Of late the inventors of poetry forms have caught on to a gimmick, now floating among the arts, of using the Fibonacci Sequence as a model for composition. It’s a mathematical sequence of numbers in which each member is derived by adding the previous two numbers. By definition, the series begins with 0, 1.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144,…..
The poets who like to count syllables have adapted it so that each line of a poem is to follow the sequence by its number of syllables. They call it a “Fib”. This is the first one I have ever written, and likely the last.



You think so?
This is a poem?
Then I am Marie Antoinette
driving a purple corvette as I text this vignette!


80 responses »

    • Yes. Sometimes it seems the worst will swarm us to oblivion, but when I get discouraged about all the junk on the internet, I do try to remember how there are also all the precious jewels in that muck that I would never have otherwise found. Thanks, Karen

      • If you must know purple has always been my favorite color. Nowadays purple cloth can be obtained everywhere but even in the early 1970s it was much less common. To top that I’ve never seen a purple corvette although it sounds correct in your fib.
        By the way I congratulate you on the way that you poetically truncate the last line. I assume that there is a natural limitation on the length of a fib due to that increasingly cumbersome and lengthening next line.

        • Purple was, for a long time, also my favorite color, though I seem to have migrated to a certain intensity of blue, these days, closer to cobalt. I remember, in my calligraphy days, often reading how purple was the most expensive, most sought-after color for the miniatures in illuminated books of hours. Since the pigments were derived from natural plants, animals and minerals in those days, it was hard to get a real purple, and when they did succeed it proved to be rather fugitive and turned brownish over time. Perhaps that’s why it became a royal as well as a theological color.

          It’s very astute of you to notice the business of line length too. I kept my final line to 13 syllables because when I tried the next number in the series—21—the words wouldn’t fit on one line, and since “the line” is an essential element in poetry, the fib eventually becomes more like prose on the page. Most of the ones I’ve seen on the web seem to stop with the 13 syllable line.

    • Please do try it, and share it with us! You can’t get too far beyond a line of twenty-one syllables, however, without —at least visually on the page—-falling into the pit of prose…

      • Thank you! I would LOVE to share it. (swallows nervously) Here it is! My life lesson is saying “no” at the moment so a good opportunity for a few no’s. πŸ˜€

        Ode to the FIB.

        Definitely not!
        A double negative.
        Shakespeare used it be emphatic.
        Now there is just a sneer and β€œpoor grammar.”
        β€œNo” is a complete sentence so read my lips and β€œgo over there!”
        I will observe the lack of metaphor, consider the lack of rhythm and think β€œno wonder it is called a fib”!

  1. I’m sure you’ve written somewhere about the Fibonacci series before Cynthia, but I can’t remember where or in what context. Mathematics was a part of your life for many years, though, wasn’t it?

    • You’re probably right, John. I must have mentioned the Fibonacci series somewhere in these parts, since my partner of 43 years was a mathematics teacher and we enjoyed looking at the overlapping but very different worlds of Maths and Poetry. I had never, until recently, come across “The Fib” as a form for composition, however, since it’s a fairly recent invention. The Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Section were important topics for discussion, also, in an Aesthetics course I once taught. (I hope you notice I put an “s” on Math, just for you!)

      • How considerate of you Cynthia! Especially as Math was your partner’s subject.
        The golden section has always felt so right and inevitable to me. That’s one reason for the deep appeal of Petrach’s sonnet form, I feel.

        • Yes…there just seems to be something in us, and in nature, that responds to that ratio as being beautiful. It’s amazing how many of our current everyday objects conform to the golden section….the standard dimensions of paper, of picture frames, of the credit card, the iPod…..

    • Purple is non-PC? Oh good!! Then my royal use of it was not in vein. πŸ™‚ The real challenge is always that of answering the question: What is your favorite color? One loves them all at various times, in various places….though there’s that certain shade of blue….
      I do question your choice of “eggplant” however. That may be just a bit passΓ©….I think we’re into the more pretentious “aubergine” these days…..

        • As you yourself probably know, we write and we never know, really, in which hearts and minds our words may land, or what the effect is. That’s the nature of the thing. I am honored to have you as a reader, comments or not.

    • The ways—clever and not so clever—that are possible as “form” for a poem are of great interest to me….even the ridiculous ones. I was in the mood for a bit of levity with this one.
      Glad you liked the audio, and thank you for saying so! πŸ™‚

  2. With due respect to the Chinese, there is joke on them that used to tickle us no end when we were kids. It said the Chinese find an elevation which they climb along with a set of metallic bowls and cutlery whenever they have to christen a baby. Whatever sound emanates when those are rolled down go into the making of the baby’s moniker. You cut the mustard to the core of being Marie Antoinette and beheaded the murderers of poetry instead.

    • I love that joke. I do remember something similar, though not so elaborate, said by a TV comedian who referred to a certain family of languages as “dropping silverware.” I once tried to learn to speak Chinese, and found it very complex to my ear, in that one word can have several meanings depending on how you raise or lower your tone of voice. The mind boggles at the range and scope of human inventions across the world.

  3. I got into writing poetry late in life (after I retired) and therefore wasn’t well schooled in its finer points, so I more or less fell into emulating the witty light verse style of poets and composers I’d always admired: Ogden Nash, Cole Porter, W.S. Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame), etc. Fortunately I found that I have a natural feel for rhythm and rhyme, but despite becoming well-published, but I would be fibbing if I said I didn’t envy the more learned (for want of a better word) talents of a fine poet like yourself. πŸ™‚

    • Yes, I think you do have a natural inclination for making poems—from what I’ve read on your blog. I adore Nash, and Porter and Gilbert. I have had many a heated argument with academic types about what they consign to a somehow “lesser” place in the annals of poetry by calling it “light verse.” There has been a long while of these types looking down their nose at poets who use rhyme, for example…and the result has been to make much of the poetry we now see too aloof and obscure on the one hand, and too emotionally mundane on the other.

      The poets you mention deal in wit, and popular culture, and are particularly gifted because they use time-worn forms in unique and original ways—which is a lot more difficult than meets the eye and ear. Some kinds of traditional stanzas are tailor-made for humor and wit, other kinds are needed for the more tragic moods of human life. Some deliver a level of what you call “learned” that will forever limit them to readers of an acquired taste. There’s a whole world of prosody in English to explore. And it’s all good.

  4. This reminds me of Dorothy Parker (as does most things): And love is a thing that can never go wrong; And I am Marie of Romania.

    Next challenge: write a poem based on Avogadro’s number.

    • Of course it would remind you of Dorothy Parker since her Marie of Romania inspired my Marie Antoinette. Only you and one other reader picked up on that. One needs crutches when trying to maneuver through some of these god-awful syllabic forms that people are inventing, left and right. (Dorothy would have a field day with being called a crutch!)

      As to Avogadro’s number, that is probably a limp too far, for me. I was a terrible chemistry student. The only mole about which I could possibly write a poem is the kind that burrows under my front lawn….or is that a vole….?

      Thanks, my friend, for tiptoeing through the archives today. I loved visiting with your comments, as always.

    • Some say there really is such a ratio in nature, and it has been copied in art and architecture….and some say it is just a figment of our imagination, our desire to see patterns that aren’t really there. Who knows? I probably never would have heard of it, either, if I hadn’t been around mathematicians and designers. And I understand it only up to a certain degree, since mathematics were never my forte.

      • Maths (or Math!😊) not mine either which I find interesting as music is maths in many ways . Maybe the Golden segment is quantum in nature – only real if observed! 😁 Now, there’s a debate! Ha ha! πŸ™‡
        Research for tomorrow! Bed time here now! Good night my friend – hope you’re having a great day!

  5. Very nice! I’ve been quite bemused by the forms that were popular about a decade ago: the Rothko, the Pollack, all of the Ou Li Po variations, the playing with prime numbers, anagrams, computer generated love poems, etc. I respect formal poetry too much so I love the way you took “the fib” and transformed it into a viable example of the form with a touch of Dorothy Parker throughout.

    • You are an oasis in the desert, Natalie; so nice to find your comment here. What can one do, when all around seems to be dissolving into a tepid pool of chartreuse kool-aid? Invoke Dorothy Parker, of course. Thank you for your encouragement. Much love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s