It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for another Inkling challenge. This month I challenged my fellow Inklings to “Write a mathematical poem, such as a fib, pi poem, nonet, etc. Feel free to interpret this challenge in any way that feels right for you. Have fun!”
There are a seemingly infinite number of types of mathematical poems, and an argument could be made that every poem that has a regular meter, rhyme scheme, or line count is a mathematical poem. I had every intention of stretching myself and trying a new form, but as January unfolded, it became clear that my mental capacity was limited to using a familiar form. Fib (short for Fibonacci) poems are my favorite math form to write, so I decided to stick with that form.
Still, wanting to push past the familiar, I searched for a math-related topic. I wasn’t having much luck until earlier this week when my son’s girlfriend posted images of sound waves. This sparked a memory of seeing a demonstration of a Chladni plate. Rather than try to explain this, here’s a demonstration.
This all took me down a rabbit hole of how the patterns created on the Chladni plate are related to fractals, and how both are related to the Fibonacci sequence. There are cool images of Chladni plate creations and similar images generated from sound waves all over the web. (Visit Resonantia to view just one of these amazing projects.) After just scratching the surface of all this math and science, this fib poem draft emerged. The second half of the poem is a reverse fib, working back to one syllable.
time and space
expand in every direction
then shift, create a kaleidoscope of infinite
shapes, each small segment an echo
of the whole, repeating
on and on
Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022
Find out how the other Inklings responded to this challenge by visiting them:
Then be sure to stop by Elisabeth Norton’s blog, Unexpected Intersections, for the Poetry Friday Roundup.