Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blank spaces count

If you ever get an SMS from me, there is a strong chance that it will be exactly 160 characters long. This is because I generally type into the Nokia Text Message Editor on a PC, overrun the SMS message limit and then edit them back down. It is also typical of the mad tasks and constraints I am forever setting myself.

Courtesy of Sir Normblog, I have learned of text-message poems (verse which makes a virtue of this limit), and this winning example from Sophie Hannah.
Blank spaces count as characters. It's true.
I wasn't sure. And then I thought of you.
I'm delighted with this idea and, having given you my Haiku some time ago, I'm sure I'll be posting an example soon. In the meantime I like the way that the discipline clips a famous stanza from Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat in a way that emphasises the poem's message, to wit:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of
Supply your own regret after the abrupt truncation.

Next stop - or maybe the same thing - keitai tanka.

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