2016-10-23

Loose change -- unanimated

A few people have asked to see the words of my animated poem "Loose change" written out in full so they can be studied at leisure, rather than chased after as they run away like water...

It is sort-of against the spirit of the poem...

However a principal I like to keep to is that everything should be either easy or forbidden.  To put it another way it is a principal of user interface design, and I really dislike those computer programs, websites and bureaucracies which make it perfectly possible to do what you want, but put you through two dozen steps to do it.

So, by my own principal, since somebody could pause the playback and copy the words out by hand, I ought to make it easy.

Here you go.  The bold Roman numerals indicate the boundaries between completely different screens in the animation...




Loose change


I


Where does the future come from,
can we know? I will kick fallen leaves
when they blow around my ankles
in an rustle-russet tide,

but no-one can predict
when one leaf falls from the tree,
how many there will be,
whether I will stay to kick them thoroughly,
or wander on.


II


Why do those leaves fall? Do they shiver
in the summer's blaze, programmed
for an end to days? Or do they realise it late, rebel,
and get their Blade Runner moment:
we built you as best we could.

Perhaps it is so good, for trees,
that leaves don't even figure. Maybe
even when a tree falls
some other tree will say
it's for the good of the forest.


III


Can we see the forest for the trees? Thales thought
the whole world water, intransient, showering
past him all his raindrop days,

and Heraclitus saw it all
as change and only change.

Should he maroon me in this maelstrom,
how can I understand a thing?
How to arrange
a place for Archimedes
to stand and leverage the world?


IV


There is no future. It cannot be
in any way determined. Point at it.
You cannot. Thus for me,

said the blind man, scratching,

the future does not exist.


V


Draw the blinds in Plato's cave,
are we stuck here? If you were brave
you would turn away from the shadow play

(it's just a rock wall anyway,)

and go investigate
the fire.


VI


And do we burn? In one way it is true
we literally do. Metabolism charring sugars into lives
and chemistry a one way street.
Chew your meat. Swallow. You can only go downhill.

Cosmology will show the same thing,
on quite a different scale,
but you cannot fail to see
the analogy.

Death's most-favoured daughter --
Entropy -- she never winds the clock.


VII


The more it changes, the more fools say
la plus ça change as if by that they'd chain
the beast. Blind men with elephants

feel a trunk
run into a face, and think
they know how trunks all go,
until the elephant is replaced with a camel.

Trend analysis is always wrong
but the tree has fewer leaves
every morning.




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