I can be a real glutton for punishment. For instance, in college, I majored in math with a physics minor. Then I went on to earn an MS in computer science. I avoided continuing on to a PhD because it alarmed me how much gray hair the doctoral candidates had.
All along, I also indulged my writing obsession. I wrote plenty of science fiction short stories (my first baby steps along the path to writing my YA novel, TANKBORN). I also enjoyed writing sonnets (yes, really). My preferred form was Shakespearean, fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g rhyme scheme.
Then I discovered acrostic sonnets. Azimov’s Science Fiction magazine had a contest for best acrostic sonnet and although I’d missed the deadline for entry, I got hooked on writing the devilish things.
So, what’s an acrostic sonnet? Start with a 14-letter word, phrase, proper name, then use the letters of the word/phrase/name to start each line of the sonnet. The sonnet itself should have something to do with the word/phrase/name.
So, what did I write about? The nerdy stuff I was studying in school. QUEUEING THEORY and QUANTUM PHYSICS. Also a couple of Trek-related tries.
I bring this up because I learned over the weekend from fellow writer Greg Pincus about Fibonacci poems. They’re based on Fibonacci numbers, which start with 0 & 1, then proceed from there with subsequent numbers equal to the sum of the two previous. Therefore, after 0 & 1 come 1 (=0+1), 2 (=1+1), 3 (=1+2), 5 (=2+3), 8(=3+5), 13(=5+8), 21(=8+13), etc. The poems are written using 1 syllable in the first line, 1 in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth line, five in the sixth line and on and on. I guess if the poem goes on long enough, you’ll get some pretty long lines.
So, I could have just written some Fibonacci poems, right? I’ve written plenty of decent, self-respecting poetry. This would be a fun, new form.
But no-o-o. I had to notice that “Fibonacci Poems” has 14 letters. The exact number needed for an acrostic sonnet.
I was doomed. My obsession took over.
So, here it is. My newest acrostic sonnet. My apologies to Greg and fans of Fibonacci poetry everywhere.
First, I should say I studied math in school.
In fact, I’m what you’d likely call a nerd
Because I think that calculus is cool.
Oh, I can integrate x to the 3rd.
Now, though, I write. Equations have become
A sentence on the page. And x and y
Combine to make a word, and not a sum,
Creating stories, no more graphing lines.
I’ve heard there is a certain kind of verse
Prepared by counting syllables from one
One, two, then three, then five…it’s somewhat terse,
Embracing sequences and number fun.
Most people may not like to do their math,
So poetry can trick them down that path.