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Related links
small square Luigi Serafini's codex
small square Carolino's guide
small square Voynich manuscript
small square Leonardo's rebuses
small square Shadocks' nonsense
External links
small square More grooks at Carlton
small square Grooks at Wikipedia

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GROOKS

 

A small window on a large world...

 

"After all, what is art? Art is the creative process and it goes through all fields. Einstein’s theory of relativity – now that is a work of art! Einstein was more of an artist in physics than on his violin...
Art is this: art is the solution of a problem which cannot be expressed explicitly until it is solved
" - Piet Hein

Piet Hein  A philosophy of a close link between the subjectivity of the fine arts and the objective world of science made Piet Hein (1905-1996) one of the most original Danes of the 20th century. P. Hein was indeed a manysided man in the best sense: he was philosopher, mathematician, designer, scientist, game inventor and author! He also created a new form of poetry he called 'Grook' ("gruk" in Danish). Piet defined art as a way of thinking about all subjects, so for him 'being a poet' was only one outlet for his astonishing creativity. He asserted in his philosophical writings that the great cultural divide was not between the haves and the have-nots, but between the knows and the know-nots.

  P. Hein wrote over 10,000 of grooks, most in Danish or English, published in more than 60 books. Some say that the name is short for 'GRin & sUK' ("laugh & sigh", in Danish), but Piet said he felt that the word had come out of thin air. His grooks or gruks first started to appear in the daily newspaper "Politiken" in April 1940 - shortly after the Nazi occupation - under the Old Norse pseudonym 'Kumbel' meaning "tombstone". In more exact terms, grooks are small aphoristic verses characterized by irony, paradox, brevity, precise use of language, sophisticated rhythms and rhymes, revealing in a minimum of words and with a minimum of lines some basic truth about the human condition. Grooks were meant as a spirit-building... In fact, those light, tiny poems - that sound almost like mental improvisations - exorcice the feeling of void or anxiety arising from our unquiet modern times.

Superellipse  Amongst Hein's many intriguing creations are the games of Hex, Tangloids, Morra, Tower, Polytaire, TacTix, Pyramystery, and the Soma cube. He advocated the use of the super ellipse curve (see the superellipse opposite along with its math formula) in city planning, furniture making and other realms. He also invented a perpetual calendar called the Astro Calendar.

  We've collected below just some of the thousands of Grooks that Piet wrote in his lifetime (all text and illustrations are owned by Piet Hein's estate). To end with an anecdotal fact... Curiously enough, Piet Hein was a direct descendant of the 17th Century Dutch privateer of the same name!

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GROOKS by Piet Hein

ARS BREVIS

There is
one art,
no more,
no less:
to do
all things
with art-
lessness.
THE ROAD TO WISDOM

The road to wisdom?
-- Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
Err
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.

ASTRO-GYMNASTICS

Go on a starlit night,
  stand on your head,
leave your feet dangling
  outwards into space,
and let the starry
  firmament you tread
be, for the moment,
  your elected base.

Feel Earth's colossal weight
  of ice and granite,
of molten magma,
  water, iron, and lead;
and briefly hold
  this strangely solid planet
balanced upon
  your strangely solid head.

THE PARADOX OF LIFE

A bit beyond perception's reach
I sometimes believe I see
that Life is two locked boxes, each
containing the other's key.


T. T. T.


Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishment
T. T. T.

When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
Things Take Time!
T T T


EXPERTS

Experts have
their expert fun
ex cathedra
telling one
just how nothing
can be done.


ATOMYRIADES

Nature, it seems, is the popular name
for milliards and milliards and milliards
of particles playing their infinite game
of billiards and billiards and billiards.


PAST PLUPERFECT

The past, -- well, it's just like
our Great-Aunt Laura,
who cannot or will not perceive
that though she is welcome,
and though we adore her,
yet now it is time to leave.


MAKING SENSE

Life makes senses
and who could doubt it,
if we have
no doubt about it.


MEETING THE EYE

You'll probably find
that it suits your book
to be a bit cleverer
than you look.
Observe that the easiest
method by far
is to look a bit stupider
than you are.


A PSYCHOLOGICAL TIP

Whenever you're called on to make up your mind,
and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.
No -- not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you're hoping.


IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN

A poet should be of the
old-fahioned meaningless brand:
obscure, esoteric, symbolic,
-- the critics demand it;
so if there's a poem of mine
that you do understand
I'll gladly explain what it means
till you don't understand it.

drawing Out of Time


OUT OF TIME
(A holiday thought)

My old clock used to tell the time
and subdivide diurnity;
but now it's lost both hands and chime
and only tells eternity.


LIVING IS...

Living is
a thing you do
now or never --
which do you?


A MOMENT'S THOUGHT

As eternity
is reckoned
there's a lifetime
in a second.


SMALL THINGS
& GREAT

He that lets
the small things bind him
leaves the great
undone behind him.


THOSE WHO KNOW

Those who always
know what’s best
are
a universal pest.

SIMILARITY
Commutative Law

No cow's like a horse,
and no horse like a cow.
That's one similarity
  anyhow.

REMEDIES' REMEDIES

Pills are useful
against ills
and against
too many pill.

The man who is only a poet is not even that.


DREAM INTERPRETATION

Simplified.
Everything's either
concave or -vex,
so whatever you dream
will be something with sex.


SOCIAL MECHANISM

When people always
try to take
the very smallest
piece of cake
how can it also
always be
that that's the one
that's left for me?


ON PROBLEMS

Our choicest plans
have fallen through,
our airiest castles
tumbled over,
because of lines
we neatly drew
and later neatly
stumbled over.


NAIVE

Naive you are
if you believe
life favours those
who aren't naive.


TIMING TOAST

There's an art of knowing when.
Never try to guess.
Toast until it smokes and then
twenty seconds less.

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Related links Grooks, the book
small square Luigi Serafini's codex
small square Carolino's guide
small square Voynich manuscript
small square Leonardo's rebuses
small square Shadocks' nonsense
Grooks, the book
External links
small square More grooks at Leptonica
small square Grooks at Wikipedia


More Grooks Books!
More Grooks Books


 

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