55Saturday: The Poetry of Math Edition

Our resident bean left us a comment which reminded me that we wrote haikus to celebrate a rather obvious holiday two months ago. This, of course, made me feel guilty for being tardy with the 55Friday flash fiction free-for-all, so to distract myself from the shame, thoughts of a third writing exercise which employs “resource constraints” came to mind. Behold, a “Fib”:

Blogs spread
gossip
and rumor
But how about a
Rare, geeky form of poetry? [linky-poo]

What is a “Fib”? It’s a six-line poem inpired by the Fibonacci (Cough! Hemachandra Cough!) sequence, which controls how many syllables can be in each line.

The allure of the form is that it is simple, yet restricted. The number of syllables in each line must equal the sum of the syllables in the two previous lines. So, start with 0 and 1, add them together to get your next number, which is also 1, 2 comes next, then add 2 and 1 to get 3, and so on…Fibs…top out at line six, with eight syllables.[linky-poo]

According to the afore-linked NYT article, April just happens to be National Poetry Month AND Mathematics Awareness Month, so the sudden craze for “fibs” seems especially appropriate. Know what else is apposite?

The earliest known reference to Fibonacci numbers is contained in a book on meters called Chhandah-shāstra (500 BC) by an Indian mathematician named Pingala. As documented by Donald Knuth in The Art of Computer Programming, this sequence was described by the Indian mathematicians Gopala and Hemachandra in 1150, who were investigating the possible ways of exactly bin packing items of length 1 and 2. [wiki]

Paging “Everything-is-Yindian”-Uncle!

I know I usually name our nanofiction-orgies after some much-adored song in my catalog of tunes which I cried to in high school and or watched on “120 Minutes”, but I’m so fascinated by this “new haiku” that I’ll refrain from capping this post with an angst-ridden hat. Everything else is the same as it ever was, so leave your bit o’ brilliance (or a link to where we can find it) in the comments below. 55-word gems which tell a story, haikus which reference mezze and poetry which reminds me of that mindless Da Vinci code…come fifty-five, come all.

37 thoughts on “55Saturday: The Poetry of Math Edition

  1. Anna,

    I was going to email you and suggest this for a fifty-five! Great minds…. Yay!

  2. sharp, like your sepia toned flavour, your fine shuttered breaths.

    ~for love of SM :)

  3. Hold up.
    This just ain’t right. As an engineer and one who craves mathematical order these attempts are irking me mightily. There should really be two constraints here and people are getting away with satisfying just one (which is fine and nobody will judge you, carry on). If you want to be TRULY Da Vinci worthy and make SM readers wet then you will satisfy both the Fibonacci sequence and use 55 words to do so. You will need a few more numbers in the sequence to even attempt such a feat: 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34

    Yes. That is a challenge.

  4. Oi! can oihoi count or not? see, fibs go like this: 6 lines – 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8

    *sorry!

  5. Fine. But just realize you asked for it…

    Nerds. Geeks. Nerdy, Geeky nerds. Reluctant lusting. I guess my fetish is now out. My delicious succulent need for the nerdy geeks. An endless desire appeased only by watching ‘Revenge of the Nerd’ marathons. And by the geeky nerdy Sepia mutineers that constantly comment with every click of the reload button on my tool bar.

    So THERE.

  6. – oh you nerdy math cravers: here is a poem for Fibonacci fifty-five – every morning is the same, laden with dust or rain but today, oh, today I discovered mathematical grace, Fibonacci style. ItÂ’s crystalline, lucid geometry, poetry and math – international delight: what would Hemachandra think of fifty-five words?

    • 0
    • is
    • what
    • she called
    • the blogger
    • despite his good heart.
    • He traveled the world after that
    • trying to mend the broken thing in opium filled
    • internet cafes. Finally, in Tanzania he destroyed his computer by
    • incinerating it. “I donÂ’t need no water let the motherfcker burn. Burn motherfcker,” he yelped emphatically into the sky

    (HA! I even used the Zero :)

  7. Hold up.
    This just ain’t right. As an engineer and one who craves mathematical order these attempts are irking me mightily. There should really be two constraints here and people are getting away with satisfying just one (which is fine and nobody will judge you, carry on). If you want to be TRULY Da Vinci worthy and make SM readers wet then you will satisfy both the Fibonacci sequence and use 55 words to do so. You will need a few more numbers in the sequence to even attempt such a feat:
    0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34
    Yes. That is a challenge.

    okay–here goes:

    grass, pear, cherry, daffodils, forsythia, magnolia trees in bloom! tints and tones and shades of winterÂ’s camouflage and small sharp tracery of bud branches remind me that my word painter and my light painter are flown a great wide sky length from hereÂ…. for spring solace, I turn to the stern beauty of unseen logic.

  8. It has nothing to do with the topic or format at hand, but I’ve been dying to share it’s emo angsty glory.

    Sitting in the cafe, I stare into my tea, frothy and swirling like the maelstrom that is my emotions. I glance at my phone, for the 20th time in as many minutes. This is the one, this time I’ll do it. I come to her name, and press the Button, “I love you.” “I dont.”

  9. black pen misplaced carelessly among old journals filled with stories of the past i had spent the entire morning looking for them but now I am captivated by the pen and the future that waits to be written

  10. oopsi. im a moron. i did 55 syllables. well, 54 cuz thats what the first 8 numbers of the sequence add up to… well 53 cuz i miscounted. dammit.

  11. O My God She died. How and why We may never know. But, Ceral Killer of People He knowing how she dying; that secret for only him. Secret: she writing story for website for Friday 55 with full concentration. Cereal Killer sneaking behind protagonist; customary swishing of steely blade; body, becoming numerous pieces; she died.

  12. holla ppl… i know i’ve been AWOL…but its called law school and it basically sucks your life up…anyways… i’m supposed to be studying for finals [chickpea can attest to that--incidently chickpea...did i tell you that i opened and closed out the library yesterday? i'm such a dork] so… i only made it to 7 lines… if i think of the last 2 lines i’ll post the entire thing later… but for now…here’s what i got:

    White Green Saffron. The flag flew reminding her of the home she left and her family. Flying away she knew it would never be the same.

    alright…now it’s time to study some business associations… chickpea if you read this… i’m in the king and spalding room [and will be here for most of the day] so come say hi and go with me to starbucks to get a chai iced latte!

  13. Ring Ring Ring Ring Please leave your Message after the beep. BEE-EEP. “Hi,uh. haven’t heard from you in a while. Guess you’re busy. Lucubrating huh?”

  14. Past births. Countless were endured. Millennia crossed before meeting his beloved.

    Her face smiling banished a lifetime’s solitude. An Eden he could never leave.

    True love, without any doubt. Mind, body, heart, soul. From the darkness into the light.

  15. man this 55 plus fib thing is tough! i fixed that one and illustrated it at my blog:

    grass, pear, cherry, daffodils, and forsythia, magnolia trees in full bloom! Tints, tones and shades of bark, recent winterÂ’s camouflage and sharp tracery of bud branches remind me that my word painter and light painter are flown an enormous wide sky from hereÂ…. for springtime consolation, I turn towards the demanding brilliance of invisible logic.

  16. i

    have

    found the

    value of

    approximation.

    (hemachandra, fibonacci,

    have mercy; exact science is hard to put in words.)

    though i seek to meet anna’s standards, abhi’s challenge, still i cannot satisfy each

    one.

  17. I have never written a Fibonacci on Sepia Mutiny til now

    Here’s my 55 for last Friday…..

    They had both gone to Waller Street Elementary for 5 years, but Jeff had never offered her a ride home before. She said ok because her books were heavy.

    Jeff rode faster, aiming toward a bump in the sidewalk.

    He sped away, that icky feeling that began when she got on his bike, now gone.

  18. . a . maze . in glee . full of new . procrastination . tricks and treats that offer endless . diversions, excursions, momentary escape at . every turn, every click, every touch of your various magical keys . joy full! wondrous! internet, I feel safe when IÂ’m lost among your countless nooks and crannies shielded from the torture of leather bound law books

  19. since today i’m not in a mathematical mode to count syllables for 6 lines and all that jazz.. i’m simply going to haiku it ;)

    sunday sweet sunday hours until dreaded monday please slow down the clock

  20. Not 55 words, but 54 syllables. Couldn’t resist !

    , null, void, shunya. Elusive, unavoidable. Perfection in pure emptiness Unraveler of secrets, creator of paradoxes. and in this little poesy, the syllable missing, call it first, last or fifty-fifth

    Peace

  21. I’d just like to point out that Math and Poetry is a course offered at my alma mater:

    An exploration of the way in which the patterns that we observe in the world about us can be described by language and understood with the tools of analysis and synthesis. A carefully selected sequence of poems and mathematical problems will be examined in a discussion format, and students will be expected to examine similar examples on their own. COURSE COORDINATORS P.D.Taylor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, M.Berg, Department of English.
  22. More mathematical, less lyrical, but hopefully my next attempt will be more mathelyrically balanced.. this is fifty-five words, eighty-eight syllables, and of course – the number of syllables in each line is governed by the Fibonacci sequence. Like any good scientist, I start my Fibonacci sequence with a 0.. ;) Yes, I know – the rhyming’s mostly forced.

    00 – !!

    01 – math? 01 – words?

    02 – should one? 03 – count or rhyme?

    05 – math-a-ly-ric-al 08 – puzzles like this take up much time..

    13 – arguably, i should be working on my research… 21 – but although bad for graduation, procrastination is not yet much of a crime.

    34 – unfortunately, i still have nineteen words and thirty four annoying syllables i must absolutely use before this line’s complete.

  23. Ahahahaha finally! 55 fib. what a challenge!!! Thank you Anna and abhi! This makes work worthwhile by quelling the longing for lunch! … she looked at him anxiously. “You can always share my bed”. He said. Immense relief and gratitude flooded her as he tacitly accepted her. His legendary bruises on her neck burned as the disturbed dreams of travelers past crowded her subconscious, converging on that hotel pillow in a menagerie of silent screams of desperation.

  24. A ‘left-handed fib‘ for a friend, who happens to be homosexual. Inspired by AishwaryaÂ’s post and the Queer By Choice website.

    ---*-

    ?

    I

    Am

    Queer. Yes.

    Left-handed

    Too, if you must ask.

    But sinister? Not really.

    Unless you insist, of course. Some people do, sometimes.

    “Why?” they question me. “Why not?” I question instead. I think I chose my left-handed-ness.

    Now, my left-handed orientation, my left-handed lifestyle, even my left-handed writing, feels strangely right. Sinister, someone said?

    ---*-