Friday, June 11, 2004

Can code be poetry? There is a secret place where I sometimes find myself, its a magical place. A serene calm comes over me when I am there, the soft purring of my machine, the gentle tapping of my keyboard hardly distracts. There are brief and sublime moments when logic is no longer require conscious effort, it intuitive, and transparent, like breathing, where my instructions to move electrons from one gate to another are in harmony. I have often tried to capture these moments, so that I can set them down in words but perhaps rightly, they are like dreams you have just as you slip into slumber, try to hold on to them and you find yourself awake. I usually find these moments when I can abstract out arbitrary number of classes and substitute an interface, thereby achieving symmetry. I feel the poetry in code comes from some form of symmetry, where you have taken a number of seemingly unrelated concepts and constructs and compress them into a singe idea; like Einstein's mass energy conservation principle, in itself a supreme example of polymorphic or haiku poetry.

I think the point the poet-programmer is trying to make is that though the set of words are finite, the reality the poet seeks to describe is infinite and ever changing. If code is another way of expressing something about the world we live in, then surely even a lowly, lonely programmer is a poet for there will ever be newer ways of putting words together to create beauty.