While slogging through my schoolwork in the wee hours of the night, I was suddenly struck by an idea so preposterous that it just might work. An idea so terrifyingly fantastic, that it could only have been inspired by insidious forces of darkness or godlike beings of pure light. Or maybe not. Still, the idea is one of no small grandiloquence, for my ambition for this node is to create a poem written by all the users of Everything2.

Here's how it will work (I hope):

I've ruled out free verse - I figure this thing will need some sort of structure to prevent it from totally running amok. Instead, we will use a modified form of The Sonnet Game, as noded by conform. I used the Random Node function, taking the last word of each random node (excluding numbers and words that made no sense), I have come up with 14 words that rhyme in the pattern of a Shakespearean Sonnet (click on each hardlink to see which random node I got the word from).

Now here's the fun part: by messaging me (mauler), you can submit the next line in the poem. I hold no pretensions about my ability to judge which lines are better, so I will accept lines on a first come, first served basis. Each line will be numbered, with the line number pipelinked to the user who submitted it. When a sonnet is completed, I will generate 14 new words and we will keep going! Hopefully, there will be a series of interrelated 14-line stanzas for as long as we feel like doing this.

A few (loose) ground rules:

1. We won't worry about the meter too much, but try your best to make your lines 10 syllables long (or 11 in the case of feminine rhymes). A little over or a little under is fine if your line is just two damn good to change, but otherwise let's keep it as close to pentameter as we can. Trust me, it will be a better poem this way.

2. Try to make things make at least a little bit of sense. Do not treat your line as if it exists in a vacuum - try to make it fit into the thematic structure of the other lines. This is supposed to be a poem, not a series of one-line zingers. And remember, intriguing is good poetry, nonsensical is not.

3. Node for the ages. Timeless themes are better than inside e2 jokes (unless they are *really* clever). Go for vivid, fresh imagery. Make all ten syllables count! Also, for now, only one submitted line per user - if your line is accepted, that's it, so make it a good one!

4. I reserve the right to refuse silly, vulgar, or stupid line submissions. Yeah, yeah I know, censorship and all. It sucks but there has to be a line drawn at some point. For my part, I will try to never invoke this rule unless absolutely necessary. Also, if this thing gets too out of hand, I will have this whole node nuked and we will never speak of this again.

Okay I've already said too much. Let's get to it!


The Everything Poem

I
1 As Winter came, she covered all with hoar
2 and she took all the life she could steal
3 on wings condensed of others' breath to soar
4 in ghettos brittle with sounds surreal.
5 Panic spreads like a contagious syndrome
6 dangles from an ember-riddled rope
7 as was foretold in that accursed tome,
8 doomed to perch upon the slippery slope.
9 But there is hope in the aurora's lasers
10 which shine on these coldest dark anecdotes,
11 and as the peasants vie with razor,
12 the poets hope to save with quotes.
13 For then, just as Winter is by Spring wrecked,
14 our high words descend into dialect.

II
15 All consumed with the tangential hunt,
16 a nervous fervor shook my heated brain;
17 my kaleidoscope dream doth logic affront
18 whilst Artemis tutors lessons arcane.
19 Of true and false delirium makes a pidgin,
20 the eyes of a man cry the tears of a boy
21 as he remembers the betrayals of his past religion
22 and seeks all such memories to destroy.
23 Yet though from child dreams sprang forth creation
24 and greed trades our cherished hopes for mere dollar,
25 in dreamless maturity, the soul's privation
26 stands as a king o'er fields of squalor
27 amidst the rending leaves of witchcraft
28 legs akimbo and having the last laugh.

III
29 These hands that hold belong to a sucker
30 who wears custom suits and Italian shoes
31 and sips his coffee, drowning in its succor,
32 mean bastard he is in all his tattoos.
33 There are not words, nor is there music
34 for the fat baker baking the big cake.
35 He rises against the rules of the rubric
36 and learns by rote the rhythms of the snake.
37 "I wish," he thinks, "the spring and sun's eyes'd flare"
38 while his pallid confections he was reeling
39 skin lost in Eve's torrential debonair
40 that rarest channel of lascif wheeling
41 proving once again, he can't resist the power
42 of these hands, for a moment stilled by a flower.

(only one line per noder, so if you've already done one, sit back and enjoy)

IV

43 The map I held had no visible X
44 And so entrusted I it to the wind,
45 which held suspended those sacred objects--
46 Beatle, butterfly; flee the cork and pin...
47 Enough of this, let's go to the theater,
48 and sing together that lover's lament,
49 And then we'll sing a song that's sweeter:
50 O leave, my Love! Your love our loves dement!
51 But what shade in the shadows is lurking unlooked?
52 Merely mathematics in hibernation?
53 crooked
54 temptation
55 core
56 fore