Back in 1996, I had an idea. I think this idea was somehow inspired by my high school friend, Robin and by the latest advance in communication—email.
The idea: SPAM® haiku.
At the time, I had 34, what we now call, contacts. They included Robin, of course, several university friends, and my colleagues at Abbotsford Christian School. I sent them all an email soliciting haiku poems on the subject of SPAM. I mean the “meat” that comes in the blue can, not the unwanted messages that inundate your inbox.
Ed Noot was, at first, reticent:
SPAM haiku you say?
What a total waste of time
Robin submitted this poem on SPAM origins:
A G.I.’s glad feast
Legacy of World War Two
Like the atom bomb
Ed Noot and I were on the same wavelength with these:
Ultra preserved slabs
Of petrified pork and stuff
Last for a decade
Found at future dig
Pink cube, icon of lost age
My dear friend from university, MaryLou, must have been thinking of SPAM continuously, because she wrote so many. Here are two samples:
I gravely wonder,
What type of meat comes in cans?
Hidden from sight by can.
Oh, hidden temptress.
Many of the poems were about the mysterious ingredients in SPAM. This one comes from Henry, who is currently working at Langley Christian School:
Juicy pink mouthful
Red dye number 6
Some of my favourite contributions lead to more philosophical speculations. This one came from Ken, my friend and pastor at the time:
Considering our life spam
Giving SPAM away
Another from MaryLou, this haiku smells of cultural commentary:
It’s the pig’s part melting pot
Roy Van Eerden thought:
It can’t be all bad
After all Costco sells it
Three for five eighty nine
This is a Mike Bakker contribution:
An offering pink
Given but not welcoming
Smirks at our unease
I think this was written by former colleagues, Jeannette Berkenbosch and Karen Van Egmond:
Smooth and jellied meat
Slides down my esophagus
And back up again
I have attempted to relive the magic of the SPAM Haiku Email Project in my English 12 class with some success. It was a lot of fun to introduce students to this much maligned delicacy in order to unlock their creative impulses.
But I will never forget the original which brought together dear friends from my past with those of my present.
Feel free to pick up a can of SPAM, and after you open, smell, taste and study the pink contents of the blue can, submit your three line (5 syllable, 7 syllable, 5 syllable) poem in the comment section below.