March 3rd, 2010


Poem: "folded wings"

This poem came out of yesterday's Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from marina_bonomi and sponsored by minor_architectOrigami is a traditional art created by folding paper, and is associated with oriental magic in some legends.

folded wings

origami cranes
lift their paper heads to bring
health, peace, and long life

tigers flick striped tails,
threatening swift death with a
thousand paper cuts

green pheasants ferry
thoughts and souls and emotions
then fold paper wings

paper dragons guard
maps, deeds, contracts, bonds, and cash:
strange painted treasures

origami mage
folds her hands inside her sleeves,
hiding a small smile


Animating "Creativity"

Yesterday I wrote a shape poem, "Creativity."  I don't use this form very often, but the concept popped into my head in response to a prompt from ellenmillion.  What I did was sketch out a static, 2D version of what is really an animated, 3D concept.  It is patterned like an atom, with words tightly packed like the parts of a nucleus, and then other words in different fonts filling two energy layers (two words on two ellipses, then eight words on four larger ellipses) like electrons.  The challenges are:

* I'm not very good at freehand drawing, so the rough drafts are sloppy.
* I'm not very good at manipulating computer programs, so my ability to animate this is probably insufficient.
* Based on my previous rassling with MS Word, I do not think its "draw" feature is sufficient to make an elegant version of the static, 2D version -- at least not in my hands -- which is why I scribbled the concept sketch on paper.
* I checked PowerPoint.  It does some cool animation tricks, one of which is even an ellipse, but not stuff that looks like it would work for animating this poem.
* My ordinary pricing scheme doesn't really apply here.  The poem has just a few words.  The pattern is what makes it cool.  It didn't take very long to imagine, but rendering it in a marketable form will definitely take significant time.

Possible solutions:

* I could try to scrapbook this into a more elegant static, 2D version.  I have some stencils of ellipses, and my computer has plenty of fonts so that I could print out the words and stick them on their orbits.  A scrapbooked poem can then be photographed or scanned, and uploaded for viewing.
* I could work with someone else who is good at manipulating computer programs or otherwise animating things.  (This would get them a byline like "animated by Clever Person" along with mine.)  I have seen atoms and other things animated in programs such as Java and Flash, and there are other animation programs, and for all I know there might even be an atom generator with customizable labels.  Either a 2D or a 3D animation could work; my concept sketch is sort of in-between those (i.e. some words are upside-down but none are mirror-written).  An animated poem could be ... um, put on the web somehow, somewhere, preferably by someone more skilled than myself.

minor_architect has expressed some interest in co-sponsoring this if it can be animated.  I don't know if that would appeal to anyone else, or if anyone would be interested in a static, 2D version done with scrapbooking tools.

Thoughts?  Other options?  Does anyone have skills that might help?  Does this sound cool enough to pursue further?

Poem: "kū shiki"

This poem came out of yesterday's Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by dreamwriteremmy., who wanted to hear about two of the elements from Japanese Buddhism.  For this topic I wanted an oriental form that would somehow incorporate two distinct parts.  I found the katuata, which has several variations. (It occurred to me that this poem would look awesome with its title inkbrushed in Japanese down one side of a page and the English written out normally, and my brush skills are probably up to that... but I can't see the shiki symbol as more than an inkblot, which is what washed me out of Japanese in the first place.)

kū shiki
-- a katuata

Why is there a void?
Emptiness is a deep ache
Held in the heart of heaven.

There must be a void
if there is to be a space
left open for consciousness.


List of Unsold Poems from March 2 Fishbowl

The following poems from the March 2, 2010 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available:

"The Elements of Civilization" -- 10 lines, $5
When I thought about the Empire's list of elements, it picked up some things from [info]moosl's list of photos. So I have "The Elements of Civilization," a non-rhyming poem with 10 syllables per line.

"The Elements of Life" -- 6 lines, $5
a quirky description of a set of 5 elements inspired by some of these photos.

"The Song of the Elements" -- 10 lines, $5 SOLD
a poem written in unrhymed couplets. It names the instruments and their elements, along with a connection between the two.

"Star of the East" -- 10 lines, $5
an invocation of the 5 eastern elements with their qualities.

"Casting the Circle of Words" -- 14 lines, $10 SOLD
which calls the quarters and cross-quarters of speech itself.

"Digging for Roots" -- 18 lines, $10 SOLD
a sort of weave between linguistics and chemistry, incorporating some subtle plays on ideas from those and other scientific fields. It is free verse written in tercets.

"Ella meant..." -- 16 lines, $10 SOLD to Poe Little Thing
a free-verse poem ... detailing the search for undiscovered stable elements.</i>

"Mountains in the Sky, Fires in the Sea" -- 22 lines, $10
 a free verse poem about a planet whose settings and sentients are comfortable with difference.

"The Door in the Sky" -- 33 lines, $15 SOLD
I am pretty sure that this went in a totally different direction than you intended! I saw that reflection in the upper left corner, and it looked to me like a door in the sky, and I was fascinated by how unreal and tenuous seemed the reflection of our world overlain on the forest. So here is a free verse poem, "The Door in the Sky," about the spirit of an Air elemental trapped in our world, until ... a door opens in the sky.

"The Elemental Symbiotes" -- 34 lines, $15 SOLD
a free verse poem about several bizarre plants and animals on the planet of Botannia.

"The Orphaned Elements" -- 30 lines, $15 SOLD
a free verse poem about the elements we have forgotten ... and what they are going to do about that.

"The Elements of Wisdom" -- 47 lines, $20 SOLD
a free verse poem about how the mortals forgot about elementals and nearly destroyed the world. But the elementals had a plan...


"Creativity" is a shape poem.  Join the discussion about how to render it into a marketable form.

"A Periodic Table of Elementals" is an epic in progress.  It will be priced by verse. I have ... two eight lines, so far.  It took me a long time to design the infrastructure before I could write them.  I'm intending to write one verse per scientific element, describing them as elemental spirits. Join the discussion about how to develop it.