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11 February 2011 70 comments

The 2011 John Brooks Haiku Invitational.

Events
By GARETH
The 2011 John Brooks Haiku Invitational.


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

Studded tires."

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.

Comments
Riding perfection

warm sun, cool breeze, flawless shifts
Ann Schneider 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Snow filled environ
Velo dreams left unfulfilled
Sun and hopes arise
Ann Schneider 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Miles glide below
Legs churning on, buttery,
Brooks leather abides.
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
No pain here. Not numb.
Can't believe how far I've come.
Leather butt hammock.
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Steep descent thrilling

Machine parts and body in sync

Handle bar slip spills
Ann Schneider 23 May 2016 at 15:29
If I keep riding
Maybe you'll be able to
See the brass rivets.
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Sweet Proofide
Sun on hammered rivets
Ride to the river
Love Freedom
Adam Zlotnick 23 May 2016 at 15:29
My new bicycle.
My eighteen year old saddle.
A perfect marriage.
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
A vanishing point
To which the road disappears
I pedal onward.
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
My hands tense. Brakes squeal.
Switchback. Straightaway. Switchback.
I wanna do it again!
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Hammering warms me
As the crisp air bites my face
Water bottles freeze.
Bryan Rierson 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Arms sore. Hands cramping.
Lactic acid soaks my legs.
(My bum's SO comfy.)
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
All around leaves fall
They crunch as I roll along
Cool air fills my lungs.
Twells 23 May 2016 at 15:29
After such a climb,
Gravity becomes my friend.
King of the World, Ma!
Ken Wolfe 23 May 2016 at 15:29
Up and over hill
Tires whining on asphalt I
fly and speak with gods
Andrew Marchant-Shapiro 23 May 2016 at 15:30
All around leaves fall,
They crunch as I roll along.
Cool air fills my lungs.
Bitter cold descends.
Despite the ice I ride on,
The journey beckons.

The sun warms cold soil.
I ride past new daffodils,
Sweet smells fill the air.

Warm moist air hangs thick
Downshifting I sprint onward.
The ride is the goal.
TWells 23 May 2016 at 15:30
I apologize for the re-submission, the format was mangled...
Four Haiku in series, intoning the spirit of each season.
**************************

All around leaves fall,
They crunch as I roll along.
Cool air fills my lungs.
************************

Bitter cold descends.
Despite the ice I ride on,
The journey beckons.
************************

The sun warms cold soil.
I ride past new daffodils,
Sweet smells fill the air.
*************************

Warm moist air hangs thick
Downshifting I sprint onward.
The ride is the goal.
Twells 23 May 2016 at 15:30
May I submit more than one please? If not please accept number 1/ as my contribution to your wondrous game.

Thanks

Thom

1/
Silent blossoms fall
obscuring hasty repairs,
Wheels whir softly

or

2/
Winter frost makes
eyes water from gravity's
acceleration

or

3/
In low and out high,
Back wheel escapes control, that
must be the black ice

or

4/
Legs pumping through rain,
the constriction shows cyclists
can't wear skinny jeans

I put these on the Facebook page also, but this way you have all my details.
Thom Denton 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Lovely worn saddle
cradles my buttocks concave
toward vanishing point
Reid 23 May 2016 at 15:30
burning lungs hungry
for more road and many miles
go until I sleep
Reid 23 May 2016 at 15:30
A nice Brooks saddle
Will last my butt a life time,
Makes my bike classy.
Michael Perry 23 May 2016 at 15:30
In case you'd not feel comfortable publishing my "butt" :-}

A nice Brooks saddle
Will serve my seat a life time,
Makes my bike classy
Michael Perry 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Tarmac is hot and
Legs are aching. Cross the line,
Last. But arms aloft.
Ian Facer 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Here, dissolve yourself
Into this saddle, you'll have
No complications
Reid 23 May 2016 at 15:30
on the path racer
drop down into a deep tuck
must outrun the sun

stop for a late supper
back outside turn on the light
only 100km to go

sunny warm spring day
hibernation is over
i have miles to ride

early morning ride
took right hand corner too fast
here comes the asphalt
trevor 23 May 2016 at 15:30
handlebar flower
longs to dance, to reach to fly
shore breeze comes to play
Jennifer Friesen 23 May 2016 at 15:30
target just ahead
legs outstretched, eyes closed tight
puddle sprays fender
Jennifer Friesen 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Flying down the hill,
Wheels spinning, wind rushing by...
A cat appears...Crash!

Slowly pedaling,
Heart pounding, sweat dripping down,
To...the...sum-mit...Ahhhhh!
Becca McCauley 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Flying down the hill,
Wheels spinning, wind rushing by…
A cat appears…Crash!
Becca McCauley 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Slowly pedaling,
Heart pounding, sweat dripping down,
To…the…sum-mit…Ahhhhh!
Becca McCauley 23 May 2016 at 15:30
squeaky front hub sings
annoying to others
my sweet lullaby
Jennifer Friesen 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Pounding, pumping heart
Back down into the saddle
Ragged breath, open road
David Barnard 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Bike straddled
Roads travelled
Comfortable, on my trusty Brooks saddle
Liz Farnworth 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Sorry I sent off my haiku without putting in the title bit, but I am sure you guessed that. I repeat it below just in case...

Bike straddled
Roads travelled
Comfortable, on my trusty Brooks saddle
Liz Farnworth 23 May 2016 at 15:30
It doesn't say if you are restricted to one entry... here's another for the chance of winning your super prize

Cogs, wheels, and pedals turn,
Chains thrum,
Tyres hiss,
Miles pass,
Brooks, cakes and tea...
Bliss!
Liz Farnworth 23 May 2016 at 15:30
In the hands of the maker:

Whether the leather
Or the way it is treated
Hot - cold best seated

Or in the hands of the rider:

Weather the leather
Proofide for a special treat
All year - your shape seat
George Plumbly 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Heart thumping up hill
Eyes streaming on the descent
Brakes not working HELP!!!
Paul Betts 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Winter sun, Crisp frosty hills, Seat,  
All rising low, 
Comfort the worn Brookes  
Charlie worsfold 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Lungs gulp brittle air
Lower gears heavier tyres
The season begins
Seamus Kelly 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Pick a line, no brakes
Relax and look well ahead,
Nail it every time
Seamus Kelly 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Victor's arms held high
Looser barely hides his pain
Did the best man win?
Seamus Kelly 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Spring breezes, spokes whirl
As bikes whiz by, elated.
A young doe looks on.
Becca McCauley 23 May 2016 at 15:30
riding perfection

warm sun, cool breeze, flawless shifts

saddle unnoticed
Ann Schneider 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Autumn rain falling
a perfect day far from home
no cape, leather saddle
fullface 23 May 2016 at 15:30
hot hot day no clouds
sweat dripping saturated clothes
wanting skin against leather
fullface 23 May 2016 at 15:30
On top of the hill
waiting for the dropped ones
warm saddle cold toes
fullface 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Live oak acorns crushed
by tires, my saddle is air
cushioning the blows.
Brent Badeaux 23 May 2016 at 15:30
my green Brooks saddle
now blackened from many miles
no regrets, ever
fullface 23 May 2016 at 15:30
my brooks saddle well used
the green a blackened memory
no regrets, ever
fullface 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Sun melts lethargy
under a blanket of snow,
ride onward to spring
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Pace and pulse quicken,
rider and bike become one
well-supported soul
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Dreams hidden within
a resonant lugged steel frame,
my saddle my throne
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
The road quivering,
or perhaps my heart
ecstasy on wheels
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Upon a winter's road
Derailleur
I pick myself up
Alex Benyon 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Mist droops tree branches
drops strike me though my helmet
rubber steel leather
Richard Kizu-Blair 23 May 2016 at 15:30
This morning it rains
I have a saddle cover
but must write haiku
Richard Kizu-Blair 23 May 2016 at 15:30
For a long distance
I like a leather saddle
It comforts like home
Richard Kizu-Blair 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Lost among the clouds
thin air and gathering mist
the valley beckons
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Flying without wings
atop a leather saddle
on rideable art
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
No helmet felt good.
I was young, wind in my face
I had more hair then
Richard Kizu-Blair 23 May 2016 at 15:30
The distance makes me
anxious, angry. Thank you
cow, for this saddle.
Richard Kizu-Blair 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Like wool, leather is
natural. Naturally,
it makes me happy.
Richard Kizu-Blair 23 May 2016 at 15:30
The road quivering,
or perhaps it is my heart
ecstasy on wheels
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Why leather why wool
on a classic bicycle
because it feels real
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Ease off the rivet
enjoy the beauty of spring
sit back and relax
Ron Leach 23 May 2016 at 15:30
My green brooks saddle

out lasted my marriages

perfect winter ride
fullface 23 May 2016 at 15:30
I struggle uphill,
To get to the Hare and hounds,
shit, chain has come off
Joe Morris 23 May 2016 at 15:30
So hard to the hand
Leather without spring is so
soft to the bottom
Terry Hutt 23 May 2016 at 15:30
Depression
Oppression
Regretion
No More
I'm Free
Thanks John Boulbee
Anthony Waite 23 May 2016 at 15:30
It is just not there.
The autumn leaves have a familiar colour.
Suddenly I realize my Brooks. 
Peter Möricke 23 May 2016 at 15:30