Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 16 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2015


Day Sixteen. Definitely past the pivot point, the fulcrum, the hump, today. Let's move on, forge ahead, hump the boonies, in the spirit of poetry and art and, you'll see later, science as well.

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "Today, I challenge you to write in the form known as the terzanelle. A hybrid of the villanelle and terza rima." This form was invented by Lewis Turco, and his poem "Terzanelle in Thunderweather" appears online with "how-to" advice.

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD prompt: "For today’s prompt, write a science poem. Your poem could be about science in a general sense, but you can also latch onto a specific field or story. Maybe write a poem about the scientific method, or juxtapose science against another idea like love, war, or cuisine. Remember: Science is the springboard; which way you jump is up to you."

Recently an article made the viral rounds exploring how Vincent Van Gogh's painting The Starry Night "sheds light on the concept of turbulent flow in fluid dynamics, one of the most complex ideas to explain mathematically and among the hardest for the human mind to grasp." It occurred to me the difficult twists and turns of the terzanelle might make it a usable form to talk about this confluence of science and art.
Vincent Van Gogh, "The Starry Night" (1889)
Well, the terzanelle was damn hard to write and it ended up being just so-so — I cheat quite a lot, as you'll see — but here it is, my terzanelle on science. And art too.

Turbulence and Van Gogh's Starry Night
[A] complete description of turbulence remains one of the unsolved problems in physics [but] a distinct pattern of turbulent fluid structures [is] hidden in many of Van Gogh’s paintings. [Scientists] concluded that paintings from Van Gogh’s period of psychotic agitation behave remarkably similar to fluid turbulence. —Natalya St. Clair

Van Gogh’s yellow stars spin in blue heavens.
Below, a cypress tree sways in wind — a symbol
Of what? We’re just understanding how turbulence

In mind and body was shaking Van Gogh. Petit mal
Seizures, depression, sunstroke, unstable moods —
Was he the tree convulsed by wind? Was a cymbal

crashing in his brain? Not long before, he had
cut off his ear. Then he had himself put in asylum,
hoping seizures, depression, unstable moods

would no longer grip him. His art at this time
shows revolving swirling brushstrokes, shapes
like his missing ear, forming his private asylum.

But they also uncloak a mathematical landscape,
Scientists tell us now. They perfectly model
things shown before only in equations. Shapes

that swirl in interstellar dust and whirlpools.
Van Gogh’s yellow stars spin in blue heavens.
Scientists tell us now they’re a perfect model
Of what we’re just understanding: fluid turbulence.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

I'll offer an apology now, just in case, to Natalya St. Clair, who created the TED-Ed video that was the centerpiece of the article mentioned above. Ms. St. Clair, I've undoubtedly distorted your science and, if so, I am sorry for my poor poet's understanding. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the poem, which honors your work. And of course Van Gogh's.

Alan was on the same adventure today. His intro: "I attempted the NaPoWriMo 'terzanelle' with the PAD 'science' combo."

Corrosion

A loosened cable drains a battery.
One system fails; it cannot hold a charge.
Electrons jump through sparks as if they’re free.

It doesn’t matter if the gap is large.
With condensation, power sources drain.
One system fails; it cannot hold a charge.

The engine can be vulnerable to rain.
It might refuse to start or even run.
With condensation, power sources drain.

The charge can waste away in cold and sun,
and leave a driver by a busy road.
It might refuse to turn or even run,

Or stall when tasked with hauling heavy load.
Such sediment can sap a cell full dead
and leave a driver by a busy road,

impatient for a wrecker, sick with dread.
A loosened cable drains a battery.
Such sediment can sap a cell full dead.
Electrons jump through sparks as if they’re free.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Good terzanelle, Alan. You did less fooling around with the lines than I. Tough form, huh. Bravo!

Friends, won't you comment, please? Love to know what you're thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don't find the word "comments" in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


NAPOWRIMO / PAD 2015 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


3 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

Really, Vince, of all your posts this month, I like this one the best. I like the topic, I like how you've incorporated the science in a manner a layman can appreciate, and I like the reserved yet feeling language.

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