Contemporary Reflections on Triangular Symmetry - A Cursory Interdisciplinary Analysis of Weber's m haiku (excerpt) By Leslie M�sknvorr, Vestibrium University, 1997

Integrated within the deceptively stark, minimalist beauty of m haiku are pivotal implications demanding careful re-evaluation of both the nominal and the intrinsic syllabic forms. As noted by Dr. Lori K�rdann, "the inherent irony of actually writing 'five, seven, five' (and nothing more) is its blatant defiance of the conventional '5-7-5' syllabic form."[1] Indeed, the employed "1-2-1" alternative is arguably the epitomical manifestation of minimalist symmetric haiku; and the fact that it describes precisely what it is not queries the very essence of structure. Thus, the poet offers a blunt and bitterly poignant meta-satire. But further scrutiny reveals the topicality of said argument, as a veritable plethora of numerological interrelations comprise the spectral foundation underlying this curious facade.

The nominal form of m haiku is, of course, the quite literal translation of "five, seven, five." This sums to seventeen, which is the seventh prime number. The digits of seventeen sum to eight, which is the first non-unit perfect cube. But most significant is the difference of these digits. Six is not only the arithmetic mean of five and seven, but was also considered by the ancient Greeks to be the first "perfect" number, as the sum of its "proper" divisors -- which happen to be the first three natural numbers. Thus, six also represents the third "triangular" number (being of the Gaussian form [n(n+1)]/2 where n=3), paralleling haiku's triangular symmetry. As a side note, the second perfect number, twenty-eight, is also triangular, raising an intriguing postulate I'll defer to the reader.

Not surprisingly, the true beauty of the nominal form emerges when we depart from our base ten convention. In binary representation, 5-7-5 translates into the hauntingly symmetric 101-111-101. Immediately, we see that the three central digits (representing seven) sum to three, the five innermost digits sum to five, and the nine digits in their entirety sum to seven. Obviously, each individual quantity is also symmetric, thus emulating fractal sensibility.[2] Echoing this pattern, the sum itself conveys a minimalist base two symmetry, as seventeen translates to 10001.

The intrinsic syllabic form is (ironically) derived from the words, "five," "seven," and "five." That is, 1-2-1, which sums to four. Interestingly, four is far from prime, being the first non-unit perfect square. It is also clear that four is not triangular, and this begs the question of whether any perfect square (other than one) could be triangular. That is, does there exist a natural number x such that x^2 = [n(n+1)]/2 for some natural number n? An appeal to n=8 offers a resounding "yes" to this question, generating both perfect square and triangular number, thirty-six. At this juncture, we can't help but notice three things: First, that eight (as we've already seen) is the first non-unit perfect cube; second, that n=8 eerily implies that x=6 (the significance of which was discussed above); and third, that the digits of thirty-six (rather tellingly, three and six) sum to nine, which is the second non-unit perfect square, as the product of three (coincidentally the second prime) multiplied by itself. And thus (after acknowledging nine's base two symmetry of 1001), we have come full circle, since (as previously illustrated) nine is the total number of digits required for a binary representation of the nominal components, five, seven, and five.[3]

It is impossible to avoid focusing our attention on the binary representation of the sum of the sums of the nominal and the intrinsic forms. That is, seventeen plus four, which is twenty-one -- the triangular number given by n=6. (This uncanny relationship begs an exclamation point, but risks misinterpretation as a factorial -- which isn't entirely trivial, since the digits of that product sum to nine.) Represented in binary form, twenty-one is 10101; the symmetry and digital sum of which require no additional commentary. But furthermore (as the reader has no doubt derived), the base three representation of seven is 21; while in base five, these digits are transposed -- yielding a trans-order reflective symmetry.

Properly oriented, we can now authoritatively address the fundamental question of whether the "m" in m haiku represents "minimal," "meta," "mercury," or "mathematical." The answer, of course, is inherent in the demonstration; and the proof is left as an exercise.

REFERENCES: <small>1) On the Double-Negative Composite of Layered Irony, pp. 205-311, 315, 411; Dr. Lori K�rdann; 1995, M�skvnorr Press, St. Petersburg, Russia. 2) Possible D�ppelgangers - Binary Reflections of a Complex Universe, pp. 914-921, 977-978, 1121; W. Seward, ed.; 1967, Phage Int., Gnuund�rd, Iceland. 3) "Solving for x: The Translatative Variable in Haiku," Journal of Innumerable Idioms and Suffixes, vol. 9, issue 4 (reprint); L. M�skvnorr-Korth; C.H. Productions, Aluminville, CMV-AU2.</small> [ December 29, 2005: Message edited by: marc weber ]

"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer sscce.org

Contemporary Reflections on Triangular Symmetry - A Cursory Interdisciplinary Analysis of Weber's m haiku (excerpt) By Leslie M�sknvorr, Vestibrium University, 1997

What an a-hole. Stuff like this makes me wonder what in THE F was I thinking, aiming for a Ph.D. The sad news is I can actually read the article. Are there other disciplines outside the humanities that are as full of s* as this? [ December 29, 2005: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

I have a wide, friendly face, Like theirs, yet I can't hang My nose like a fractured arm Nor flap my dishpan ears. I can't curl my canine teeth, Swing my tail like a filthy tassel, Nor make thunder without lightning.

But I'd like to thump amply around For a hundred years or more, Stuffing an occasional treetop Into my mouth, screwing hugely for Hours at a time, gaining weight, And slowly growing a few hairs.

Once in a while I'd charge a power pole Or smash a wall down just to keep Everybody loose and at a distance.

Originally posted by Michael Ernest: Contemporary Reflections on Triangular Symmetry - A Cursory Interdisciplinary Analysis of Weber's m haiku (excerpt) By Leslie M�sknvorr, Vestibrium University, 1997

What an a-hole. Stuff like this makes me wonder what in THE F was I thinking, aiming for a Ph.D. The sad news is I can actually read the article. Are there other disciplines outside the humanities that are as full of s* as this?

Googling for "Vestibrium" will quickly convince you that the article is a hoax. See The Sokal Affair for a similar example.

"What makes a poem a poem" -- I doubt we will ever find a definition that wouldn't leave out at least one poem. Or, to put it simple,

But the real problem, in my opinion, lies not in such manifest, mechanical conventions but rather in the conventions that exist, as it were, just below the conscious level; they are not conventions as to how a poem is explicitly patterned so much as conventions as to which language, topoi, and tropes are considered to be intrinsically poetic and thus suitable for poetry. People of a particular linguistic community often automatically assume that their notion of what constitutes the �poetic� is a universal notion, and this can lead to a sense of disappointment or embarrassment when they are confronted with highly praised artifacts from another culture and these artifacts do not conform to local aesthetic expectations; the end result of this can be, and I think often is, a smug sense�openly expressed by the crass, privately believed by the more circumspect�that really only �our� literature is any good. URL

One of the broadest definitions I met was "poetry is a concentrated experience" -- but then, not always. Another possible definition: A. N. Kolmogorov wrote that poetry is the most informative kind of texts, compared to prose or, worse yet, newspaper articles, in the sense that the words make less predictable combinations.

Billy Collins had the same insight in his Thesaurus:

Surely, you have seen pairs of them standing forever next to each other on the same line inside a poem, a small chapel where weddings like these, between perfect strangers, can take place.

I'll come back to ponder on the theory later. Meanwhile, here is a poem break!

The South

It is a place which resembles Louisiana In Italy There is linen extended on the terrace And it is pretty.

One would say the South time lasts a long time And the life surely, Plus one million years And always summer.

There are full children who roll themselves on the lawn There is full with dogs There is even a cat, a tortoise, red fish It does not miss anything

One would say the South time lasts a long time And the life surely, Plus one million years And always summer.

One day or the other it will be necessary that there is the war One knows it well One does not like that, but one does not know what to make One says it is the destiny worse for the South

It was however well One could have lived Plus one million years And always summer.

Oh well, I know, it's lost in tra.. never mind!

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Czeslaw Milosz

Ars Poetica

I have always aspired to a more spacious form that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose and would let us understand each other without exposing the author or reader to sublime agonies.

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent: a thing is brought forth which we didn't know we had in us, so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out and stood in the light, lashing his tail.

That's why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion, though its an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel. It's hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from, when so often they're put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.

What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons, who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues, and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand, work at changing his destiny for their convenience?

It's true that what is morbid is highly valued today, and so you may think that I am only joking or that I've devised just one more means of praising Art with the help of irony.

There was a time when only wise books were read helping us to bear our pain and misery. This, after all, is not quite the same as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.

And yet the world is different from what it seems to be and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings. People therefore preserve silent integrity thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.

The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.

What I'm saying here is not, I agree, poetry, as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly, under unbearable duress and only with the hope that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.

I like that. My favorite moments are when a word or phrase hits you like the smell of your grandmother's kitchen and evokes a treasure store of long forgotten memories or a complete and perfect vision of something that never was.

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi