This hyper­text poem started out as an exper­i­ment to show my stu­dents you could make com­pel­ling con­tent without knowing a lot of HTML. And then I got a little obsessed!

It’s a story of a fire dancer and a mask-maker and a star-gazer — you don’t neces­sarily meet all of them; it depends which path you take. There are mul­tiple paths through the poem. You choose which stanza will be next based on the words that appeal to you. Some­times she falls in love with the mask-maker; some­times with the star-gazer. Some­times it’s mutual; some­times it’s unre­quited. It’s all chance.

From watching people read it, I sug­gest you read it more than once, espe­cially if the path you chose is only about five stanzas long. The best paths are around 10 stanzas long. You can also read my favourite paths, below.

Note, reading the linear paths does not mean you’ve seen all the stanzas. There are many dif­ferent paths, not just these two. The last link in the linear ver­sions takes you to the begin­ning of the hyper­text ver­sion so you can explore.

If there’s a path you think needs work, I’d love to hear about it. Let me know which path you took and where it felt thin.