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At Boultbee Towers, the judging panel for our 2011 John Brooks Haiku Invitational has almost reached a preliminary verdict, and is now on the hard road to recovery from Repetitive Stress Injury.
Brought on, you'll understand, not by the ubiquity of (poetic license ahoy) fraying, burning, heaving, freezing, laughing, hammering internal organs on display throughout the (p.l.a.) perspiring, thirsty, hungry avalanche of recent haiku-style offerings from our loyal readership, but rather by the constant finger-flipping which syllable counting necessitates.
Thumbs up to all who took part. Ouch.
There seems at first reading to be an attractive, tangible, yet still hard-to-pin-down touch of the "happy-sads" about Nil's effort. Call it Wesandersonia, if you like.
Bike ride through the snow
seeking some kind of treasure
Toes go numb and hurt
But Nil then spoils the melancholy beauty of the moment by causing us to ask how toes can be numb and sore at the same time.
Paul Wakefield is back with more, throwing quality work around our comments section like an ambassador's butler with a tray of Ferrero Rochers.
Getting in the miles.
Bad case of Monkey butt, now
Brooks no argument.
With this Monkey Butt, you are really spoiling us, Paul. Not the only entrant to (obsequiously?) shoehorn in a "Brooks-brooks" pun over the last few days. But Paul has the gift, alright
Patrick took our recent notes to heart and is back with a reworked seventeen. Talk about constructive criticism!
Long journey ahead
Rolling free of the wake
From the journey behind.
This is much better, and seventeen syllables to boot. It might even constitute poetic genius. It might also just be a bit confusing. Who can tell? At any rate, he drops points for using "journey" twice.
Jack files a postcard moment from downtown, though he's arguably stating a general truth as opposed to capturing a specific moment.
even with urban clutter.
Sunrise from my bike.
We haven't been coming down too heavy on this, though.
Ken's back too.
Like, my rear "clicks" in
Before my pedals can, dude!
Do THAT, Shimano!
Admittedly, not really a moment, and a departure from the generally expected tone of a haiku, but John Brooks always had time for innovators. Ken can do quite a lot with seventeen syllables. Here he is again.
I stare at rivets
As stoker on a tandem.
See 'em in my dreams.
The above is one of approximately three hundred Brooks haikus we received from Ken. Sometimes poetry is its own reward. Other times it gets rewarded with a Limited Edition saddle. This is possibly not one of those times, but Ken will surely have to get something.
Lauren's has symmetry going for it, for starters. And possible magic. Five monosyllabic words in lines 1 and 3.
Ten miles to the pub
Only toast for my breakfast
I hope they serve food.
In line 2, the seven are spread in such a way that, if we view the piece as a whole, it (line 2) takes on the complexion of a syllabically symmetric sandwich filling, with 1 and 3 as the slices of bread. Look at it again. And sandwiches are typically what you get served as food in pubs. Coincidence? We're not so sure.
This one from Seamus Kelly is indicative of a sub-genre which blossomed on our Facebook Haiku page. It's hard to give said sub-genre a name, but its haikus certainly involve Nature conspiring against rider by turning oxygen into something pointy.
Lungs gulp brittle air
Lower gears heavier tyres
The season begins.
Aside from stuff like "The Elements ganged up on me", most self-respecting competitive cyclists tend to have a great technical excuse for when things don't go as planned, and one can almost hear Seamus twistedly bemoaning his "lower gears" and "heavier tyres" in the aftermath of a lung-flaying spin through the muck. Magnifique.
Becca Macauley ticks a lot of boxes on the way to giving us a charming seventeen, we think.
Heart pounding, sweat dripping down,
But how many syllables in "Ahhhhh!"?
In a classic example of Benevolent Dictatorship allowing the Voice of the People be heard, later this evening, or early tomorrow (Friday 25th February) we'll post our favourite five entries on the Brooks Facebook page. Whichever of the five gets the highest number of "likes" by the close of business will be declared winner of our Vans Team Pro, and official Brooks Poet-in-Residence for 2011.