D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Poetic Analytics 2

This analysis is done by and for an idealist-realist poet. He needs to know when the poem is complete and the moment when he is complete. He is reminded of the existentialist quest of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick for the great white whale or fish. The whale is apart from him. Lost on his seaward sail or should one say “seeweed sail”, he is only partially complete with stump leg as he is lashed to the white whale. However, he has misread the archetype in the story of Jonah and the whale. He dies. However, Jonah was swallowed whole by the whale. He becomes the whale, undergoes a symbolic death and is spewed out in rebirth.

The poet is swallowed by 山过山 whose first rectangle is a fish-face wearing mountain crown. In the complete poem, two fish with scaled 山 characters face each other vertically to make a single fish. He reads downword and treads upward to undergo rebirth through the “x” symbol whose four triangles represent female fertility. They were also found at the four corners of the fish net painted on bowls of Yangshao culture.   The triangles represented a bountiful catch. He had caught the fish-face, but it had also caught him.


                The fish image sees me as I seize it.

                It leaps free to break bonds that hold.

                A bold bound upward does unfold.

                Gold drops fall off of scales sunlit.

                 D. Carlton Rossi   copyright   2016

Traditional Chinese  魚之樂 = The Fish is Happy


                      Renminyu painting on Banpo pottery bowl

                                     of Yangshao culture

For the poet, the poem is ultimately complete when he cyclically rejoins the renmianyu or fish-face. It is the archetype. The renmianyu is painted on the bowl of Banpo pottery fired in furnace. He becomes a potter and artist. The renmianyu is transformed into the yin-yang symbol which contains two fish resembling an Ouroboros. The symbol metamorphoses into various image poems of the Banpo poetry series. He becomes a Daoist. Then, the symbol is transformed into a stone carving of a fish-face on Fu Shan. He becomes a stone mason. The carving is transformed into a photograph of the mountain. It is revealed through an epiphany. He becomes a graphic designer. The enhanced photograph is analyzed and idealized thus transforming itself into 山过山 or an image poem with Chinese mountain characters. At the top is a fish-face. He becomes an idealistic-realistic poet of free-form through stream of consciousness and unconsciousness. The cycle is complete when his soul returns to the river bank to become broken shards of fired clay from which he came and the faded image of the renmianyu buried in the ground. He awaits the return of the Yellow River for rebirth. 

According to Plato, the Ouroboros has no need to see. The poet though recognized his first Ouroboros in a fourth year class of Northrop Frye at Victoria College of the University of Toronto. As a freshman, he had sneaked or snuck (if one uses the vulgar variant) into the amphitheater where Professor Frye was teaching. The Ouroboros was drawn on the board.

To provide a short background, Dr. Frye had written a landmark book called Fearful Symmetry in 1947 which formed the basis of the new discipline called Literary Criticism. He followed it up with Anatomy of Criticism in 1957. In a sense, he had done for literature what Aristotle had done for Poetics. Dr. Frye received international acclaim. At one point, he was the third most quoted person in the world.

Professor Frye asked the class about the role of the Ouroborus. There was complete silence. Everyone was in awe of him including myself. However, it was almost as if the question were directed to me because of his penetrating stare. He must have known I was a newcomer and shouldn’t have been there, but maybe he saw something else in this student with disruptive behaviour. To me, he was like the Sphinx asking his riddle of life and death.

The basic geometric pattern of the poem is as follows. There is an isosceles triangle of equal sides and angles at the top of the poem.       This imitates perfection. The isosceles triangle rests on a column of five rectangles. Each rectangle is divided diagonally from top-right hand corner to bottom left-hand corner by an imaginary line. Two equal sized triangles are created in each rectangle.There are also found four parallelograms. If the poem were to appear in more concrete form then it would transform into a 30 foot high Chinese obelisk with marble and granite facings displaying Chinese 山 characters carved into them.

The mathematics of the pattern is relatively simple. It begins with three characters in the isosceles. Then, within the first and second rectangles there are five and seven characters respectively. The entire pattern consists of an odd number of characters. They are 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. The total is 48.

                                   down yin triangle


                                    up yang triangle

                      Direction of the Yin and Yang Triangle

The poem can best be explained through an illustration of its components. It resembles a  eye chart created by the poet in 2007, except for four special features. First, it is divided into triangles which can combine into a rectangle with the exception of the isosceles. Second, yang triangles point upward on the right-hand side and contain yin characters. Yin triangles point downward on the left-hand side and contain yang characters. Third, yang characters are white on a black background and yin characters are black on a white background. Finally, each rectangle is imagined to be divided into two lines which relate to each other in terms of similarity or approximate opposite.


The first three 山 of the poem are found within the isosceles. They convey two messages. If it is read down then one would go from the top 山 to the right-point 山 below on the left and then over to the on the right.     The message may be either “upright up” or perhaps “up right-up”. Either meaning  may help one to formulate line 12. Actually, those particular   appear in that exact order five more times in the poem, but in different ways. 

If understood from the bottom up it might be right-point in a right direction to up-point and then up to up-point. This might be construed as either “right-up up” or perhaps “right up up”. At any rate, it is obvious that whether one goes down the isosceles or up the isosceles that the actual course is not in the reverse direction.



When one is reading down the poem to discover the last line then one basically goes from left to right.

The three black yin characters are within a white isosceles pointing directly up.

The fourth 山 “below” is a white yang character pointing downward.

It is within a black yin triangle pointing downward on the left-hand side.

Three yin (above) plus one yang (below) gives a ratio of 3:1. 


*  is the Chinese character for mountain.  It is pronounced  shan. Of course, it also resembles a mountain. It can be symbolized with the three middle pointing fingers of the right hand on a raised arm.


The second triangle which points up on the right-hand side contains four yin . It is a yang triangle.

The third triangle is yin. It is located below. It points downward on the left-hand side and contains two yang .

Four yin 山 (above) plus two yang (below) gives ratio of  4:2

It also begins a series of four parallelograms.


The fourth triangle which is yang points up on the right-hand side and contains five yin .

A fifth triangle which is below (forming a parallelogram) is comprised of the first three yang of line 7 and it is pointing down on the left-hand side.

Those three of the yin triangle have yang characteristics.

Five yin 山 (above) plus three yang 山 (below) gives ratio of 5:3.

The full progressive list of ratios is as follows: 3:1, 4:2, 5:3, 6:4 and 7:5.

There are at least two interpretations to this progressive list of ratios which are not necessarily exclusive of one another and may be inclusive. First, the list may be viewed in terms of logic. For example, the first ratio could be seen as 1110 or on, on, on and off. Second, the 3: 1 ratio may be considered in terms of truth. For example, retain the true and refrain from the false. 


A series of four parallelograms has been mentioned. It may also be viewed as a single parallelogram. It is beyond the purview of this analysis to explain their purpose. However, it is rather noticeable what has been excluded from them. It is the first yin triangle and the last yang triangle. The two triangles contrast in another way. The yin triangle has the fewest number of characters; namely, only one. The yang triangle has the most characters at eight. Both triangles are within "approximate opposite rectangles". In the first rectangle, this means the down-point yang 山  is opposite to the up-point yin 山 below it, but not in terms of size. With regard to the last rectangle, the five yang  in the yin triangle are opposite to the yin characters in the yang triangle except in terms of size. They are therefore "approximate opposite". 

It should be noted that there is another discernible, directional pattern that may help identify a black yin triangle pointing downward on the left side and a white yang triangle pointing upward on the right side. The first character (on the left hand side) of the first line of every yin triangle, with the exception of only one, is a downward pointing yang character. There are four yin triangles within rectangles where this yang character points down at the beginning. In terms of the yang triangles, the last character on the right-hand side of every yang triangle (or the last character of the second line of every rectangle with the exception of only one) is an upward pointing yin character. There are four yang triangles where the yin characters point upward at the end of the second line. These down yang and up yin characters are actually at opposite corners of three of the rectangles which have all or partial “approximate opposite” characteristics.

There are a notable number of triangles and 山 in the poem. There are five yin triangles and five yang triangles. Their sides point down and up respectively. The exception is the yang isosceles which points directly up.

In terms of 山 characters, there are thirty-three yin 山 within five yang triangles and one isosceles. There are also fifteen yang 山 within five yin triangles. Numerically speaking, the yin symbols are more plentiful than the yang symbols in the triangles. However, the total number of possibilities up or down or moves for that matter has not been calculated. 

It is interpreted though that these characters are initially in equilibrium.  Later, they appear to attempt to re-establish this equilibrium on the downword read through the rectangles since the yang characters gain in number by one on the first line of every rectangle while the yin character remains at one. In the second line of the rectangles, the yin characters increase by one. In addition, both the first and second lines of each rectangle increase by one whereby the second line always has one more character than the first line. On one’s tread upwards, the  seem to try to return to equilibrium at the top.


It should be said that the first line of the first rectangle contains both one yang and one yin character in balance. It may be that they are in balance because they are so close to the isosceles. Secondly, imagine that there is an “x” linkage between the two of line 2 in the isosceles and the two of line 3. You will notice that the lines of the “x” point to pairs of opposite.  Might the “x” symbol represent the balance at the center of the peaks of four abstract, simplified mountains whose bases are open from the cardinal directions?

The two of line 3 may correspond to the dots of a traditional yin-yang symbol. The characters contrast fully in terms of white and black and the white and black of the triangles they are within. However, they do not point in opposite directions. There seem to be at least two possible explanations of this phenomenon. There is a moral explanation where the yin character on the right might be interpreted to point to the yang character on the left. Indeed, it may be pointing out the wrong way to avoid. Left is wrong and right is right. The reverse might be found in the second line of the isosceles where a right-point yin points correctly to an up-point .

Second, there is the relationship issue of opposites in terms of direction. In the third line, the down-point yang is diagonally oriented to the smaller, opposite up-point yin which is third character in the fourth line. It is also diagonal to the larger, opposite up-point yin in the isosceles. In the same way, the left-point yin in the third line is diagonally oriented to the smaller, opposite right-point yin below it and also diagonal to the larger, opposite right-point yin above it.

Ultimately, zig-zag patterns result in these relationships. They are zig-zags that cross-over each other. Maybe, though, it is also one “x” above another “x”.

Furthermore, a connecting line might be drawn between the down yang of line 3 and the up yin  of line 4. This might mean there is a balance between the three smaller yang characters on line 4 and the three larger yang characters within the isosceles.

To avoid confusion and emphasize their importance, yin 山 pointing directly upward within yang triangles (or the isosceles) are termed        up yin 山 and underlined. They number thirteen in total. Yang 山 which point directly downward within a yin triangle are termed  down yang . It also is underlined. 


One needs now to skip to the 12th or last line of the image poem where the 山 are quite small. It is depicted above. In order to construct the last line one must begin by utilizing only the three yin symbols from the yang isosceles. Ignore a down yang from below. Remember the 3:1 ratio.

Overall, the implication is that one doesn't necessarily have to see particularly well in order to know the start of the final line of this "eye chart". One does though need to see the characters of line 1 and 2. These are then applied to the first three characters of line 12.

Line 12 is completed by applying the four yin 山 from the yang triangle within the first rectangle. The next, two yang 山 are ignored if one applies the 4:2 ratio. The entire 12th line is unique in that it contains four up yin 山 which outnumber the three down yang 山 in line 11.

Of course, it would have been much easier for the poet if he had been told to use the first eight characters and skip the fourth one which is associated in Chinese with death and also points down to the underworld so that he would know the last line. It sounds to the poet it must be me an open secret.

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