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FIBonacci Poems

May 2018

There has always been some counting in poetry - the 14 of the sonnet, the 5-7-5 of the haiku, the counting beats of iambic pentameter or any meter form or not.

In the past, we asked poets to try their hand at poems about mathematics.

I prove a theorem and the house expands:
the windows jerk free to hover near the ceiling,
the ceiling floats away with a sigh.
says Rita Dove in her poem “Geometry.”

And we have written poems about all forms of numbers, as in " A Word on Statistics" by Wislawa Szymborska which begins:
Out of every hundred people,
those who always know better:
fifty-two.
Unsure of every step:
almost all the rest.
if it doesn't take long:
forty-nine.
Always good,
because they cannot be otherwise:
four -- well, maybe five...
But this month we are getting more specific in our connecting of math and poetry with a poetry form called the “Fib.”

A Fib poems is based on the Fibonacci sequence in math. The Fibonacci sequence starts 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55...  After the first two numbers, the next is the sum of the two terms before it.

In a Fib poem, the title = zero and the first line has one syllable, the second one syllable, the third two, the fourth three, the 5  and then 8 syllables.

The "traditional" Fibonacci poem is a 6-line poem using the Fibonacci Sequence, but poets have also used more than 6 lines, but what remains constant is the number sequence. But we need to be cognizant of the math. If you try a Fib sonnet, line 14 will need 377 syllables!

Here is a sample 7-line Fib poem.
Kiss
me
again
tongue and lips
like Fibonacci’s
sequence, each movement a spiral,
enfold, unfold, a working through and against, again.
— by Athena Kildegaard, from Rare Momentum
Fibonacci numbers are named for Leonardo Fibonacci, who in 1202 used them to describe the growth of a rabbit population. He wasn't the first as it was known in antiquity in Greece and India. It was also noted that the Fibonacci sequence also describes numerous growth process patterns of plants. My favorite example from nature is the spirals of the sunflower.
For more on all our prompts and other things poetic, check out the Poets Online blog.

The
great
god Pan’s
gone wild on
our acres, piping
wind music through lush weeds and forbs
growing so fierce with verbiage – filaree and foxtail,
bull thistle, wild oats and clover, ripgut brome – if this goes on I’ll be lost in herbage.

Taylor Graham

FIB FRAME

Today
Stalks
Dark gray
Outside my window
In my head, silver shimmers
Atmosphere mercurial as sudden pressure drops over sill
Buoys spirits, pulls light over
Hillside brings joy
Bright blue
Walks
Forward

Maggie Westland

Yarn.
Needles.
A slip knot.
Various methods for casting on.
Stitches seem to come and go at will.
“Read all the way through the pattern instructions to visualize the pattern progression.”
Otherwise you’ll have a tangled mess at your feet and in your lap, and so you must take a deep breath.
With the needle in your right hand, “go in through the front door.”
Before long you have a smooth, finished row.
Conjuring a scarf from loops.
Color and texture.
Woolen warmth.
Knit.
Purl.

If
I’d
Become
A rabbit
Instead of a man,
I’d multiply much faster than
I now do, especially since I’ve grown so feeble
I can no more subtract or divide the years I’ve lost not making hay while the sun shines.

Lee Evans

THE FIBONACCI ENDING OF THE KAMA SUTRA

Limbs;
Souls
Unwhorl,
Wid’ning swirls
From the sweet still point,
Unfolding in precise arrangement,
Like a garden rose or a spiraling galaxy.

Ron Yazinski

First,
the
doing.
Intention,
innocent action,
unintended consequences.

Then,
pain.
Undoing.
Reversing.
Almost impossible.
No real going back to that First.

Pamela Milne

E X P A N S I O N

BANG!
light,
s p a c e-t i m e,
g r a v i t y,
i n t e r s t e l l a r s p a c e

s t r e t c h e d t o i n f i n i t y u n t i l

a l l m a t t e r d i s s i p a t e s a n d t h e s t a r s t h e m s e l v e s w i n k o u t.

Robert Miller

FIMEFOFUM

( )
love
sweet
sweet love
sweet love now
please love sweet love now
all my life has been befores
now I want the afters now please
I want before now after all at once I want love
unbridled unreined unfinished understood under the stars under the bed covers
under the premise of real forever fairytale first love true love lust unconditional whatever you want to name it I want love sweet love now like never before again

Patty Joslyn

I
found
the key
that opens
the door to your heart
by looking inside of my own

Anita Sanz

MY VESSEL, MY COMPASS, MY ANCHOR

Mom
Knows
Age steals
History
"I’m slipping," she says
Memories become unmoored
Missing pieces, hers and ours, float away out of grasp
Others bob up and down, shrouded, fleeting; we draw close, hold tight and talk of tomorrow

Terri J. Guttilla

THE SPACE BETWEEN

New
light
renews
a grey moon.
Vicarious youth.
A Freudian inclination.
David Pearman