Jan 142007
 

OK, this is for the geeks among us. In fact, it is geeky on many different levels. It merits explanation in advance.

Last night, I was working on a game I’ve been messing with. It’s circular, so there’s a lot of Sin(a) and Cos(a) and incrementing arcs and stuff. I was up until 4am, in fact, and needless to say, when you do that you end up with dreams. Mix into this the fact that at the Cub Scouts this past week, the demo was of optics, and we saw white light broken into the spectrum, and the wavelengths of the colors identified (and blue is damn close to 440 nanometers, and the note A is of course at 440 as well), an article I read a year ago about how the vibration frequency of the universe is the note A, how the composer Schumann (who went insane because of syphilis and mercury poisoning) was driven mad by hearing the note A… well, soon you end up with a poem that mooshes it all together.

Then, to top it all off, I wrote it in blank verse: iambic pentameter, with seven-line stanzas, and one extra coda line (alas, not 440 syllables — 290). The stanzas arose organically, but each verse really hated being in lines — words broken across lines, etc, like strands that shouldn’t be interrupted. So then I re-broke the lines to be in a sine wave. Because I could. They seemed to want to fall that way. Eerie, huh? 🙂

So finally, you’re left with a poem about, well, making games. And one I am tempted to annotate with Wikipedia links…

Ode to Code: A Geek Poem

Just think:
The twine of sine
and cosine, twang of tangents,
tangles of angles and twirls of tris,
the way each curve is wavelength,
like a sound is wavelength, light is
wavelength. A four forty’s tone
is blue, its hertz a wiggle,
wobble, flow from
high to low, a
nanometer’s
drunken walk
the shade of skies.

Perhaps by this was Schumann
driven mad; the way the math invades,
pervades, like A four forty in his ear
for years: a cosmic radio of audio
uncaused by any known thing.
Oh, the song was blue,
but blues were
something
Schumann
never heard.
Or always did.
Or thought he always did.

The azimuth, horizon, incidence;
The cadence, coda, recapitulation.
These are all the whirlwind tang of life:
From helices in mitochondria to lacy
fractal leaves to strings vibrating
quarks, and time we see
cross-sectioned.
Here we
have the arc
of it, the seconds. Mark.

And now, we twist our code
in loops, recurse in tighter spirals, flow
through chains of consequence — input
output GIGO FILO — at play with toys
that mimic magic, reify and
retro-fy, a Bezier here,
vector there,
a wave
of bosses, twirl
Of blues, a count of lives, all binary.

Signs, sines, sprites, twines, tangents, tunes, time. In rhyme.

– Jan 14, 2007

  21 Responses to “The Sunday Poem: Ode to Code, a Geek Poem”

  1. Awesome!!!

  2. Just. Wow. Heh. It’s been so long since I studied any of that stuff…

  3. It works really well read aloud, though there are so many puns hidden in it that it pays to read it closely. But read aloud, I’m really happy with it. Note: “tris” is short for triangles and pronounced “tries.” And that’s “A440” of course, so pronounced A to rhyme with “hey.”

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  5. Very clever. I like the pacing of it. And the many code-related puns too.

  6. Hmmmmm lots of multilayered refferance, not quite accessable to the layman, pacing is definately good, which lends itself to easy reading. Frost might not approve but Elliot surely would…its also got a hint of Beat to it.

    Its one of the best I’ve read from you.

    Dont fret over exhaustion, delusion, and influences effecting creative output. Thats where most art flows from, IMO.

  7. That was the best poem i’ve read in far too long.

    Thank you.

  8. […] Subject: Raph is a sick sick man… – [Edit Post]http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/01/14/the-sunday-poem-ode-to-code-a-geek-poem/ You must read this. […]

  9. […] Shop « The Sunday Poem: Ode to Code, a Geek Poem | […]

  10. Manages to be clever and yet at the same time flows so naturally – refreshing and original 😀

  11. I’m not one for poetry but that’s quite nice.

    Reminds of this.

  12. […] Alas, it only grabs the gaming category from here. Which means you miss out on the awesome Sunday Poem I posted yesterday. Really. Go read it. […]

  13. […] Speaking of Mr. Koster his latest poem is many things. And all of them are the purest of awesome. […]

  14. One of the best Sunday poems on the site, no doubt.

  15. […] feels weird to try to follow up “Ode to Code”, which is easily the most popular poem I have ever posted on the site. Most of the Sunday Poems get […]

  16. […] a count of lives, all binary. Signs, sines, sprites, twines, tangents, tunes, time. In rhyme. -Ralph Koster Keywords:  poetry, software, math, internet, geek, games, fun, computer, blogging, […]

  17. […] additions, not mine: Computer usage. General geeky stuff. Enjoy. Edit: Obviously this should have been added in an edit for the first post, but I can’t […]

  18. […] Just think: The twine of sine and cosine, twang of tangents, tangles of angles and twirls of tris, the way each curve is wavelength, like a sound is wavelength, light is wavelength. A four forty’s tone is blue, its hertz a wiggle, wobble, flow from high to low, a nanometer’s drunken walk the shade of skies. Perhaps by this was Schumann driven mad; the way the math invades, pervades, like A four forty in his ear for years: a cosmic radio of audio uncaused by any known thing. Oh, the song was blue, but blues were something Schumann never heard. Or always did. Or thought he always did. The azimuth, horizon, incidence; The cadence, coda, recapitulation. These are all the whirlwind tang of life: From helices in mitochondria to lacy fractal leaves to strings vibrating quarks, and time we see cross-sectioned. Here we have the arc of it, the seconds. Mark. And now, we twist our code in loops, recurse in tighter spirals, flow through chains of consequence — input output GIGO FILO — at play with toys that mimic magic, reify and retro-fy, a Bezier here, vector there, a wave of bosses, twirl Of blues, a count of lives, all binary. Signs, sines, sprites, twines, tangents, tunes, time. In rhyme. -Ralph Koster […]

  19. […] of tangents, tangles of angles and twirls of tris, the way each curve is wavelength,  – Read rest of poem at Raph Koster’s website – Read three more of his poems at Boing […]

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