve enjoyed this year’s challenge more than any previous one. It’s seemed somehow easier to find inspiration consistently for things to write about. I know that I break all the blogging rules with the random nature of posts here, but it’s really interesting to me to see what topics catch the reader’s attention. Inevitably, and quite rightly, C. has once again (and has she has for 30 plus years) left me completely in the shade by being the focus of the most-read post this month. Whilst (of course) I loved writing that one (and the bruising has gone down remarkably quickly!), the post I actually enjoyed preparing the most was one of the least read. It’s hard for me to understand, but apparently the mix of Jose Mourinho, football, leadership and management are just not as interesting to other people as they are to me. Weird!

It has been good to get back to playing around with words and sentence structures through the discipline of Haiku, and it’s these posts that have generated some of the most feedback. The discipline of creating stories within a strictly defined 5-7-5 syllable structure appeals to my love of ordered creativity. There is a place for radical free-thinking that proposes new paradigms and challenges existing orders and forms; but most lasting change occurs through thousands of incremental ‘nudges’ against the boundaries of the way things are now. For me, Haiku is a useful discipline for codifying those nudges, and for stripping back thoughts and feelings to their essential core.

And then there are the posts from years ago that continue to get hits for no obvious reason, but which must be featuring in the algorithms that drive internet search engines. That can be the only reason why this one about a trip that Dan and I took to watch a football match in West Bromwich in December 2015 keeps popping up in the readership stats on a regular basis.

Anyway, as this post (and this National Blog Post Month 2019) draws to a close, it seems only fitting to finish with a Haiku. Thanks for reading. I’ll try not to leave it another year before posting again! (And you can see that as either a threat or a promise!!)

A blog post a day
Finding something new to say
Keeps boredom at bay

Strategic Planning (through the medium of poetry!)

Today saw the first of our Strategic Planning meetings in work. Our planning process starts in September each year and usually concludes with the final sign off of a plan and budget for the following academic year in March or April. It’s generally a helpful process and at least requires us to think about where we need to focus our time and effort to ensure that we deliver excellent teaching and cutting edge research. There’s no doubt though, that strategic planning also draws very heavily on game theory (in its broadest sense), where (in our case) the Faculty seeks to anticipate the expectations of the University and respond in a way that addresses those expectations, whilst limiting to the fullest extent possible any impact on our freedom to do what we would really like to do. Thus we negotiate and agree to generate a surplus of income over expenditure that meets our commitments to contribute to the core costs on the institution, within an overall budget that also allows us to invest in new posts, initiatives or facilities at a Faculty level without needing to go cap in hand to the University. Similarly, we adapt and translate institutional priorities and objectives into action plans that address what’s important to us in a way that satisfies the wider goal.

Hundreds of thousands (and possibly even millions) of words have been devoted to learned tomes and treatises on what constitutes the ideal approach to strategic planning. In my experience though, it’s possible to distil the whole thing down into eighteen lines of Haiku. You read it here first!

Strategic planning :
Work-based creative writing
With limited plot

SMART objectives and
Measurable KPIs
Risk missing the point

Budget projections :
Creating the illusion
Of fiscal control

Detailed data sets
Summarise past performance -
Focus on what's been

Future projections :
How do you rationalise
A chaotic world?

When it's all over
Plus ca change, plus c'est pareil :
It was ever thus.

A weekend visit to London

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in London, doing as many touristy things as possible in the 24 hours or so that I was there. Some reflections in Haiku form and supporting photos comprise today’s contribution to the blog. The Haikus are organised broadly in chronological order of the weekend

Tube from Hillingdon
Personal space invaded
But no eye contact

Harrods at Christmas
Conspicuous consumption:
Rich people's grotto

Saturday 'Up West'
Streets thronged with happy tourists
Beggars plead for change

Whitehall late at night
Ministries dark and silent
Power powered off

The Abbey dazzles
White stone's reflective glory
Pure against the dark

Tower blocks rise high
Modern monuments stand proud:
St Paul's looks away

Sunday coffee stop
Autumn sun dapples the park
Squirrels hide acorns

Reflective drive home
London's clamour slowly fades
Was it all a dream?

Reflection on the UK/US politics in 2019

I’ve tried to steer clear of blogging about politics so far this year. The general election campaign in the UK and the impeachment hearings in the US are dominating the news programmes, and both stories are incredibly depressing. Last Saturday’s Haiku verses seemed to go down well with the reader of this blog, so I’ve used the format to give some form to my thoughts on politics in the UK and US at the moment. I’ve left them as a series, although each is also capable of standing on their own. They’re a bit downbeat and defeatist, I’m afraid, but that’s kind of where my head is with all this at the moment.

Politics '19
On the altar of ego
Truth is sacrificed

Liars parading
Feeding prejudice and fear
Stirring base motives

Immigrants are tarred
Remainers labelled traitors
Others all to blame

Votes can't fix this mess
However you cast your vote
Politicians win


					

Getting creative

Day 9 : Be creative today – cook, draw, write, paint, make or inspire.

I don’t really have a particularly artistic side. I can’t draw or paint to save my life, and C. is the person in our house with all of the creative talent. I do like playing around with words, though. It’s been a little while since I’ve exercised by Haiku muscles, so today’s challenge is the perfect excuse to put that right.

Poetry for pleisure
Saturday writing :
Strong start and solid middle
Sadly a weak end.
Election fever
Fed up already?
When politicians lure you
Just don't take debate.
Final score
Composed and serene
He was found slumped at his desk
His last work unfin...
Blogging blues
Woke up this morning
No idea what to write
Sat and stared a while

Hoped for some insight
No inspiration dawning
Scrabbling for clues

Page and mind a blank
No words to ignite the fuse
Classic blogging blues.