teaching job
the weight of new keys

Matt Hetherington


The first day of school is scary. Newness has gravity for students and teachers too. I loved being reminded about the anxiety of newness here.

I was attracted to Matt’s haiku because it is evocative. It belongs to a time. In an era of fobs and swipe passes, I’m not sure there are keys on rings and chains anymore. But I remember when there were.

teaching job

A new teaching job is available and advertised, school term has begun. Classes have been planned and the new teacher has the job. Starting anew is what learning is all about and this teacher is fresh, an unknown quantity.

the weight of new keys

This haiku works well in two lines, each word in the second line, like the keys, gathers weight, they collect and belong upon a single chain. Keys have gravity, they unlock. En masse, students come together in the hope of knowledge and the keys to wisdom, the keys become symbols. Keys are talismans, spells against the closed and locked away. The new teacher will have a plan. A new strategy to open the future.

There’s a multi-sensory immediacy to Matt’s haiku, a cinematic edit. Long shot; teaching job, that jump cuts to a close up; the jingle-jangle and mass of a new set of keys.

To show rather than tell, Matt is showing us a cast of characters via our hero (perhaps our villain?)… a new teacher. Just beyond our main character, lie a bunch of further players, students. Awaiting the new, open doors.

Haiku first published: Windfall: Australian Haiku Issue 7, 2019

Selection and commentary by Jahan Tyson

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