The Longest Now


In eternal rhyme: as Cyberiad draws nigh, a tiny Lem shrine
Sunday March 25th 2018, 1:49 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,Glory, glory, glory,noetic,poetic justice

Stanislaw Lem‘s Cyberiad is a miracle of 20th century literature.

In particular, the poems of Trurl’s Electronic Bard, and the story itself, remain one of the best bits of writing I know.  So I’m preserving here the Bard’s poems, in as many translated languages as I can find.

English

Phlogoisticosh. Rhomothriglyph. Floof.

Pev’t o’ tay merlong gumin gots,
Untle yun furly pazzen ye,
Confre an’ ayzor, ayzor ots,
Bither e furloss bochre blee!


Mockles! nt on silpen tree,
Blockards three a-feening,
Mockles, what silps came to thee
In they pantry dreaming?


Oft, in that wickless chalet all begorn,
Where whilom soughed the mossy sappertort
And you were wont to bong–


{Responding to Klapaucius’s taunts…}

The Petty and the Small
Are overcome with gall
When Genius, having faltered, fails to fall.

Klapaucius too, I ween,
Will turn the deepest green
To hear such flawless verse from Trurl’s machine.

Have it compose a poem — a poem about a haircut! But lofty, noble, tragic, timeless, full of love, treachery, retribution, quiet heroism in the face of certain doom!  Six lines, cleerly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter s!!

Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.
She scissored short. Sorely shorn,
Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed,
Silently scheming,
Sightlessly seeking
Some savage, spectacular suicide.

Now all in g! A sonnet, trochaic hexameter, about an old cyclotron who kept sixteen artificial mistresses, blue and radioactive, had four wings, three purple pavilions, two lacquered chests, each containing exactly one thousand medallions bearing the likeness of Czar Murdicog the Headless…

Grinding gleeful gears, Gerontogyron grabbed
Giggling gynecobalt-60 golems


Let’s have a love poem, lyrical, pastoral, and expressed in the language of pure mathematics.  Tensor algebra mainly, with a little topology and higher calculus, if need be. But with feeling, you understand, and in the cybernetic spirit.

Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,
Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to n,
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

Come, every frustrum longs to be a cone,
And every vector dreams of matrices.
Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:
It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

In Riemann, Hilbert or in Banach space
Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.
Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,
We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

I’ll grant thee random access to my heart,
Thou’lt tell me all the constants of thy love;
And so we two shall all love’s lemmas prove,
And in our bound partition never part.

For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,
Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,
Wielding their compasses, their pens and rulers,
Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?

Cancel me not — for what then shall remain?
Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,
A root or two, a torus and a node:
The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

Ellipse of bliss, converge, O lips divine!
The product of our scalars is defined!
Cyberiad draws nigh, and the skew mind
Cuts capers like a happy haversine.

I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,
I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.
Bernoulli would have been content to die,
Had he but known such a²cos2ф!


{And found among the poet’s papers…}

Arms, and machines I sing, that, forc’d by fate,
And haughty Homo’s unrelenting hate,
Expell’d and exil’d, left the Terran shore…

 




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