Hippocrates Prize at the 2012 Lichfield Festival

The 2013 Hippocrates Prize for poetry and medicine was launched on 12th July at the Lichfield Festival.  

Hippocrates co-founder Donald Singer discussed the Hippocrates Initiative and launched the 2013 Hippocrates Prize.

Winning poems from previous years of the Hippocrates Prize were read by 2011 Open winner Michael Henry, 2012 Commended poet Tricia Torrington, 2010 and 2011 NHS winner Wendy French.


2011 Open winner Michael Henry, 2012 Commended poet Tricia Torrington, 2010 and 2011 NHS winner Wendy French, Lichfield orgainser Jenny Arthur and Donald Singer at 2012 Lichfield Festival

A discussion about haiku was followed by the opportunity for the audience to write their own. The audience of scientists and engineers were enthusiastic in creating haiku on the day, with the aim of introducing a wide range of medical themes in this accessible short Japanese poetry format.

Here is a selection of the haiku composed by the Lichfield Festival audience.


Gray, pounding rain, wet.

The Sun comes through at last.

A double rainbow.

I’m enjoying this.

But blood pressure much lower

If I were fishing.

Walking to Lichfield

The branches block my way.

Welcome to Garrick.

New life expected:

Years of hope and dreams fulfilled .

May she be born whole?

Back pain, stabbing deep,

Stop, sit, rest, doze, read, hope

Beats pills and patches

Knee cracks painfully.

Salve smoothed on halts agony.

Oh for youth again!

Sonograms sent

Via the internet and distance.

Diagnosis ensues.

I wandered lonely

As a cloud - too late to see

The surgery was shut

Anxiety lurks,

Dampening every spirit.

A rain-soaked August

The old woman’s day

Passes in drug-induced sleep,

Missing the bird’s song

A pain in the neck,

Squeezing, prodding and poking.

Head turns to the Sun

Little old lady,

Frightened bloodied broken. No!

She is my mother.

The op is today.

The high hospital window

Shows a wide world view.

Movement gone, mind free

But Sun still breaks through the clouds.

And life continues.

A frozen shoulder

Crackling like Titanic ice.

Pain moving on, on.

Paranoid – he said:

Seven years towards the cure

Thankfully alive!

Here I am in pain

Waiting for the Sun to shine.

Rain it comes again

English summers now,

Clouds floating across the sky.

Then Sun peeping through!

Penicillin cures

Every patient. Hopes it does.

Bugs need to be foxed

Non malignant mass:

A friend sitting on my face.

Silky with stitches. 

Doctors writing pad:


Poetry, prescription.

Eyes weeping,

Pollen season comes creeping.

Throat sore again.

Lichfield Science talk:

Sorry to leave your lecture.

On way to Norfolk.


Written within the water.

Placebo effect.

Sun this morning lights,

Warms the back and spirits wax.

Joints loosen again.

Intelligence strayed.

Arms like thin weak-branches,

Cold anorexia

Where did my summer go?

Rain-drenched days washed the sodden land.

Continental drift.

Wild dolphins play.

Darkness of depressing lifts,

Healing with a smile

Humanity weeps.

Distended bellies, halved limbs.

No more weapons, please.

My toes are frozen.

The snow falls all around me.

Get me to a fire.

No chips, no pudding,

Clogged arteries last summer.

What can I do now?


Statins, ACE Inhibitors.

Save heart of my heart   

Pain is a quandary,

A clock that chimes at 4am.

Sleep is pure relief.

All down the wide shore

Sand ghosts snake along the ground.

We do not know why.

Scarlet poppies grow,

Stunning splashes of colour.

Escape from your mind.

 © Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com