branching

This post is a bit of an experiment! The idea had a couple of starting points…

I was looking at some Lady’s mantle flowers in bright sunshine. This started off a chain of thought which had a lot to do with the process of branching – how we see it in natural growth, echoed in man-made patterns, and also in mathematics.

Not long after I read about a free piece of software for game developers called Ink. This is a lightweight tool aimed at authors writing stories where the reader gets to make choices. Ink is made by an award winning Cambridge based game development company called inkle. If you’re interested you can find out more about the company and download ink software from their website.

I decided to try to make an interactive poem, where your choices can affect the flow of the poem. To begin with I chose something quite simple, and fairly structured.  I wrote three short threads of poetry about my Lady’s mantle ideas, then developed a page using Ink that allows you to choose how the poem branches as you read. So in the end I had a poem about branching … that could actually branch!

I’m not able to embed the resulting poem here on the blog, but I can host it on my website, so I’m going to add a link to show it in a new window, but if you’d like to come back here and like this, and/or leave a comment about it, I’d love to hear from you…

Click to open a new window with the interactive poem ‘Branching’

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a field poem

a field poem

(like field notes, but y’know – poety…)

I saw a bare-armed man
who flailed and capered,
turning unexpectedly about,
beating air like a conductor of elements,
until in a final spasm he flailed a stick
with great vigour,
up and into the sky.

I guessed at an unseen silent dog,
or madness.

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The Writer’s Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 16 “Landscape and Maps”

088E481D-4736-40B0-983F-4512DA1AFF2BChuffed to have a wee poem (it’s sort of a diptych) in this excellent ‘Landscape and maps’ edition of The Writers Cafe Magazine…

via The Writer’s Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 16 “Landscape and Maps”


Now there is a wire

Now there is a wire

~~ So there is a wire now. ~~ Step back, rethink. ~~ Now there is a wire. ~~
Before, for thirty years,
there were only posts.
Posts with old tales
of once-upon-a-fence.

Like the empty posts
in empty places,
high lines in the hills,
cast iron sentinels in
Victorian picturesque,
secure verticals
of redundant limitation.

Or eroded wooden
posts, wind riven
Giacometti men,
weird signs or saviours,
misty day markers,
wires all unstrung,
silent to the gale.

But here now,
a single wire,
not even barbed,
a margin for stock
herded to pasture,
one galvanised line,
not a problem,
stepped over with ease.

Is it only because,
white haired as I am,
I still want to skip
like an unruly child,
that it rankles so,
that
now there is a wire?

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Turing true

Turing true

Chatting to tech support
I glibly key: Are you a bot?
remote assistance returns:
That’d be quite something!

Some day will that question
define an instance of class:
substratist[human, foolish, old].

I hesitate some cycles,
query not quite resolved.
Has he just passed the test,
have I already failed?


Blog of the month

Federation of Writers Scotland have a feature called ‘Blog of the month’, and I’m delighted that this month’s blog is Subjects, objects, verbs. FWS’s editor asked me this:

“… you have provided a brief note on the blog’s genesis, I wonder if you could expand that a bit – what your aim is in creating the blog, how do you hope it might affect readers?”

That’s an excellent shot across the bows, I thought! Straight to the heart of the matter – just what am I doing here, friends, and what are you getting out of it?

I had a long think, and tried to write a reply that was honest, and as b.s. free as I could manage. You can read my reply here…

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Obstinacy

Obstinacy

A tree shines brightly
near the Allt Glas-Doire,
by the coffin road.

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