Of course, we all know what the Collatz Conjecture is. Wait. You don’t? Man, have you been missing out on some serious fun! (If by “fun,” you mean restless nights spending many an hour of your lifetime wasting away wondering whether the Collatz Conjecture is correct, then yes. Fun.)
You begin with a natural number n. If n is even, divide it by 2; if n is odd, then multiply n by 3 and add 1. You repeat the process indefinitely; the conjecture is that whatever number you start with, you will always end up at 1.
When I found out about the Colltaz Conjecture, I knew I had to make a poetic form out of it.
A Collatz Poem, like the conjecture after which it is named, begins with a stanza of any collective number of syllables. Let’s say the stanza has a collective number of 40 syllables divided into any number of lines and distributed in any way.
So, from 40, as per the rules in the Collatz Conjecture, since it is even, we divide it by 2 to get 20. The next paragraph has 20 syllables in it distributed in however many lines. From 20, we get 10; from 10, we get 5. Since 5 is odd, we multiply it by 3 to get 15, and then add 1 to get 16. From there we get 8; from 8, we get 4; from 4, we get 2; and from 2, we get 1. That last stanza is one monosyllabic word. Always.
In short: 40 > 20 > 10 > 5 > 16 > 8 > 4 > 2 > 1
Again, you can start with a lead stanza with as many as 100 syllables or as few as 7. Let us know if you end up with a closing line that isn’t monosyllabic.
Air, seething beneath, knocks on earthen doors,
Leaves rustling above, where once she had danced.
Not hint of regret, not pang of remorse—
She kicks and she undulates to survive.
Air, seething beneath, remembers—
Earthly chains attached to her arms—
Air, seething beneath,
Flies toward the sky . . .
Only to be sealed.
Air, seething beneath, becomes cold—
Forgets to fight, forgets to breathe.