The 2014 Brooks Haiku Contest Is Moving Along Nicely.

A Gander At What Our Community Is Capable Of When Asked To Wax Lyrical.

17 Feb 2014  |  Posted by GARETH  |  Categories: Art & Design, Bicycles, Correspondence, Curiosities


This one has good biking Haiku moment potential. More here. (Photo Lucas Winzenburg)

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.”
(Christopher Morley)

The dramatic, snake-like hiss of punctured tubes, the vexed question of whether “tyres” is one or two syllables, and lots of people pretending that they go riding when it’s really cold out. You’ve guessed it. It’s Brooks Haiku Contest time again.

And seeing as how it’d be unfair not to provide potential contestants a glimpse of our judging panel’s thought processes, today we take a quick run through what has happened in the Comments section since the weekend.

Fatbike sales must really be through the roof these days. The number of people so far claiming to derive enjoyment from ploughing through blizzards in their spare time has broken all previous Brooks Haiku contest records.

Andrew Harmon had one for us…

Tyres grip tenaciously.
Ice chunks, snow abounds
Secure on my Brooks saddle.

Fine sentiments, but sadly 7-5-7 as opposed to the traditional 5-7-5 syllable division. It seems Andrew noticed the initial error and re-jigged it, but so far has only come up with a 6-5-7 version. Plus, he spelled “tyres” with an “i”. Don’t thank us. But there’s plenty of time to get things straight between now and the end of February.

Minimalist aesthete Lee Smith is also out braving the elements.

Bitterly biting,
Glov’d hands struggle for purchase
On cold, chrome drop bars.

If he’s struggling for purchase, he clearly has no tape or grips on his bars. This would lead us to deduce that he probably also has no brake levers cluttering up his “chrome”. And it’s possibly all his own fault for wearing such light woolly gloves, but we all know that bare bars and those heavy Windstopper Gore-Tex mittens just don’t go together. Nonetheless a lovely haiku, which may be there or thereabouts come late February.

Tanja Cilia weighed in for our reading pleasure with a fabulous quintet of interconnected Haikus, which also manage to each work beautifully as stand-alone pieces. Here’s two of them-

Calves ache, muscles twitch
Feet pumping, wheels eating miles,
I lose ‘track’ of time.

Wind-chill on my face
The smell of burning rubber…
Free-wheeling downhill.

Aching calves have always been a prominent feature of Brooks poetry contests, and we’re delighted to see somebody uphold the fine tradition. But Tanja also floated a new notion, that wheels might have their own digestive system! Probably poetic license or something…

Punctured Richard Kendrick knows we’ve all been there.

Lonesome country road
Whispers from the rushing air
Forgot the damned pump.

In Part 2 we hope to learn if he stuffs it with leaves, shatters the rim, or perhaps finds a can of that solidifying foam stuff lying around somewhere.

Nature conspires against Chris to make his uphill struggle even more of a struggle, though he somehow sounds glad of the breather. Like Andrew earlier, he prefers “tire” for “tyre”. We were happy to help.

Windblown winter climb,
Mostly a thorn in my side,
This time, in my tyre.

While Josh cleverly, perfectly (and doubtless intentionally) nails a moment on his spin.

Pedaling along
My breath makes clouds in the cold
Twenty miles to go.

As long as he’s moving, there’s only one possible moment at which he can have “twenty miles to go”. And as we mentioned before, the Haiku is kind of about nailing a moment. Josh’s Haiku is also 5-7-5, and those breath clouds magically evoke a certain time of year, so he’s ticked a lot of boxes. Will we see him make the final? It’s probably too soon to say.

We’ll take entries in the Comments section below, but preferably here, until the end of February. We leave you with one of our most poetic/obsequious entries to date. Take it away Danny Bower!

No sky and no ground,
Just a Brooks Swallow and I
Gliding through Snowflakes.

We promise not to get tyred of reading fresh submissions, so keep ‘em coming. The prizes will be leather and used for cycling!

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2 Comments

  1. Keegan 
    Posted 12:32 pm
    19 Feb 2014

    The morning commute
    For most, mundane; for me, joy
    All because I ride.

    ——–

    The one thing better
    Than coming home after work:
    To do so by bike

  2. Tanja Cilia 
    Posted 3:55 am
    25 Feb 2014

    On your bike, she said
    And like a fool, I obeyed.
    Now, I’m saddle-sore.
    #####

    This is wheely fun
    Uphill and downhill again.
    Beyond hill and dale.
    #####

    Calves ache, muscles twitch
    Feet pumping, wheels eating miles,
    I lose ‘track’ of time.
    #####

    Wind-chill on my face
    The smell of burning rubber…
    Free-wheeling downhill.
    #####

    Wipe sweat with wrist-band;
    Swing bum to rhythm of heart…
    Where’s the finish line?
    #####