Triolet: Unemployment “Insurance”

Day 12, NaPoWriMo 2020

Photo by Jaime Lopes on Unsplash

Unemployment “Insurance”

Step one, lose your job in order to qualify
Step two, show your empty bank accounts
Step three – apply online, get 404, retry.
Step one – did you lose your job in order to qualify?
Step four, stock up on ramen, rice and standby.
Step five, if denied, start GoFundme to avoid blackouts.
Step one: lose your job in order to qualify,
Step two – show your empty bank accounts.


Notes:  Day 12 of NaPoWriMo 2020.  The prompt is a “challenge you to write a triolet. These eight-line poems involve repeating lines and a tight rhyme scheme. The repetitions and rhymes can lend themselves to humorous poems, as well as to poems expressing dramatic or sorrowful moods. And sometimes the repetitions can be used in deceptive ways, by splitting the words in a given line into different sentences, and making subtle changes, as in this powerful triolet by Sandra McPherson.”

I was hoping to write a funnier triolet, but I veered into a darker direction instead. I had read a few days back how Florida’s Unemployment System was essentially designed to fail.  It is ironic how the basic concept of insurance fails when you need it the most – whether it is health, travel, unemployment, etc.  On a much hopeful note, though it is also heartening to see wonderful, numerous examples of kindness and compassion.

In happier times, I wrote a triolet on my wife’s birthday back in April of 2013, titled: A Glance.  I believe it was the first NaPoWriMo I tried, when I had just started writing poems again after many, many years.

Crypto Floriography

Day 11 NaPoWriMo 2020

(Photo by Aashish Vaidya)


Crypto Floriography

Burrowed, deep in mud
at night, only to slowly,
in morning, emerge,
unsullied, above water,
delicately beautiful.

Plucked freshly from pond,
roots dripping in mud, clenched bud
now fully open.
Those assembled seem confused
at Buddha’s wordless sermon.

Seeing a simple
object of immaculate
beauty, within few
moments, a disciple smiles,
as the meaning dawns. Pure Zen.

Notes:  Day 11 of NaPoWriMo 2020.  The prompt “is based on the concept of the language of flowers. Have you ever heard, for example, that yellow roses stand for friendship, white roses for innocence, and red roses for love? Well, there are as many potential meanings for flowers as there are flowers. The Victorians were particularly ga-ga for giving each other bouquets that were essentially decoder-rings of meaning. For today, I challenge you to write a poem in which one or more flowers take on specific meanings. And if you’re having trouble getting started, why not take a gander at this glossary of flower meanings? (You can find a plain-text version here). Feel free to make use of these existing meanings, or make up your own.”

Recounting Buddha’s wordless Flower Sermon, where he holds up a flower.  The act confused all the disciples, except one. Seeing the gesture, Mahakasyapa, smiles and is immediately enlightened.  Though, modern scholars believe the sermon is most likely an invention, it is illustrative of Zen Buddhism, with its emphasis on the experiential over dogma or doctrine.


Relevant to the prompt – the flower held up by Buddha was a lotus.  A zen master would invariably think the thI suppose I should have tried harder, instead of coming up with three tankas to depict the Flower Sermon – in this the flower being lotus – Nelumbo Nucifera, typically, a symbol of purity. It has various meanings to many asian religious traditions, including Buddhism.  The picture is one of yellow flower, typically the Indian Lotus flowers are usually pink.