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"I discovered the Theory of Relativity while riding a bicycle." ~ Albert Einstein ~

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

A series poetry challenge

The leader of a poetry group that I know challenged the group to write a poem a day for a week for the next group meeting. Generally I don't think much of this kind of thing but in this case it looked like a good place for some constrained writing:

I decided that some kind of form built around the English vowels (a,e,i,o,u,y) would be appropriate. Only 6, but the way I chose to work out of that was to have one verse for each vowel where the only vowel permitted was the vowel in the order they appear in the 14 letter, 5 syllable title, "a locust in rhyme" and since the title suggest swarming rhyme I chose a rhyme pattern and a syllable count. The line syllable count is based on the Fibonacci Series, 1,2,3,5, (8), 13 [the next term is the sum of the previous two]---the rhyme scheme is apparent in the reading.

a locust in rhyme

M: as fast
as a cast
can act and what all
bands call

T: or not,
for cold shots,
sold off howls, on long
lost song

W: push pull
dumb luck, full
cup, suck up, slum run,
pun fun,

T: shit, this
night flight is
in with its white light
still bright,

F: fly hy
myth. Slyly
cry, “... by gypsy Wyrds
gyp Byrds

S: clever
schlepp! Never
help the blessed best,
let jest

S: be. Why
it’s four eyes
and ewes our bees wing

The line syllable count is 2,3,5,2,1 the sum of which is 13 (a Fibonacci number), one vowel per syllable plus the one in the title gives a total of 14 for each of the the 1-6 reverse-lipograms stanzas. The seventh stanza takes off and does some things with all of the vowels, "e" is special in that there are 7 in the seventh stanza for 21 total in the poem and 21 is the next number in the Fibonnaci Series after 13, i.e. 13+8=21.

There are other things like the silent 8 in line 3 of the seventh, the vowel-sound consistency of the seventh with the pattern of 1-6, the vowel sound interchanges, plus all kinds of numerical resonances.

It was a fun challenge after all, and a nice place to use constraints.

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