Charlie Cooke (Fr 2015) has been awarded first place in the Principal’s Prize for Poetry for his colourful piece entitled “The post-VD Stretch, a Haiku.” The artist statement and poem is featured below. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
“A Haiku is a form of traditional Japanese poetry that usually contains 17 syllables arranged in a 5-7-5 order.
Although no strict rules apply, it is typically a poem without rhyme, that doesn’t contain metaphor or simile, and that is told without the use of any superfluous words; instead relying on imagery and feeling to convey a message. Due to the few syllables an ‘elliptical’ sentence structure is often used where words are omitted, whilst still allowing for an overall meaning to be inferred. What I personally like about Haiku poems is that due to their brevity they epitomise the ‘definition of poetry’ taught to us in high school, which is “the use of best words in the best order”.
I applied this structure to the setting of a modern hangover. Haiku’s are separated into 3 lines that usually contrast each other in some way. In my poem, the first line describes the sensation, how one feels physically the moments after waking up from a night of drinking. The second line describes some action (or inaction). Something as trivial as reaching for a phone that in this situation has become a challenging task. The third line is a reflection in the form of a text message. The fondly reflective tone of this line is meant to contrast against the discomfort and unpleasantness of the rest of the poem. Instead of the expected feeling of regret, there is satisfaction and happiness.
What I hoped people might take from this poem is that after a night out at St Andrew’s, our hangovers might last a few hours, but due to the type of people at this college, the memories will last forever.”
The post-VD stretch, a Haiku by Charlie Cooke
Eyes viscid, mouth parched.
Bed-bound; stretching for the phone
“What a fucking night.”