Sunday, March 7, 2010

Number, a Rictameter




Number
The many ways
Corporate media
Clutters our collective mindscape
With useless garbage: Hollywood affairs
Sports scandals, Reality shows
Combat simulations
All make our hearts
Number.



A rictameter is a nine-line, fifty-syllable form of poetry.

 The syllable count in a rictameter adheres strictly to the following pattern: 2-4-6-8-10-8-6-4-2.

Ideally, the first and the final two-syllable lines mirror each other. But their meaning and their feeling can (should?) be altered by what lies between them. With only 50 syllables to work with, rictameter poems are considerably more spacious than Tankas, but they're still pretty brief. Any subject may be taken up in this form of poetry.

14 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Very clever Dan ... and true.

Dan Gurney said...

Thanks, Bonnie.

steven said...

hey dan my own sense of corporate media is that their products are a training ground. but for what? rictameter - new to me and very cool. thanks. steven

The Pollinatrix said...

Nice! Unfortunately, corporate media isn't doing anything that most of us do utterly well on our own.

Dan Gurney said...

steven, the combat simulations are definitely training grounds. That's how they were developed. To help infantry pass quickly through the early tendency to shoot over the heads of the other side. These days, I'm guessing that most kids entering the army shoot to kill from the get-go, thanks to their years at the video game controller.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Polli. Well, yes we can numb ourselves pretty well. But by avoiding the media, I think it's possible to become much more alive to "what is" and less needful of numbing and dumbing ourselves down.

neighbor said...

Brilliant use of that first and last word. very very nice.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Neighbor-- Thank you for noticing and saying that. That was the beginning idea for the poem, how number and number can mean two quite different things. I thought another poem could be written along the same vein in regard to how in war we count our own casualties, but not the human and non human lives lost on the other side. I, for one, am not numb to those losses of lives in wartime.

Delwyn said...

Hi Dan

I can empathise with your sentiments here after having the kids live with me over the past few weeks and having that most horrible of machines the TV on incessantly...each time they left for surfs or adventures I turned it off but as soon as they walked in they switched it on for more of the terrible housewives, hospitals or what some people feel are funny (painful) experiences...

They seem to need this media as background noise...


BUT thankfully I now have peace restored...
oh happy days...


Happy Days

Alden Smith said...

Rictameter - sounds like a cousin of a Seismograph Richter scale - But of course! Poetry can effect earthquakes of realisation. Realisations in the mind and the heart.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Delwyn,

Our home has never had a television set in it, and never will. We can see DVDs on computers. That's more than plenty, along with YouTube. I'm glad you have your peace back.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Alden. Exactly. Poetry has a very special place in my heart for getting close to expressing the ineffable and significant truths of life. Other forms of art, music, dance, visual arts come to mind, can do the same.

Linda Sue said...

Dan, this is so cleverly written, so true- I am sure that you are also right about soldiers aiming to kill, actually wanting to do so. On NPR I heard a lecture given by an ex-marine and, yes, that was the main criteria- didn't matter if it was a civilian or another soldier- training repositioned their brains and stole something crucial from their hearts,killing was their goal.

Dan Gurney said...

Linda Sue, what you say about NPR is interesting. Have you noticed how their human interest stories concentrate on the military? You seldom hear a positive, inspiring human interest story about an anti-war or anti-prison activist, for example. I stopped listening to radio pretty much. Does the "P" in NPR stand for Pentagon? Seems like it to me.