A Calling for Entries in the 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry Contest

August 31, 2011

Announcing the second annual Poetry Contest!

An award will be given to the writer who submits for consideration the most outstanding poem within the realm of health, science, or medicine.

The contest starts today and ends September 30th, 2011. The winners will be chosen shortly thereafter by an elite group of 8 judges (other doctors, friends with literary training, and select bloggers).

The contest is open to everyone.

1st prize – the prestigious, and still pretentiously named, 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry, $500.00, and a homegrown cherry tomato from my garden.

Runner Up – $100.00, and lots of admiration.

Honorable Mention – a commemorative t-shirt, which will probably be funkier than you can imagine.

Poems should be related to experiencing, practicing, or reflecting upon a medical, scientific, or health-related matter.

Last year’s contest was a great success, with over 125 poems submitted for consideration. I received requests from readers to “publish” all the poems as we went along, and so as an improvement this year I’ve established a separate blog (charlesprize.blogspot.com) to share all these great poems. Some highlights will also be posted here on theexaminingroom.com.

So have fun, find inspiration, and send your entry to:
drcharles.examining *at* gmail.com

Rules:
Your poem must have a theme of medicine, science, or health.
You may submit up to 2 poems.
You can submit poems that have been published elsewhere, if you’ve retained the rights.
You can write under your own name, a pen name, or anonymous.
After you enter a poem I will ask your permission to repost it on the blog. You can say yes or no, and this will not affect your chances in any way. You can also ask me to take down a poem at any time and I will. I assert no exclusive rights to the poem whatsoever.

I know there are some extraordinary words waiting to be written, so best of luck, and let the contest begin :)

Coupon or coupon code?

{ 22 comments }

Julia August 31, 2011 at 10:09 pm

How fun!
I’m looking forward to reading, and will need to look up how to write a sestina again.

FDH August 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm

So much
depends

upon a red
tomato

glazed with
dew

beside the
white teeth

O.P.W. Fredericks September 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hello Dr. Charles,

I’d like to post a link to your contest on my blog and on my Facebook page. Would you kindly note where/how entries to the contest are to be submitted.

I also read in your “winners from 2010″ post that the poem, “TO SYLVIA,” by Maria Basile, M.D. received an honorable mention in your 2010 contest. Dr. Basile’s first poetry chapbook, Minimally Invasive: poems on a life in surgery, is forthcoming from The Lives You Touch Publications, to which I am the editor. The chapbook will include “TO SYLVIA” as well as its companion poem, “No More Sullen Art.” The chapbook it will also contain many of her poems about surgery and the surgeon.

O.P.W. Fredericks

drc – Thank you for your comment, and I really enjoy Maria’s poetry. Please let us know when her book is available for purchase!
Entering poems into the contest is very informal, just email to drcharles.examining *at* gmail.com.
This post you commented on [http://theexaminingroom.com] would be a suitable landing point for your link (thank you), or you could point directly to the more dedicated [http://charlesprize.blogspot.com] which will be focused only on this contest.

Just got the first poem entry today, very much looking forward to more, so thanks for spreading the word.

Ruth F. Harrison September 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Ruth F. Harrison
2710 NW Bayshore Loop
Waldport, OR 97394

Poem submitted:

Galileo: moment of truth

The heroes of our youth … yes, let me sing
homage to bless and praise those mentors who
knew and described the wonders of the earth
we found ourselves alive on, sought to tell
its boundaries and beyond; all creatures we
might one day meet when walking in a wood;
the names of stone, of mountain, flower, and star …
One such was Galileo, like us bent
on knowing truth. First space explorer, he:

7 January, 1610 A.D.
inventor, scientist, in middle years,
he sits before his window just at dusk
to watch night fall to see a point of light
above the roof of the Basilica
of San Antonio in Padua.
He aims his tube where he has looked before …
Thus, eagerly, a lover turns his eyes
to his bright lady, scanning every look
and change of weather in her countenance
as if for wonders beyond fathoming,
so Galileo scanned the winter sky.

A month before, among more distant stars
the seeker crossed the heavens with his scope
and watched bright reaches flower before his eyes
a myriad stars backing the Pleiades …
He’d noted one bright orb among the spires–
but now he holds his newest telescope
whose lenses he has ground to such a power
objects are magnified one-thousand times.
Tonight, the planet does not rise alone:
companioning fair Jupiter are three
then four small stars to see, all in a line
yet night by night he sees their places change
and always near to Jupiter, aligned
and moving with their world. He thinks about
our earth’s companion moon, and knows he sees
a paradigm for movement in the spheres.
“The worlds do move. They are not fixed,” he says.

No adumbration yet of what’s to come:
Not yet the sullen anger of Paul V,
the pope who banned what was beyond his grasp
(and there was much) nor envious bishops near,
small men of spite, nor credulous folk whose heads
held clerical opinion up for fact
and knew the shining moon as one smooth mirror
set out in space to pour its light at man’s
nocturnal need … Tonight truth shows herself
before the mind which looked for her in awe
with strict respect for fact in what he saw.

Tal Berkowitz September 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

(Previously submitted to Pharos poetry contest)
The Harder Half
The Grandma in the hospice lay, as if she 
waited for the day

That from the moment we see light, if life be day, we call it night.

And as she slept, and as she dreamed, and as her alveoli teemed

With grinning Strepto Pneumococc: “The old man’s friend,” the “Reaper’s Rock,”

She thought of times that had gone by, she thought of prayers without reply.

She wished that as she slipped away some kind words would her doctor say;

But as she woke she only heard an unfamiliar Latin word,

Abbreviations spelling death, with species names that steal your breath.

She thought she heard that Legionnaire’s, in pipes while we sit unawares,

Could rend her fragile septa twain, but still the doc did not explain.

So on she lingered in her daze while diplococci swam the maze,

Their capsules like an armored vest against the PMNs they pressed.

“Could it be Staph?” the doctor said, with differentials in his head.

“Hemolysis I do propose, lets see what sheep’s blood agar grows.”

Then Klebsiella next he pondered, perhaps inside this woman wandered

Small immotile gluc fermenters, obliterating pneumo centers.

And as he thought bacteria from Anthrax to Listeria

To Pseudomonas with green glow, what dealt the patient’s greatest blow,
‘Twas not the pain inside her chest, ’twas not her chronic lack of rest,

‘Twas not the bedsores near her spine that hindered her from feeling fine.

It lay about one foot above her lungs, and when push comes to shove,

Inside her mind the real pain stood, the symptoms of a life that would,

Or could. Of “maybe’s,” and “I’ll try’s;” a life that’s told in dismal sighs.

What if she’d made her dreams come true? But now her lips were turning blue,

Her skin now pale, her breaths were short, her O2 sats a bad report.

And all aware the end was near, she spoke with cough, and sang through tear.

And to the doctor was revealed the diagnosis, long concealed,

For treating which no balms exist in Gilead or Pharmacist.

A challenge which his science tests had sinfully left unaddressed.

And so removing coat and tie he looked his patient in the eye,

He sat beside her, took her hand, he felt her fingers, coarse like sand.

He told a tale of how she’d shown a doctor who had never known

Though half his job was diagnosis, giving drugs to help prognosis,

Yeah! the other, harder half that wrapped Asclepius’ staff

Was not taught in pathology, p-phys, or pharmacology,

And as the streptococci roared, blood pressure dropped, and fever soared,

As blood from oropharynx lept, death cloaked as sepsis in he crept,

Our heroine smiled, her mind at ease, the doctor fell upon his knees.

Through watered eyes he saw a smile, our heroine left a life worthwhile.

Tal Berkowitz September 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Et Tu Rugae?

For your diet don’t fry it don’t smoke it or salt it
Just boil it and add-on no sauce to exalt it
Do not drink it with whiskey or vodka or wine
Do not sprinkle with nitrates, they’re way out of line
Stay away from Pylori, the Helicobacter
And take your B12 and your intrinsic factor
Do not move to Japan if you’re preadolescent
And keep all of your stomach until you’re senescent
Your blood group I guess I can’t tell you to change
And family’s family, normal or strange
But avoidable risks, you must give it your best
So that cancer of stomach won’t lay you to rest

Shaw Kenawe September 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

SCORPION ENVY

Because he has no prick, a scorpion thrusts
his pedipalps and grasps his gal to coax
her in a cunning promenade-de-deux.
And she, in earnest to perpetuate

her kind, is keen to work with nature’s lack.
With eager stings he urges her to thrill
herself upon a stick he’s oozed with sperm
from his horny absence. She submits,

and sits upon the fertilized imposter
then asks him “Do you come here often?”
Love’s labor on a log in desert sand
secures his progeny, his generation.

He conquered, came, reproduced disphallicly.
His issues met, his race is in the hole.

Justin Horowitz September 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm

An ode to constipation:
Oh poop, are you shitting me?
I want you in my toilet swimmingly
Instead you have contracted and compacted
In my colon, quite impacted
The specious streak on the paper
Not feces but instead the consequence of sex with Feraligatr
I should invest in softer toilet tissue

mjs September 13, 2011 at 1:08 am

The Sunlight Came in Through a Measurable Door

the sunlight came in through a measurable door
that opened on water and danced at the shore
the beams were but particles I caught in my gaze
that turned and returned in the form of great waves
it’s a certain uncertainty, a past made pluperfect
for what had transpired led to different verdicts
an absolute fuzzy, a gray apparition
indeterminate forms, a quantum perdition
if “a” is not ” b” that is all fine and dandy
when “a” is not “a” I reach for the brandy
for Science is not, at it’s ultimate core
a place where the facts become metaphor
where meaning meanders, where evidence flounders
where logic and reason are left to sand-pounders
results must be tested! beware of rank sophistry!
and though life is elegant there’s no testing poetry!
unless, to be fair, you have walked on that path
where Euclid and Escher take turns with the math
where Alice descends with animals feral
and dodges the facts laid out by olde Carroll
but I fear that I stray from the points on the compass
and lessons are tossed as we frolic and rumpus
Science, dear Science is not weakened in light
nor does it seek ridiculous fights
can you imagine, when sitting with friends
picking a conflict with Spinoza’s lens?
or shaking a fist at the stars and the moon
while performing autopsies on the cat and the spoon?
subject and object, the yin and the yang
went out with Einstein and came in with a bang
but where to go now, in theory and thought?
and what is the point, when surrounded with rot?
that is the secret, that is the glory!
when faced with the lie to give lie to the story!
and seek not to win in a joust with a fool
the subject and object are not in a duel
Science is not circumscribed by the narrow
and space will but bend the straightest of arrows
subject and object, particle, wave
the ultimate truth or a game ‘fore the grave?
you are a particle, you are a wave
nothing is spent for nothing is saved!
and if you are anxious, if the floor starts to give
fear not the uncertain, it’s how we all live!

***

Patrick Wm. Connally September 13, 2011 at 1:15 am

By the stream of photons
Traveling since time was first seen
Radiating out from singularity
Still reported on my TV

Past elements shaped in movement
Pulling together giant lenses of gravity
Waves of scattered matter formed
Three generations from a star’s gut

Mud on the planet, light and molecules
Together in a chain, a replication, a reaction
The joining of elements, Darwin proving
The energized protein, the chains of joining

The dividing, the infecting, the eating, the budding
the socialized, the sexes growing bigger
Cells, division, replication, selection, the sensing
The sub atomic joining building to sense, remember, discover

The stream of photons traveling since time was first seen.

—-Thank you to the folks who brought us The Hubble Telescope.

Bruce Gorton September 13, 2011 at 4:01 am

Is this contest open internationally?

drc – Yes!

Gary Andrews September 13, 2011 at 7:53 am

Garyandrews.mail@gmail.com

Poem submitted:

There is no resisting the seas when they rise
Relentless dispassionate and cold.
No thought for priests or kings who went about this world
Ruling
Responsible
Invoking myth to temper the tempest.
Erecting monuments
Stone gaze across the water below the heavens
Where sun and moon negotiate the movements
Of our oceans massive waves.
The inching quality of glacial remains.
And we
We proud and paultry
We build walls.
Higher and higher
Deeper and wider
Billions of bodies shoulder the water
“Give us some space
to feed and find mates
pass on our genes
and what we have learned
of what to expect
from the clockwork of tides”
But if Earth has her way and we’re set adrift
And we have our we and live behind walls
The glorious order ordained by the heavens
The push and pull of gravity
Guiding
Giving us time to
Plant
To ponder
To wonder
At the deepest cracks on her face.
The wisened visage
Of a woman who has seen
Too many wars
Too many walls
Too many men who believe
The moon is only as big as it seems
Or
The sun has a soft spot for you and for me
Or
That by building walls
As high as we can
It is we who decide the dominion of man.

gary andrews September 13, 2011 at 9:08 am

this is the actual entry for the contest. the previous post was the draft. i apologize for the confusion.
Garyandrews.mail@gmail.com

Poem submitted: There is no resisting the seas when they rise

There is no resisting the seas when they rise
Relentless dispassionate and cold.
No thought for priests or kings who went about this world
Ruling
Responsible
Invoking myth to temper the tempest.
Erecting monuments
Stone gaze across the water below the heavens
Where sun and moon negotiate the movements
Of our oceans massive waves.
The inching quality of glacial remains.
And we
We proud and paultry
We build walls.
Higher and higher
Deeper and wider
Billions of bodies shoulder the water
“Give us some space
to feed and find mates
pass on our genes
and what we have learned
of what to expect
from the clockwork of tides”
The glorious order ordained by the heavens.
The push and pull of gravity
Guiding
Giving us time to
Plant
To ponder
To wonder
At the deepest cracks on her face.
The wisened visage
Of a woman who has seen
Too many wars
Too many walls
Too many men who believe
The moon is only as big as it seems
Or
The sun has a soft spot for you and for me
Or
That by building walls
As high as we can
It is we who decide the dominion of man.

Claire September 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

Do i just post my submission to the blog?

drc – please enter poems by emailing them to me as noted above in the post. thanks!

Lin September 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

Lin Chambers
Poem submitted: “A Child’s Eyes”

How wondrous
A child’s eyes
At the sight of
A swimming bear
The implosion of a heated pop can
The march of ants
The glow of the moon
The crash of lightning
The chemistry of mama’s cooking –
Be it cupcakes to eat or slime for play.
The twinkle of fireflies
The falling of snow
The fluttering of a butterfly
The rumble of an engine
The discovery of bones.

I never want to grow up.

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Eben Gering September 13, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Hemoglobin

Two α-chains, two β-chains, four ferrous rings,
one heterotetramer cradling eight inspired Os.

Where atmospheres reverse, you awaken;
meteor ablaze in a planet’s embrace.

Your losses fuel my distal imaginings,
stoke the capillary beds of my fingers and eyes.

Shepherd of soluble flames, you were born in my bones,
and for all of your life you will orbit my heart.

Gideon Cecil September 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

AIDS

You are like a rose blooming at dawn
your soul like the wind giving you life
before you were born.
Life is a choice;so make the right choice,
and you won’t earn aids as a prize.

A university student fell in love with his lover called death,
he had unprotected sex then breathe his last breath.
His lovely smile like a rose fell at noon,
he fell in love with his death so soon.

She kissed him goodbye after sex with a text message on his phone:
”Welcome my love to my world of aids!I am not alone!
Come die with me and be my friend like the fallen flower,
I come to take your soul away because I have the power.

Life is a choice learn to live it with a dream,
Abstain from sex you won’t die with a scream.
Go to school and don’t be a fool,
Forget about sex;you will do well at school.

The wind is coming in the rains again,
birds are clapping in the angry rain.
Be like the fresh flower at the break of day,
Learn to amend your ways and learn to pray.

Gideon Cecil September 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I am delighted to participate into your open poetry contest.The poem I wrote is a message to the young and old to abstain from unprotected sex in this world of aids.
It’s a message about the choices we make in life untimately that will give us a better future.

Gideon Cecil September 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Poetry is food for the soul and messages of hope to build a better foundation of divine expression to the world of hopeless souls.

Mary Anne Cohen September 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

Vaccines

A line of children come from school
Girls in plaid dresses, braids,
Boys in white shirts, fifties haircuts,
some were crying, all afraid
Doctors in stark white, with needles like cannons
aimed at our small arms.

“Polio Pioneers”, the first brave shots, a bit of pain,
But we would not have withered legs like Uncle Stanley,
a wheelchair like the lady down the street.
We would not have canes, leg braces, or dreaded
Iron Lung half-life seen
In March of Dimes displays
Our mothers could stop fearing summer,
send us to the pool again
Another dread disease stopped dead
by modern science

Now New Age nutters rail against vaccines
wear their ignorance like tie-dye shirts
years out of style, “All Natural, man!”
“No chemicals, Organic”

As natural as the rows of little graves
in any ancient graveyard, young lives cut short,
tombstones leaning
with an awful grief, five children in one family
dead in one black week
Of sickness we can now prevent
with a small shot
Death is natural, organic, impartial
Dust to dust.

We have won an awful war.
A pox , a literal pox,
on those whose warped beliefs
kill babies, whose ignorance and arrogance
throws victory away

They all should go to those small graves,
read the mothers’ grief, fathers’ helpless pain.
See the blood on their own hands
hang their heads in shame

James Ph. Kotsybar September 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm

COMMENTS FOR THIS ENTRY ARE CLOSED
– James Ph. Kotsybar

When the general public hears about
A breakthrough in scientific research
They want to add their voices to the shout,
So as not to feel they’re left in the lurch.
That they have opinions, there is no doubt.

They’ll foist themselves into the dialogue,
When something sensational’s put in print.
Though their comments reveal they’re in a fog
Without having the slightest clue or hint,
It won’t prevent them posting to the blog.

Most often, all they can add is their moan:
“Why can’t science leave well-enough alone?”

Martin Richard October 1, 2011 at 2:10 am

Schrodinger’s Dolphin

Some say the dolphin does not exist
Until we see him
That when he wheels between the mountains
And the image of the moon
It is our minds which do the leaping
Not the dolphin.

Others scoff.
Did the dolphin not exist
Before the Greeks encircled their amphorae
With the image of his dance?
The dolphin does not need
And never needed us
To prance.

But yes, but yes, they answer!
It is we who have the dolphin conjured
From our love and admiration!

Not so! Not so! Some others say!
The dolphin merely travels as a wave
Beneath them!
Contracting to particulars
When it pleases him to please us
And be seen!

The dolphin smiles
He knows he swims all possible paths
A happy few of which we see
But yet he fills completely
The width and breadth and depth the Gulf
Of our Unknowing.

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