Regular readers will be aware that we have been rummaging about in our now no longer highly secret underground vault at the Smethwick Works over the last few weeks.
The 1880′s Brooks catalogues we unearthed would appear to have been only the proverbial tip of a truly mammoth iceberg of (some would say literally priceless) antique saddles, commemorative jerseys and other assorted Brooks paraphernalia.
But much like our good friend Kara Ginther, we prefer to see our work in motion rather than hanging on a gallery wall, so various disappointed auctioneers have been politely informed that our precious finds will not be going under the hammer.
They will, instead, largely be going under a few very lucky posteriors.
When the time has come (as it now has) to part with a set of objects whose monetary value is virtually incalculable, the sane person can nowadays have recourse to only one method of dispersal…
The Haiku competition.
We give entrants seventeen syllables to capture a special moment in the saddle. Following the semi-strict guidelines laid down on the Wikipedia page “Haiku”, budding poets may wish to mention the time of year in which they set their haiku, or “implicitly contrast and compare two events, images, or situations”.
The main things, though, are seventeen syllables, and moment in saddle. Some examples-
“The body is carried
Entirely upon the broad
Part of the seat”.
The foregoing has been lifted straight out of the 1912 Brooks catalogue. All it really has going for it is its regulation seventeen syllables. Imaginative verbal conjuring on the reader’s part could certainly get it into bona fide Haiku territory, but poetry should be two-way traffic, and contestants are warned anyway that the practise of cutting and pasting sticks out like a sore thumb, and our judging panel takes a very dim view of it.
“Steep hill, sloppy cadence.
Hare finds wet ditch
As I hyperventilate.”
This is more like it. According to the usual search engine searches, it hasn’t been cogged from somewhere else. Seventeen – check. Moment – check. Saddle – check. Maybe a little too punchy, but submitting work of this standard to the “2011 John Brooks Haiku Invitational” could still result in the author opening a large parcel with a Smethwick postmark on it in a few weeks’ time.
“Snow melts. I take the corner
Sharply, and regret fitting
The big question here, of course, is how many syllables are there in the word “tires”? The answer is one, so we can take a look at the subject matter. For sure, there’s a seasonal cycling moment eloquently captured. It’s certainly worthy of a podium position. Having said that, there are currently only three entries, and one of them has been disqualified for plagiarism.
Get poem-ing and submit your entries here in this post’s Comment Section, or under the “Brooks Haiku Competition” in the Discussions Section of our Facebook page. We hope to publish progress reports as the submissions begin to flood in, singling out our favourites for a bit of the old red-pen treatment.
We cannot emphasize enough quite how special, unique and beautiful our available Brooks prizes are. Certainly worth seventeen syllables of your time over the course of a lazy weekend.