The mathematician talks of flocking:
the collective assemblage of like forms;
to do with central tendencies, stocking
efficiencies (see the way the bee swarms).
It’s all about clustering formations,
and the non-random shape of a system.
It’s all about patterns and representations,
and how nature does its best to twist them
into combinations of advantage.
The V-shape of Canadian geese,
the shuffling of penguins, edge-to-edge;
best use of energy and fuel’s release.
. It’s through use … a solution’s shape is found.
. Nature’s cleverness is to motive bound.
Copyright, Tim Grace, 6 December 2011
To the reader: Patterns form to establish efficient relationships. A functional pattern of behaviour will serve some purpose and deliver some benefit. It will be useful and convenient; at best, powerful and protective. Geese do the power-flock to conserve individual energy in flight. Penguins perform the protective-flock as they shuffle to insulate the pack from cold. The interesting thing about flocking is that it’s a collective intelligence constructed through the system for individual benefit. Belonging is a self-serving commitment to and for the common good.
To the poet: Playing with a natural phenomenon is an interesting poetic exercise. Usually, the idea will be sparked by a snippet of science that reveals a curious insight. A little research is essential and useful in delivering a glossary of terms. As with the ‘flocking’ theme, it’s often the case that the idea will have already gained public interest and momentum as a talking point. A poet’s work is to play with ideas, to express them creatively; in memorable shape and form.
Favourable conditions affording new
and novel opportunities to grow
the market, to expand upon the view;
Horizons!!! – here today gone tomorrow.
Windows that open up to the sky, to all
prepared to venture forth, to ride the wave
towards new shores; prepared to rise and fall
along with the fool-hardy and the brave.
See that which is old become new again:
re-released, re-branded, given new guise;
to be let loose on green pastures; fed then
on eternal hope, to await the prize.
. Now is the time of opportunity.
. Beyond now … there is no certainty.
Tim Grace, 6 December 2011
To the reader: Nothing ventured, nothing gained… a fool and his money are easily parted. The idea of investing in tomorrow assumes a favourable future. But common-sense tells us the future is an uncertain opportunity. Its attachment to now is fragile and with time quickly adjusts to new and unpredictable circumstances. The further from now that we invest the higher is our risk, the greater is our reward. Those that play the market need to know the rules and accept the consequences.
To the poet: This sonnet has a complex structure that leans heavily on syntax to carry its semantics. I had attended an investment seminar and been barraged with financial jargon; way beyond my understanding. The investment industry, like any other, has a deep meta-language that translates poorly into laymen terms. As a skater, I picked up the message, guessed at its meaning… and wrote a poem! These are my notes…
And so we go about our daily chores,
adding and subtracting along the way.
Consuming and then replenishing stores.
Earning our keep, converting work into pay.
And thus, we spin the mill, our daily grind;
with mundane achievements barely listed;
rarely noticed, granted but never signed.
A backdrop for all our needs insisted;
and this, if named, would be our daily bread.
It’s what we do given functional sake;
it’s the substance that lies beneath the spread;
it’s the sliced-up loaf, not the iced-up cake;
. By what means is this day improved?
. By all means, in many ways manoeuvred.
Tim Grace, 1 December 2011
To the reader: Without monotony the human spirit can deal with routine pressures. If the grind is productive we will happily put our shoulders to the wheel. In physical terms, the mechanics of ‘return on effort’ can be expressed as a mathematical transfer of energy in a closed system. In philosophical terms, motivation is the lever; its efficiency improves with recognition and reward.
To the poet: I’m currently reading a book about how the Beatles wrote their lyrics. As described, some were inspired and others simply milled themselves into processed vinyl; through a ‘Hard Day’s Work’. Without the daily grind, without the hack-work, there was nothing to nurture the beautiful moments of lyrical inspiration penned by John, Paul; and occasionally George. A Beatles’ Album, with its highs and lows will outstrip a ‘best of compilation’ … if inspiration is the measure.
I collect nuts and bolts by the roadside,
it’s an odd assortment of random finds.
Some are obvious and easily spied:
they are those that shine before the rust binds
itself to their surface. New to the road
they have not nestled into hidden nooks,
nor taken the hit of a heavy load,
they retain the shape of their fresh made looks;
in every sense new to my collection.
As alluvial pickings they hold
the shimmer and shine of self-selection;
unweathered, yet to have their history told.
. So, what of this collection can be said?
. Nothing more true… than its a common thread.
Tim Grace, 29 November 2011
To the reader: Late 2011, I was seeking more from work than work could offer. Tedium was broken with a break for lunch that included a walk around the neighbouring streets. Always the tinkerer, I have an eye for nuts and bolts and this led to a surprisingly large, and quickly accrued, collection of threaded metal. An odd amusement but easily construed as metaphor: the world unwinds as road spill.
To the poet: Hardly a great poem, but then again, it actually describes a very real and raw time in my working career; when the most stimulating part of the day was a lunchtime walk. Each piece of road-spill is a poem in itself. The shiny collectables are obvious and attractive, but as in this poem it’s through them we describe the true character of a common thread; toughened steel.
I am the universe, of all things made.
I am the nothingness, that vast expanse.
I am the treasury of life’s parade.
I am the first step, I am the last dance.
You are the timely natural consequence
of that which occurs and comes to pass.
You are the perfect, ideal, confluence
of all things given to a common class.
We are the harvest, the expectation;
we are the whole, much greater than its parts.
We are the wonder, the fascination;
we are the child of Science and the Arts.
. Together… one drop in a constant stream.
. Together… one stitch in an endless seam.
Tim Grace, 27 November 2011
To the reader: A description of everything must include thought; not just the enactment of thought. Any mental configuration is a construct of the universe. To claim that anything, once thought, doesn’t exist is a fallacy. Our power to imagine does not exist outside the universe. If we imagine an omnipotent power then such a Thing exists. Any claim that the Thing does not exist is as questionable as the original figment of imagination that created the Thing. We can argue about the Thing but not of its existence … it has been thought, therefore it exists; for good or ill.
To the poet: In providing commentary to this cluster of poems it’s obvious that at the time of writing them (in late 2011) I was conscious of the sonnet’s fourteen-line shape. There’s a regular use of four-line blocks visually similar; architectural in design. The stanzas are built like reinforced pillars preparing the way for a capstone-couplet. Some where, I recall reading, the sonnet is a poetic form that mirrors the Golden Ratio.
Most days come and go, not so with this one.
This one lingers somewhat longer than most.
This one reminds us of the good we’ve done.
Of this ‘one day’ we neither brag nor boast.
There’s a sombreness about this ‘one day’.
It’s the ‘one day’ of all days when we pause
to acknowledge the fallen and to pray
that in their memory we recognise the cause
that gave them their reason to sacrifice,
so selflessly, their gold and silver themes;
and then to give, regardless of the price,
a new set of hopes, a new set of dreams.
. Let this ‘one day’ bring comfort to their souls,
. for they have earned the rest that peace extols.
To the reader: Sombre and respectful, as they are, collective commemorations are reassuring; an inter-generational confirmation of commitment to each others’ national interests. Often sprinkled through the calendar that ‘one day’ is loaded with patriotic symbolism. That ‘one day’ bares the burden of testimony. We are reminded of heroic deeds of self-sacrifice and strength of character; drawn to action in the face of unimaginable fear. Those that died on our behalf … we will remember them; they died in war, they rest in peace.
To the poet: The current of a flowing river is to some extent just a mathematical calculation. Given no reason to do otherwise, a river that follows its direction without resistance or impedance will behave predictably; without much character. This sonnet begins like that… four steady sentences to begin with. But then, the river of words begin to flow. The next eight lines blend to form a single ribbon of sense – punctuated to give it an uneasy rippling; an agitation that finds stoic resolution; at end, the reassurance of peace.