In which I take the crazy idea behind one poetry project and design a sub-genre of epic poetry simply because I can.
The word “epic” has a number of connotations; narrative poetry, super-long or -ambitious creative endeavors, tales of heroic feats into and out of some sort of underworld (or not), grandiose, withstanding the test of time.
A while back, I was watching time tick away on a clock and decided that if I got the bank-teller job which I had applied that I would write a line of verse for every second in a twelve-hour period about the romance of the minute-hand and the hour-hand with the second-hand as a sort of messenger between the two. And that I would only work on it during work breaks while waiting for the time that I would get out of work.
It was — on all fronts — a very romantic idea, one that never happened partly because I didn’t get the bank-teller job and partly because after performing every individual calculation for the various crossing of the hands I decided to go in a different direction. Specifically, what is now the Seconds book series that will be an 11-volume collection of fairy tale-inspired poems rather than a single epic poem.
Working on and thinking about the project, I feel myself hesitate to put in the effort to complete it because: Once it’s done, what could I possibly do to top it? What project could I possibly conceive of with which to challenge myself further?
While I totally have one idea that’s completely crazy and that I will never finish in my lifetime (another post topic for another day), there is a way to top this first project of a line of verse for every second in a 12-hour period.
To turn this project into a its own sub-genre of epic poetry, with its own rules.
Introducing the Horological Epic
BASICS | A line/couplet/stanza of verse for every second in a 12- or 24-hour period. All meters and rhyme schemes are allowed with variety within the entire epic being allowed if one is working on an epic collection of poems; but, if writing a single epic poem the schematics of the poem must be consistent for the entire piece.
OFFICIAL VARIATIONS | A timed horological epic has the end-line of each stanza (or poem) determined by the various crossings of the three hands of a clock with each book/volume of the work ending on each second the minute-hand crosses the hour-hand (my SECONDS book series is an in-progress example of this). A maritime horological epic divides the books/poems/stanzas of the poem according to a dogged watch (the watches kept of sailing ships) and call for the 24 hours of the basic form to be multiplied by two or three to accommodate the rotation of those “keeping watch” of the work (great for two- or three-partner collabs so that everyone involved essentially writes their own horological epic that intertwines with the other(s)).
Now’s a good time to subscribe to Better Storytelling’s daily blog The Brementon Muse (if your haven’t already) because I’m gonna be expanding on the information available regarding this form in case anyone out there wants to give it a shot.
Also published on Medium.