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Link of the Week - Haiku winners


Link of the Week: Haiku winners

Kinryūzan Temple, Asakusan, Japan by Hiroshige Utagawa. Image courtesy Wikipedia under Creative Commons license

After scientific, peer-reviewed scrutiny (otherwise known as “Hey, that sounds cool, I think I’ll publish it”), here are the winning entries from our first-ever computing haiku contest.

The rules followed those laid down when the European editor was in grade school in Miss Fife’s Creative Writing Class: Similar to the classical Japanese poetic form known as haiku, these compositions must consist of three lines, with five syllables on the first line, seven on the next and five on the last.

However, where traditional haiku must contain a reference to nature somewhere in the text, the ones in our contest must refer to computing or physics.

In all other respects, budding scientist/poets were free to indulge their imaginations.

And what imaginations!

A professor of science communication once said that physicists generally have a gift for metaphor and simile, possibly because of their constant search for concrete, specific ways to describe abstract phenomena. Nonetheless, we were unprepared for the number of clever contributions.

We wish we had room to print them all; you can see more at the iSGTW Forum on the Nature Networks site.

Below are the winning entries:


Computing haiku:
What could be simpler?
Count to seventeen.

-Matt Crawford

How far can we see
On the shoulders of giants
Our heads in the Cloud?

-Francois Grey, Center for Citizen Cyberscience

From tiny byte streams
To mighty data rivers
The grid flows onward

-Catherine Gater, European Grid Initiative

Man, I hate haiku
Of all possible worlds, why
Decohere here, now?

-Marshall Barnes

December query
fewer employee records
in the results pane

-Deborah P Kolodji (I’m a SQLServer Database Admin – can you tell?)


Mainframes now desktops.
Am I more efficient now
using all the bytes?

A haiku contest?
Weekly winners want to know.
Are they the chosen?

-Enad Eigua


A meteorite
Lands on an astronomer
Could be irony

If at first you don’t
succeed with writing Haiku
try, try, try again

-Mark McAndrew


Note: Midway through the contest, the European Editor received a very nice letter from the Haiku Society of America explaining that, strictly speaking, what we were doing was not really haiku — which pay much more attention to things such as imagery, “season words” and “cutting words” over syllable count. In addition, the concept of “syllable” in Japanese is different from that of the English-speaking world; according to the Society, the word “London” would be considered to have four syllables in haiku.

But in the interest of fairness, the contest continued with the original set of rules.

There’s a lot more about the fascinating world of purist haiku at Becoming a Haiku Poet.

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