Poetry Prompt: Paradox Poem

Paradox Cafe

A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true (or wrong at the same time). So, too, with some poetry.

For this week’s found poetry prompt, we invite you to craft a poem from the language found in Wikipedia’s list of paradoxes. Examples of paradoxes from the list:

  • Two-envelope paradox You are given two indistinguishable envelopes, each of which contains a positive sum of money. One envelope contains twice as much as the other. You may pick one envelope and keep whatever amount it contains. You pick one envelope at random but before you open it you are given the chance to take the other envelope instead.
  • Abilene paradox People can make decisions based not on what they actually want to do, but on what they think that other people want to do, with the result that everybody decides to do something that nobody really wants to do, but only what they thought that everybody else wanted to do.
  • Boltzmann brain If the universe we observe resulted from a random thermodynamic fluctuation, it would be vastly more likely to be a simple one than the complex one we observe. The simplest case would be just a brain floating in vacuum, having the thoughts and sensations you have.
  • Ant on a rubber rope An ant crawling on a rubber rope can reach the end even when the rope stretches much faster than the ant can crawl.

Check out the Wikipedia page for the complete list, and post your poems in the comment section below.

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