Poetry Month Challenges Day 4: Calm and Chaos

Chaos in Calm by Maria L. Berg 2023

Art is the triumph over chaos.

John Cheever

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

Carl Jung

Calm & Chaos

Calm is defined as freedom from motion or disturbance; stillness. Chaos is a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order. Calm is found through feeling safe which comes through order and expectation. When one’s expectations are met, one feels safe and thus calm. Chaos is the opposite of order and thus destroys all expectations and makes people feel unsafe and unstable.

While exploring the philosophies of calm and chaos, the Stoic philosophers kept coming up, so I found a source text Discourses of Epictetus, and I’m glad I did. I think it will have lots of interesting things to say about the contradictory nouns I’m exploring through out the month. But let’s start with the calm in chaos and chaos in calm:

Try how the life of the good man suits thee, the life of him who is satisfied with his portion out of the whole, and satisfied with his own just acts and benevolent disposition. Hast thou seen those things? Look also at these. Do not disturb thyself. Make thyself all simplicity. Does any one do wrong? Is it to himself that he does the wrong. Has anything happened to thee ? Well ; out of the universe from the beginning everything which happens has been apportioned and spun out of thee. In a word, thy life is short. Thou must turn to profit the present by the aid of reason and justice. Be sober in thy relaxation. Either it is a well arranged universe or a chaos huddled together, but still a universe. But can a certain order subsist in thee, and disorder in the All? And this too when all things are so separated and diffused and sympathethic.

From what I’ve read so far, he agrees with me that calm has to do with expectation. If one simplifies ones desires and looks inwardly rather than outwardly to fulfill them, one can stay calm in both an ordered universe and a chaotic one.

Today’s Images

Finding the calm in chaos and the chaos in calm made me think of reversing a clear plastic technique I created last year. I drew a random pattern of dots and lines with Sharpies, then cut out the center to represent a center of calm in the chaos. I added white lights to my palette so the original colors drawn on the clear plastic can shine through. I really like how the center shifts as if an eye looking to the right and left, up and down. I also really like how the frames of the mirrors create order in the chaos.

Calm in Chaos by Maria L. Berg 2023

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is the first poetry form prompt of the challenge, a triolet. A triolet is an eight-line poem. Within a Triolet, the 1st, 4th, and 7th lines repeat, and the 2nd and 8th lines do as well. The rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB, capital letters representing the repeated lines. For this challenge, all the lines are in iambic tetrameter (for a total of eight syllables per line).

Poem A Day

It is two for Tuesday and today’s prompts are:

  1. Write a dream poem, and/or…
  2. Write a reality poem.

Dverse Poets Pub

For today’s Poetics prompt, Lisa gives us three choices to choose from:
1) Choose any animal and consider its nature and write a poem about the animal;
2) Choose a particular attribute of an animal and write a poem that is about the animal but also an attribute that humans exhibit;
3) Create your own myth or fable involving animals.

I chose number 2.

The Poem

Chaos Comes to Calm

beneath the surface shimmy scales
a rainbow wet and silent swims
in calming curves of unseen trails
beneath the surface shimmy scales
the loose lip hooked the body flails
in torrents of chaotic whims
beneath the surface shimmy scales
a rainbow wet and silent swims

23 thoughts on “Poetry Month Challenges Day 4: Calm and Chaos

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