A long time ago, I made the Collatz poetic form, which was just about as nerdy as it gets when it comes to poetic forms. But tonight, after several cups of coffee, I have come up with an even nerdier (by that, I mean super cool) poetic form called the Bytelle.
The Bytelle is based on the binary system in computing and programming. A binary code is a way of representing text and numbers. Each symbol is assigned a string of 8 bits that come in pairs of binary digits of either “1”s or “0”s. For example the letter “a” can be represented in binary as “01100001.” An 8-bit string of binary digits makes one byte; hence, “Bytelle,” or a complex, binary acrostic poem.
- Basically, a Bytelle begins with you choosing a word. For my poem below, I chose the word “free.”
- Once you have a word, you enter it into this site here and hit “encode” to get its binary equivalent. Since I typed in “free,” I got “01100110011100100110010101100101.”
- Don’t get intimidated by the numbers. What you need to do next is divide the whole string into sets of 8: “01100110 01110010 01100101 01100101.” This will be your poem’s structural pattern.
- Each string of 8 bits (1 byte) corresponds to one stanza (specifically an octave, as it contains 8 lines). Lines are, therefore, divided into 8-line stanzas.
- In binary, a bit is either turned “on” (if the value is “1”) or “off” (if the value is “0”); therefore, in a Bytelle, all lines labeled “1” are rhymed, while those labeled “0” are unrhymed.
- There are no rules regarding meter.
0 Sunlight melts into my skin;
1 Skin melts into my soul—
1 The recurring pattern takes its toll,
0 As I stroll within my outer shell.
0 I must hide my eyes in the shadows
1 That the room creates in a thumbhole
1 In a corner I extol,
0 Neath a scarecrow mask I live my day.
0 Sunlight melts into my bones,
1 And it fixates on the sole
1 Of my secret to control
1 My eyes in a murky fishbowl
0 Bubbling with bits
0 Of my soul turned into hyperboles
1 Screaming—teeming—from the sinkhole
0 Of my body’s lost innateness.
0 I turn from the sunlight
1 To escape into the wormhole
1 Ecstasy beneath my bedroll;
0 Beneath the stench of masks
0 Worn out by boiling tears
1 That waft from an eyehole
0 In a vaporous hiss
1 That tickles my soul.
0 I will melt in the day.
1 I will tear through this hole;
1 I will break free of parole
0 And lie naked from the mask
0 That has left me spinning
1 In a standstill loophole.
0 The sun will melt into me
1 In an inverse, outward black hole.
In case I made a mistake in my explanation of binary codes above, please leave me a comment below. My understanding of the system is very limited.