“…for yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.”
“Seems…? nay, it is, I know not ‘seems.'”
Seems it so or not?
Or can, can you know you saw?
I know and I saw.
Saw I, and know I
Saw. You know you can, can or
Not–or so it seems.
Bach’s Musical Offering provides a splendid example of a crab canon. In a crab canon, two musicians play the musical line, one starting from the beginning, one starting from the end. When they reach the “end”, they reverse direction and start playing toward the point at which they started. It has been likened to a palindrome, a word or phrase which reads the same way forward and backward.
Want to see how it works for yourself? Visit Timothy A. Smith’s page, where you can print, then cut out and make your own Möbius strip of music.
Now, look at the haiku again.
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”