Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Seashell

My poem here is two Fibs joined as one. I insist on magic. One of the magical mathematics of living structure is what we call the Fibonacci Sequence. This sequence is represented graphically in many of the spirals found in seashells and the placement of sunflower seeds in their heads, and in many flower petal arrangements.

Wiki says:

Fib is an experimental Western poetry form, bearing similarities to haiku, but based on the Fibonacci sequence. That is, the typical fib and one version of the contemporary Western haiku both follow a strict structure. The typical fib is a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8 - with as many syllables per line as the line's corresponding place in the Fibonacci sequence; the specific form of contemporary Western haiku uses three (or fewer) lines of no more than 17 syllables in total. The only restriction on a Fib is that the syllable count follow the Fibonacci sequence. An example of a typical fib:

Spiraling mixture:
Math plus poetry yields the Fib.
— Pincus, Gregory K.

John Frederick Nims discussed the form as early as 1974, in his excellent introduction to poetry, Western Wind. The fib was brought to much wider public attention by Gregory K. Pincus on 1 April 2006. His blog has been the center of this new form of poetry. After Pincus published his blog on Fibs, they began appearing widely on the internet. Pincus wrote on his blog, "To my surprise (and joy), I continue to find new threads of Fibs popping up all around the Web. I've seen Fibs in over a dozen different languages, and I'd also note that today a cat left a post in the comments of The Fib, joining a priorly poetic dog, so I think it's safe to say that Fibs travel well."

The Seashell

shall match
the spiral
climbing down the slope
and reaching for you at the end.

Then I shall hold you close and rise
back up the golden
curve to stand

February 18, 2009 8:24 PM


  1. I love this form and am so impressed with your offering. I will now be captured by this for the next several days... thanks!

  2. cool form Christopher... will have to give one of these a try!

  3. I'm obviously biased and like the form a lot, but I really love how you made the words and form work so well together (something which doesn't always happen for me, I must say).

    Thanks for the mention... and it's always nice to see folks playing with poetry.

  4. Harlequin, I am happy you caught the curve.

    Jon, I don't usually use this form, pretty much stick to the embedded seventeen syllables but I like it.

    Greg, I just learned about you tonight when I looked for the background on Wiki. Thanks for your being in the right place and time. I learned of Fibs from Lucy who blogs from Britanny. I am happy to meet you. I of course checked out your site. Isn't this blog thing amazing?? It must have changed your life to be the source of the Fib curve. Thanks for the compliment. Yes, poetry is a little more than just counting syllables and sort of making sense.

  5. Oh, that's fun!

    And clever!

    and I like it too :)


  6. Up the down staircase in words. Your explanation is interesting.

  7. TB, I love how easy it is to find things on the internet. And look at that, it is obviously easy for people so minded to follow the internet broadly for relevant new things. Greg Pincus saw my mention of him and Fibs within three hours, which meant in part he was active on the internet but also means that he has a search engine operating on automatic for keywords that disregards the old.

    That is amazing technology.

  8. Beautiful, enlightening and interesting!

  9. Thank you...I needed that :)


  10. The spiral speaks to me of Goddess. It is such a feminine form: the seashell, Fibonacci, the pattern of leaves finding their sliver of light within the tree's canopy.

  11. I have no quarrel at all with that connection of spiral and Goddess. I am sure too that by now you already know this about me.

    Love you, Rachel.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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