Friday, May 29, 2020

Poetry Friday: If Digitopolis had a Chapel

May's "hindsight" challenge seemed simple:  pick one of your old poems to revise and/or write a new poem in conversation with it.

Turns out, that wasn't enough guidance for me.  I had glimmers of ideas, but nothing that developed a real shine. (I apparently also caught a case of the extended metaphor.)  In any case, I decided to go back and attempt a Poetry Sisters challenge I missed. There weren't many, but in our ekphrastic (image-inspired) posts, we were often given more than one piece of art or photo to respond to.  Could I write to one I'd passed over the first time?

I could. In January of last year, Tricia shared images from an art show in Richmond, and I wrote an alphabetically themed poem to some cool type fonts.  In the interest of fairness to the Math Kingdom, today I've chosen one of the other images, "Color Equation," and written a numerically themed poem for it. (Pretty sure this idea of two kingdoms has been with me since I read the Phantom Tollbooth as a kid. But the poem decided to go deeper, so I followed it.)  

Oh, and the "square" form of the dizain we tried in May last year seemed perfect to use here so I re-visited that challenge too (ten lines of ten syllables, rhymed ababbccdcd.)

Color Equation 2 
by Janine Wong (American, born 1956), 
2017 monoprint with etching, aquatint,
 chine coll√© and hand-sewing on paper

All things being equal 

If Digitopolis had a chapel,
math icons—color equations, in fact,
might glow from windows, and squarely dapple
parallel pews with the light they subtract
from stained glass, and add to the unsung acts
of the Apostles of Arithmetic—
who counter division with deeds that quick-
en the dead, and insist, true as the sun:
Peace requires deep math, most poetic:
one life must equal one life, all one.

                  ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

My poetry sisters "throwbacks" can be found here:


SPECIAL INVITATION:  Poetry Friends who have seen our Poetry Princesses/Poetry Sisters/Poetry 7 posts for many years -- After more than a decade of writing together and several years of monthly assignments, we wondered if any of you might like to play along?

Here's what we propose: Once we agree to our poetic prompts and calendar, we'll share them with you and invite you to write and share, too. We'll remind you once a month or so (via our various social media megaphones) and you're welcome to tag us (or not) when you post.

Now, to that end, here's what's cooking for June, posting on the last Friday of the month: theme is susurrus, or an image of thick woods, whatever form we wish! Join us?

Poetry Friday is hosted today by A Year of Reading


  1. Wow. Yes. I could comment line by line, word by word. But I'll leave it

  2. Amazing and wonderful poem to read as we hope for peace. I'd like to try this form.

  3. Acts of the Apostles of Arithmetic! Deeds that quicken the dead! And then that stunning final couplet.... whoa. TOO much love there. I'll echo Cousin Mary - wow.

  4. This really makes me want to try another dizain.
    Also, you should write a collection of the alphabet kingdom and the numerical kingdom! Please!
    Finally, I love this poem and holy WOW, that last line slayed me absolutely. I needed that today. Thank you.

  5. If only the kingdom of mathematics could run circles around those Acts of the Apostles of Arithmetic and keep them safe, then we might have the peace every one of us deserves. It's a powerful response to the art, to our times. I'll note the dizain, too, interesting to read how it sounds aloud.

  6. Holy (haha) smoke! That last line. This poem is magical and powerful, Sara. I love it.

  7. Quite a feat with this poem. I need to use it as a mentor text. I echo: Wow! And thanks for sharing...


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.