Friday / November 16.
HomeFT SelectThe FT’s year in hidden haiku

The FT’s year in hidden haiku

The haiku is a powerful poetic form derived from the original Japanese style, with its structured three lines of five, seven and five syllables. David Lanoue, haiku poet and author, defines it as: “A one-breath poem that discovers connection.” They’re beautiful but not something you expect to find many of in the FT.

However, in a fit of experimentation earlier this year, we created an algorithm that can identify all the fragments of text in FT articles that (entirely accidentally) match the syllable pattern. While most of the matches are nonsense, with some human effort we can pick out those that seem to work as haiku in their own right. Suddenly, Martin Wolf is a poet. So is Lucy Kellaway. Now, at the end of 2016, we can present the year as seen by our writers (albeit unintentionally) in haiku.

By Chris Gathercole, founder of the FT Hidden Haiku project

***

Is the turbulence 
to quote Macbeth a tale told 
by an idiot

Carney’s monetary inactivity is right response 
Martin Wolf, January 21 2016

***

introducing lakes 
moving tatty villages 
if necessary

Screen test: how to create French-style espaliers in the garden 
Robin Lane Fox, January 29 2016

***

but designer pigs 
maybe that’s what Beijing means 
by the new normal

The pampered pigs and happy hens set to save China’s economy 
Patti Waldmeir, February 1 2016

***

Burns advised a mouse 
the best laid schemes too often 
lead to grief and pain

Market turmoil: trail of broken trades forces a rethink 
Dan McCrum, Miles Johnson and David Sheppard, February 12 2016

***

Keynesian slowdown 
in a world economy 
trying to spend less

The consequences of cheap oil 
Tim Harford, February 19 2016

***

yet I realise 
that in clinging on to it 
I’m an oddity

I don’t want to change the world and nor should you 
Lucy Kellaway, February 21 2016

***

no one is punished 
while families have to keep 
their pain to themselves

Venezuela risks a descent into chaos 
Andres Schipani, April 10 2016

***

© Cat O’Neil

written on deadline 
by someone way off his beat 
and out of his depth

Journalists such as Boris Johnson don’t make good prime ministers 
Alan Beattie, June 29 2016

***

a cold hard lesson 
in the demon of hubris 
born of delusion

David Miliband joins Brexit debate 
David Miliband, April 11 2016

***

as she speaks the sun 
breaks through the rain-darkened sky 
illuminating

Glanbia CEO Siobhán Talbot is Ireland’s most senior businesswoman 
Vincent Boland, May 8 2016

***

an arrow pointing 
unceremoniously 
towards his remains

Postcard from . . . Cambodia 
Harriet Fitch Little, June 3 2016

***

telling you again now 
in front of everyone 
to stop doing it

Head slapping Benny Hill-style is a nuisance 
Lucy Kellaway, July 5 2016

***

The sound of gunshots 
explosions and the sonic 
boom of fighter jets

Erdogan claims Turkey coup is crushed 
FT reporters, July 16 2016

***

organisations 
reflect the priorities 
of the powerful

Free Lunch: Play the ball, not the man 
Martin Sandbu, August 12 2016

***

when you know something 
when you care about something 
and you say nothing

Transcript of Alan Rusbridger’s Lunch with the FT with Edward Snowden 
Edward Snowden, September 12 2016

***

© Cat O’Neil

grim countenances 
hiding their secret losses 
and others smiling

Are these the world’s worst cities? 
David Tang, May 5 2016

***

more white older more 
male more religious and more 
likely to be blue

Free Lunch: Trump supporters on the couch 
Martin Sandbu, August 17 2016

***

felt uncomfortably 
like someone had forgotten 
to write the ending

Harry Potter and the Brexit aftermath — coming soon to UK theatre 
Rosemary Squire, September 15 2016

***

spinning cranks and wheels 
unaware that they would lead 
to electric trains

Nano-machine inventors win Nobel chemistry prize 
Clive Cookson, October 5 2016

***

For many members 
a second referendum 
cannot come too soon

SNP members divided on referendum timing 
Mure Dickie and Henry Mance, October 14 2016

***

bewildering mix 
knitted together only 
with populism

Prepare for a reversal of monetary rule under President Trump 
Gillian Tett, November 10 2016

***

jetting round the world 
greasing up to dictators 
and making millions

Tony Blair plans his second coming 
Robert Shrimsley, November 24 2016

***

She does her thing cuts 
her body sits for hours 
in agony burns

Lunch with the FT: radical performance artist Marina Abramovic 
Jan Dalley, December 2 2016

***

am just old enough 
to remember teenage life 
before mobile phones

Sometimes talking, not tech, is the answer to social problems 
Helen Lewis, December 2 2016

***

Illustrations by Cat O’Neil

Via FT