Chaos and Order Within the Poetry Universe

This ‘poem’ derives from the Secret Life of Chaos documentary that was recently on the BBC.

I thought the documentary describing recurring patterns and nature reporting back to itself fitted quite nicely with the Folding Mirror theme, so I created this ‘poem’.

The programme showed how a process known as self-similarity means that nature replicates itself in ever smaller identical patterns known as fractals. Some examples of this are body organs, tree branches, or river systems.

The documentary also talked about how chaos means that even simple mathematical equations describing natural events that should work perfectly are never foolproof, and it is this ‘chaos’ that creates change over time. Humanity is thought to have been evolving for over 3 billion years.

In line with the idea of order being thrown into chaos and change happening as a consequence, the second ‘half’ of the whole poem, below the middle line, has been changed slightly to the top half. Can you spot the change?

The Poem

The Secret Life of Chaos

self-similarity replicates at every size level it wants
fractal property the same on all scales
body organs and rivers to the universe
patterns spreading out in repetition
complex systems rely on simple mathematical equations
in the loop of nature life reports back to itself from its environment
in the loop of nature life reports back to itself from its environment
complex systems rely on simple mathematical equations
patterns spreading out in repetition
body organs and rivers to the universe
fractal property the same on all scales
self-similarity replicates at every size level it wants

evolutionary tweeks gradually mutate life and form

self-similarity replicates at every size level
fractal property the same on all scales
body organs and rivers to the universe
patterns spreading out in repetition
complex systems rely on simple mathematical equations
in the loop of nature life reports back to itself from its environment
in the loop of nature life reports back to itself from its environment
complex systems rely on simple mathematical equations
patterns spreading out in repetition
body organs and rivers to the universe
fractal property the same on all scales
self-similarity replicates at every size level


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The Title in the Folding Middle Line

When I researched the folding middle line last week (please see previous post for results on whether the middle line stood alone or linked the two halves of the poem) I also counted how often the title of the poem was used in the middle line.

I found that out of the 76 Folding Mirror poems on this site 10 had the full title in the middle line, 23 used parts of the title in the middle line, and 43 didn’t include any of the title in the middle line.

How The Folding Middle Line Has Been Used in 76 Poems

Central to the Folding Mirror in more ways than one is the Folding Mirror line. After a conversation with Caroline Gill about its importance I decided to analyse how the Folding Middle line has been used in the poems on this site. That conversation went something like this:

Caroline: I have just been reading an excellent Palindromic poem. It was very like a Folding Mirror poem in structure, but without the pivotal Folding Mirror line. It made me wonder, Marc, how you would begin to express that extra something that the FM line gives to a piece. It would be great to have some clarification here.

Marc: On the relevance of the FM middle, I think the folding middle line clarifies the importance and relevance of the dividing object or idea. For example, if the Hadrian’s Wall poem hadn’t had reference to the wall in the middle it may just have been seen as a general nature/myth poem that could have been anywhere in the region, but expressly having reference to the wall signifies its centrality to the poem. I guess it depends how much you want to leave to the imagination? With my FMs the middle line is also often a symbolic representative for the poem’s main physical/visual/conceptual focus: as with Hadrian’s Wall; or the equator, Earth’s surface, horizon, Saturn’s rings etc.
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When I researched the 76 Folding Mirror poems on the site I found that 51 had the middle line dividing the two halves of the poem, while 25 used the middle line to link the two halves.

Of the 25 that linked the two halves, 18 were full links between the top half and the bottom. All but one went vertically down, with To Heaven or Hell the odd one out, as it started in the middle and then linked to the two halves above and below.

Of the other 7, three had the link ending at the middle line, while four had the link starting at the middle line.

Thanks to Caroline for the question and inspiring the research into how the Folding Mirror form has been used so far, and hope it interests you.

Poems on this Site List Updated

An email discussion with Caroline Gill about the importance of the folding middle line in this poetry form inspired me to update the poems on this site list this morning.

There are now 76 Folding Mirror poems on the site, along with two Sarah James palindromes and Jean Knill’s haiku thoughts. Thanks to everybody who has contributed poetry, and also those who have read and commented on the poems.

The updated list is now available: poems on this site.

I think there’s a lot more that can be done with the form, and hope you’ll feel the urge to create more Folding Mirror poems this year.

I’m going to use the list to look through the poems and see how the folding middle line has been used, and should report the results on Wednesday. Thanks to Caroline for more inspiration.

DEC Appeal No SEO Post

DEC APPEAL

I’ve thought and written a lot about the pros and cons of using this poem, but just found I was going around in a circle of justification, doubt and self-criticism. So I’m just posting it with the appeal links either side.

Divided Earth, Unifying People

sky clouds just passed on by
watching poor humanity die
and others sit and cry
the day the walls fell down
and the presidential palace lost its crown

Paradise island rumbled and buildings tumbled

seismic waves rising like sharks to surface
tectonic plates collide along fault face
the Earth is always moving
it cannot see above
and knows nothing about human love

DEC APPEAL

Caroline Gill Reviews Marc Latham’s Poetry Collection

Caroline Gill, a valued contributor and supporter of this site, has kindly posted a review of my (Marc Latham) collection: ADHD, Bipolarity and Folding Mirrors on her blog Caroline at Coastcard and a shortened version on the sales page for the poetry ebook on Chipmunka.

To use a construction metaphor for the building of the poems: a review from an accomplished and talented poet appreciating my poetry makes all the mental digging, word cementing and structure forming needed for the work worthwhile.

Anybody reading and enjoying it also makes it worthwhile.

Snowcatcher: the Film of the Poem

Marc Latham’s epic Folding Mirror poem, Snowcatcher: Cradler of Cosmic Latte , has now been adapted into an epic film by leading werewolf director and celebrity, the greenygrey, or as it is known in the movie world, greenygrey3.

The epic film, titled: Snowcatcher and the Swans, has been rush released onto youtube before the snow melts.

Hope it compliments the poem for you, and provides evidence of Snowcather in action.