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.

40 syllables

Air, seething beneath, remembers—

Joys. Pains.

Earthly chains attached to her arms—

Sharp. Cold.

20 syllables

Air, seething beneath,

Flies toward the sky . . .

10 syllables

Only to be sealed.

5 syllables

Air, seething beneath, becomes cold—

Forgets to fight, forgets to breathe.

16 syllables

Air suffocates—

Crumbles.

Withers.

8 syllables

Slumbers.

Bemoans.

4 syllables

Concedes.

2 syllables

Dies.

1 syllable

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It is a wonderful poem and form, but anything that is a math problem i would fail.. :)

Ha! I know the feeling…

Even the THOUGHT of thinking about maths is enough to make my mind go blank! Hehehe!

Haha! That made me laugh. :)

I like how the form of your poem and your picture related. This is an innovative approach to form, which gives some cohesion to free verse style.

Thank you for sharing on Real Toads.

Oh, thank you for your comment. I’ve never looked at it that way… :)

i had no idea about that, and honestly, the poem is so good even without knowing the structure that lead to it, that i’m really in awe. that final “dies” simply left me speechless! bravo!!

Thank you. I appreciate that. :)

Oh, well done you! Particularly effective in those final four stanzas (if they are stanzas in a Collatz!)

Thank you! :) And, yes, they are considered stanzas.

Very interesting form and I really enjoyed your poem. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, too! :)

Wow, such a vivid poem! I also found the form interesting, may have to experiment with it a bit (after a few more cups of coffee anyway!)

Well done. Everything in life does come down to

Dies… or does it? – Just for fun, I might have ended withDyingDiesHey, so I guess I’ll have to try this form… intriguing, to say the least

Oh Excellent EXCELLENT!

I thought this form made your words even more powerful in the imagery and the water-panic it made me feel.

Good work!

Loved the poem, hated the “mathematical” approach. Ha. I just got done with my childrens math homework. Enough is enough

But, the outcome of the formula is beauitiful!

wonderful fun

well deserved award, smiles.

get ready to join poets rally week 58 tomorrow.

smiles.

Happy Holidays.

Visiting you from Real Toads Open Link. This is really an interesting poetry form, and I enjoyed your completion.

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