Engineering Log: Introduction to the Horological Epic

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.

Some years ago, I was watching time tick away on a clock and decided that if I got the bank-teller job (for which I had applied that morning and was awaiting their response) 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. Only working on it during work breaks, of course.

It was — on all fronts — a very romantic idea.

Then I spent six hours solving for a math equation that didn’t exist online, started working on the epic (as a collection of poems rather than one singular poem), and lost steam because (1) decompensation and (2) the individual poems were too disjointed in technique to build any momentum in the collection’s writing.

But that was Attempt One, and while Attempt Two is another post for another day, this is an Engineering Log. Today we are establishing a sub-genre of epic poetry with its own rules.

The Horological Epic

An epic poem with a line of verse for every second or minute in a 12-/24-/36-/etc.-hour period. All meters and rhyme schemes are allowed with variety within the entire epic if one is working on an epic collection of poems; but, if writing a single epic poem the schematics of the poems must be consistent for the entire piece.

The Timed Horological Epic

The end-line of each stanza/poem is 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. (Calculations are on their way.)

The Maritime Horological Epic

Books/poems/stanzas of this type are divided according to a dogged watch (the watches kept on sailing ships) and call for the 12 hours of the basic form to be multiplied by two or three or more to accommodate those “keeping watch” get a full twelve hours as the speaker of the poem. Would be great for collabs so that each participant is one of the watchmen and thus each writing their own horological epic that intertwines with the other(s).

And there you have it: The Horological Epic, its subtypes, and the general rules of each. Over the next several months we’ll dive deeper into the Timed Horological Epic, its math, and all the calculations completed for you so you can get straight to writing your own epic.