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Poem: "The Sum of Its Parts" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "The Sum of Its Parts"
Here is the linkback poem for the June 4, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. If you link to the fishbowl, make a comment and include the URL to reveal a verse of this poem.  If you link on different services, you can get multiple verses.

This poem came out of the April 2013 Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from technoshaman and it also fills the #18 Rift slot in the Rainbowfic Sunlight list.  It belongs to the series An Army of One: The Autistic Secession in Space.

All 15 verses have been posted.  Linkers include: technoshaman, janetmiles, marina_bonomi, DW user Chanter_greenie, zianuray, DW user Jjhunter, natf, DW user Librarygeek

The Sum of Its Parts

The rift between
the people of the Lacuna
and the people of the neighboring Arms
proved too wide to bridge.

After the secession,
those who had come from the Carinan side
and those who had come from the Orion side
found more in common with each other
than with anyone back in the Arms.

The rift between
individuals in the Lacuna
also proved a challenge,
because for them the gap
between self and other
was wider than for the enties
who so easily parsed each other's lives.

They were nothing if not methodical,
the odd sorts who wound up in the Lacuna,
and so when they realized that they were
creating a society of their own,
they went looking for good examples.

The first thing they agreed upon
was "not like that" --
they did not wish to repeat
the mistakes of Carinan and Orion culture
which had driven them into the Lacuna
in the first place.

Estelle framed this as
"What is hateful to you,
do not do to another."
Her proposal met with wide approval.

It did not always go so easily,
for they were many and varied,
from different traditions
and with different personalities.

They put forth ideas
and debated them,
out of which the more popular ones
stuck around to be considered
for incorporation in their culture.

"Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain,
and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss,"
Router advised, and that spoke to
everyone's experiences with the two armies
trying to scuttle what was left in the Lacuna.

Some things they laughed at,
threw away, discarded as invalid.
Sometimes people got their feelings hurt
and stalked away from the discussion,
keyboards clattering into silence.

But that was all right --
they were the strange ones
and in their difference
they understood one another.

"Devil take the hindmost,"
Quell suggested,
who was not a people person;
but "You have two hands:
one to help yourself,
the second to help others,"
countered Shakespeare.

It developed like that,
the culture of the Lacuna,
balancing individuality and collaboration

like a carton of parts
coming together to form an engine,
complete in its function
and yet still made up of distinct components,

the whole truly greater
than the sum of its parts.

* * *


"What is hateful to you, do not do to another."
-- Jewish saying

"Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your
neighbor’s loss as your own loss."
-- T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien

"Devil take the hindmost."
-- proverb

"You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others."
-- proverb

[To be continued ...]

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10 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: June 4th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 4th, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I have posted your three verses.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 4th, 2013 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: three linkbacks

Your three verses have been posted. I am amused by the synchronicity of you revealing Estelle's verse.
zianuray From: zianuray Date: June 5th, 2013 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Can't figure out how to isolate one post, but it's on FB!

Also LJ -- http://zianuray.livejournal.com/530117.html
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 5th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I've added your two verses.
natf From: natf Date: June 8th, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 8th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Your verses are up!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 21st, 2017 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18

"Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself." Baha'u'llah

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version

"This is the sum of Dharma: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you". Mahabharata, 5:1517

"Don't be a dick." Wil Wheaton.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 21st, 2017 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes ...

If you visit a Baha'i Temple, you can actually see a collection of Golden Rules on a card.
10 comments or Leave a comment