Experiment Four: Hey Lee

[Boy, has it been a while since I did one of these! If any of y’all even remember, Poetic Experimentation is where I write, obscurely, and you guess, astutely. Non-astute guesses also welcome. What am I writing about here, or more appropriately, what are the influences? I’ve clear ones in mind. By the way, by the way, guesses below – happy sleuthing!]


Whittled down by so long starving

Deprived of what it needs to live

My heart can’t take this for much longer

I know that something has to give.


Will endless grey days become my end

Has my alphabet run its course to zedd?

Am I nearing my body’s last breath

Sinking under, weighed with lead?


Or will sweet salvation come

Will yet an angel rescue me?

I see you smile (my heart beats faster)

And know my fate depends on thee:

Bring on disaster.


Experiment Three: The Answers

Once again I come to the big reveal for the latest bout of poetic guesswork with little of surprise to reveal… Obscure though it seemed (kudos to Nurse Kelly, author of a wonderful and diverse blog, for some brave stabs at it!) the mystery fell away under the keen eye of Jane Basil, insightful as ever. Nevertheless, if you missed it:

This was the theme. Pretty much all of it. Lots of Freemasonry-y stuff going on. The square and compass is a Masonic symbol often accompanied by the letter G, hence the title. The fellow craftsmen, the lodge, the Arch (from the Holy Royal Arch degree) and convocations (meetings) are all mysterious, secretive Masonic lingo. The ‘plot’ was someone joining and working their way up a lodge,  attaining the rank of Master.

As for why I wrote this… Honestly, I was just reading up on Freemasonry on wikipedia and found it interesting, plus the volume of ‘codewords’ made me think I could make a nice obscure piece out of it! I tried to tread the line between emphasising words (like capitalising Craft) and using them with their normal meanings.

And that was that, really! One aside – I wrote this a little while ago and now have no idea what the line ‘I entered first, without worry, my fellow craftsmen spoke not the second time either’ means. It could be significant Masonic chat, it could be a total red herring. If anyone knows, do tell!

Thanks again for everyone’s input – ’til next time folks!

Experiment Three: G

[I’m at it again! Some more Poetic Experimentation for you – as ever, your thoughts on the what, why and how of this piece are welcome!]

Away, beyond, don’t look for me this time.

Square and compass guide me, following the line.

I entered first, without worry, my fellow craftsmen spoke not the second time either.

Third, and final, the final straw.

A companion gone to hide, to the South, to seek out what’s inside.

To be free, to be accepted.

Horizons melt and merge like amity and memories, fraternal destiny in front of me.

To lodge, my calling.

Mortal vice, folly and distraction. Release me.

A Master’s life for me, I’ve earned my Third Degree.

I’ll tread these humble steps no more.

A new path worn, the path of the Craft, wound to unwind behind my eyes, on the prize.

Left-right, up-down, past-future. Lying discarded to my sides. Love-hate, the Art and the Atheist.

My convocation awaits.

I pass beneath the Arch, where Holy men have passed before.

Royal blood runs deep here.

Experiment Two: The Answers

[First post in a week and only the second in eleven days, but I’m back now with plenty of ideas! I am off on holiday next week sometime as well though, ah summer…]

I would never want to accuse any of my readers of ruining the fun, but the excellent guesswork of Summit Abrams (whose fantastic blog is currently under reconstruction, so follow it now and await the grand (re)opening) on The Machine more or less wrapped up my ‘guess the ideas’ game! As he correctly commented, the work was influenced by Mario Savio’s ‘bodies upon the gears’ speech from 1964. And yes, I did hear it first through Linkin Park’s incredible song Wretches and Kings (though it’s also been sampled in plenty of other songs). Here’s the process, anyway:

The first two verses were my own writing, inspired by and loosely referencing the speech, but the second verse ends with a direct quote ‘and you’ve got to make it stop’ to set up the third, which is composed entirely of lines from Savio’s famous address.

Having written each verse, I then reordered the lines within them to create shapes, as I felt this gave a more mechanical look and artificial feel. This involved rewriting one or two of my own lines to improve the fit but I tried to stay true to my first draft and see if I could still make any sense within the altered order. I did intentionally quote plenty of the last clause of the speech ‘[the machine] will be prevented from working at all!’ so it would end up being the poem’s closing line.

The picture accompanying the piece is apparently of one of his speeches, though it’s hard to tell; the one accompanying this post is definitely of him.

Thanks again to Summit for his astute observations, and I hope whoever read it enjoyed it because it sure was fun to write!

Experiment Two: The Machine

[Poetic Experimentation returns! Once again, I’d love to know what you think my motivations and ideas behind this were, so please comment with your thoughts!]

And chains
The Greater Good
Gears clunk, heavy
Grind through stoic routine
Not apparent for those too close
That those whirring blades
Will draw them in
And chain
them in.

And what will slicken these Gears
Down all the Apparatus
Around the Apparatus
The Gears and Levers
Glisten with sweat
Of the workers
The bodies
Blood runs
For each night
The Machine growls
As the Grinding grows
And the Grinding soothes
And you’ve got to make it stop

You can’t
So odious
your bodies
Will prevent
You’ve got to
Your freedom
The operation
The apparatus
become so sick
So sick at heart
And your bodies
make you so sick
That you can’t run
Unless you’re free
The people who run it
The people who own it
The people who own you
To even passively take part
will be prevented from working at all.

Experiment One: The Answers

After a flurry of activity from my beloved readers (thanks Jake and Lotte) I remembered I was meant to be posting the motivations and thoughts behind Senescence. While their guesses were a bit different to the direction whence I’d approached it, I really appreciated their insight into how it could be interpreted!

Anyway, I just wanted to write something, anything, so set my mind to do so. My brief to myself centred around biological immortality i.e. not dying from old age (I’d been reading about jellyfish that are biologically immortal and the work of the SENS Research Foundation aiming to halt ‘senescence’ or biological aging) which I decided to combine with a minotaur (thanks to the man walking behind me as I left work who made a noise that brought that image into my head) hence the maze.

I thought then, ‘Wouldn’t you just kill yourself with boredom stuck in a maze for eternity?’ I probably would. So how do I prevent this character committing suicide? Thus it became a robot minotaur, because Asimov’s robotics laws prohibit suicide.

Stylistically, I think I was influenced by reading the work of the ‘Cybernetic Poet’ program created by Ray Kurzweil, which you should definitely look up because it is fascinating.

As for the binary –  of course a robot would count in binary, and the value is 89,993 days, which is just over 246 years, so they’ve been lonely for a while now… Poor robot minotaur.

Experiment One: Senescence

Hi friends! This is the first of what I plan to be a long-running series of poetic experiments, which I’ve explained in a bit more detail here. The gist is that I’d love to know what you think my motivations and ideas behind this were, so please comment with your thoughts! Without much further ado then, here’s my first poem, titled Senescence:
day 0001 0101 1111 1000 1001
again today I see the sun
again today I’m trapped inside
my prison with its walls so high
many days pass inside my maze
and yet
I face up to many more ahead
with ever increasing dread
occasional ‘heroes’ will wander
their ends come quick or slow
but none
will test my limits and so
my code, genetic, perfect, remains
I expect
beyond reasonable doubt
(for I idly ran the calculations)
I am obsolete outside
and I am obsolete inside
Created with not capacity to destroy
while I can and must maintain myself
repairs so simple as to keep
my beloved dream: senescence, at bay
and my conscience whirring
a chip off the old line
where the line no longer exists
in the factory that no longer exists
in the country that probably fell
and no longer exists
my maze and my make up keep me too safe

the beast longs to be slain

Hope you enjoyed it – let me know your thoughts!