Correspondences : coding is poetry in disguise

Nature is a temple in which living pillars
Sometimes give voice to confused words;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with understanding eyes.

Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance
In a deep and tenebrous unity,
Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,
Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.

There are perfumes as cool as the flesh of children,
Sweet as oboes, green as meadows
— And others are corrupt, and rich, triumphant,

With power to expand into infinity,
Like amber and incense, musk, benzoin,
That sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

http://fleursdumal.org/poem/103

Coding is poetry



Nature is a temple in which living pillars
Sometimes give voice to confused words;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with understanding eyes.

When we code, we re-use concepts and codes from other developers, their symbols are indeed echoing in our own code, and sometimes, it gives voice to new words: the «paradigm» emerging from a new practice. The man passes through this forest of symbols bearing a sense, but the poem implies the man does not always hear them. It is given to some.


Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance
In a deep and tenebrous unity,
Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,
Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.


We rely on prolonged fainted echoes of old time, like Turing Machines, functional programing, document oriented database (NoSql) ... they seem noisy because of the collisions of the echoes, they also form a dark maelstrom where maths, geometry, electronics, business are mixing together. And, some can feel the consistency in this.

There are perfumes as cool as the flesh of children,
Sweet as oboes, green as meadows
— And others are corrupt, and rich, triumphant,
 
There are ideas that enlighten us by their striking simplicity, others that are rotten and smelling like anti-design patterns, and finally some that smells of genius mixed up with the smell of a full blow up.

With power to expand into infinity,
Like amber and incense, musk, benzoin,
That sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses.

The beauty of programming, lies in the fact, that coder like poets live in a dark world of frightening symbols, yet intoxicating words. By the sheer power of our imagination, we make sense out of this wor(l)ds*.

(*I do skip the infuriating part where we lack inspiration and feel like useless frauds.)
And this is the heart of our code, since code aims at being useful to human beings not computers.
 
Edit : that's must be bias coming from my past as a Perl user.
Here is a code in Perl, that compiles (and does nothing, but is human readable. 

Black Perl

BEFOREHAND: close door, each window & exit; wait until time.
    open spellbook, study, read (scan, select, tell us);
write it, print the hex while each watches,
    reverse its length, write again;
    kill spiders, pop them, chop, split, kill them.
        unlink arms, shift, wait & listen (listening, wait),
sort the flock (then, warn the "goats" & kill the "sheep");
    kill them, dump qualms, shift moralities,
    values aside, each one;
        die sheep! die to reverse the system
        you accept (reject, respect);
next step,
    kill the next sacrifice, each sacrifice,
    wait, redo ritual until "all the spirits are pleased";
    do it ("as they say").
do it(*everyone***must***participate***in***forbidden**s*e*x*).
return last victim; package body;
    exit crypt (time, times & "half a time") & close it,
    select (quickly) & warn your next victim;
AFTERWORDS: tell nobody.
    wait, wait until time;
    wait until next year, next decade;
        sleep, sleep, die yourself,
        die at last
# Larry Wall


2 comments:

ben said...

Excellent. Refreshing and Inventive.

jul said...

In the fight between the tenants of the engineering approach and the ones of the craftsmanship I take my stance : You Shall Not Pass!

Because Coding Art is lying in the gray zone of poetry :)