TL;DR: I used the Fibonacci sequence as the structure of a poem. Skip to the verse if you want the art before the explanation.
I like structure and limitation in poetry: I am forced to be more creative while navigating a predetermined form, thinking of new or unique “solutions” to a linguistic “problem.” Perhaps it is this admiration for order-in-chaos that brought my thoughts to the Fibonacci sequence, given its universality in both science and art. I wasn’t surprised to find that the “Fibonacci poem” already exists; I’m rather fond of Tool’s Lateralus, which utilizes elements of the sequence in both musical and lyrical composition, but rather than relying on syllables, the suggested poetic interpretation is to have entire words represent the numbers of the sequence—a potentially more challenging task.
If you’re not already familiar with the sequence, it is structured in such a way that each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers, so that each line is comprised of a number of words equaling a Fibonacci number in the sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…
After my 21-word line, I followed Tool’s lead and swung back on the spiral, repeating the numbers/word count in reverse. I include “0” in the sequence because of its thematic and metaphorical importance to the content. If you’re keeping a tally, I did treat a hyphenated compound word as one word, but I’ll leave that debate to the grammar police.
Now that we’re done over-thinking and over-analyzing, here’s the draft for poem number fifteen, followed by the clean cut:
when words fail?
what verse may go unheard
when the author cries herself silently to sleep?
what holy plea, however impassioned, however grave, could stand before the indifferent void,
blacker than the proud and defiant ink of her abandoned fountain pen, blanker than the hungry pages of her unopened journal
and dare to claim itself worthy before the presence of this all-consuming God?
the author is not written by Her words.
He is not Her god.
when words fail