Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "lacquerware"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by siliconshaman who wanted Edopunk.  I hunted around in the Edo period and its technology, eventually turning up some interesting tidbits about lacquer.  The poem has been sponsored by laffingkat.


an accident in
the chemistry of lacquer
would change everything

urushi lacquer
is quite sensitive to light,
easily damaged

how short a step from
"damage" to "a photoprint"
that was the first change

Edo artisans
developed technology
based upon layers

they traced circuitry
with singular strands of silk
pressed between lacquer

chemical changes --
static electricity
no longer stayed put

they wrote whole programs
with silk and water and char
layered into chips

the first computers
resembled tea bowls and trays:
polished perfection

their meticulous
nature became as famous
as their courtesy

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fishbowl, history, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing

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