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Poem Codes
 

Poem Codes

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Presentation on poem codes for Math 115F: Cryptography at Vanderbilt University, fall 2012

Presentation on poem codes for Math 115F: Cryptography at Vanderbilt University, fall 2012

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  • very happy to find this, and I've used it here.http://tomsbytwo.com/2014/05/09/the-infernal-structure-of-a-poem-code-scrambler/
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  • Quote: http://www.forbes.com/sites/booked/2010/08/01/breaking-the-code-chelsea-clintons-wedding-poem/Image: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/the-big-day-chelsea-clintons-wedding/
  • Head of communications for Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SEO) during WW2.Marks’ job was to make sure that SEO could communicate with its secret agents in Europe.He took several steps to improve the secrecy of SEO’s communication methods, including ending the use of well-known poems for poem codes. He started writing poems for his agents to memorize and use as the basis for poem codes.The Life That I Have was written by Marks not for SEO, but for his girlfriend Ruth Hambro, after she died in a plane crash in 1943. Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leo-Wormelow.jpg
  • The poem was later used as a poem code, however, by VioletteSzabo, one of SEO’s agents in France. Marks didn’t tell her he wrote it. She was captured a few months later by the Germans and was executed in a concentration camp.VioletteSzabo: Whirlwind romance with Etienne Szabo, a French officer, in 1940. She was 19, he was 31. They had a child, Tania, in 1942, but Etienne never saw her. He died in battle in Egypt during the Allies’ North African campaign. His death motivated Violette to join SEO.Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Violette_Szabo_IWM_photo.jpg
  • Szabo’s life as a secret agent was turned into the 1958 film Carve Her Name with Pride. The poem was recited in the film, but at that time, it still wasn’t known to be Marks’ work.Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carvehernamepride.jpg
  • Marks didn’t claim it until 1998, when he wrote this on the dedication page of his memoirs, Between Silk and Cyanide: “In December 1943 I wrote a poem which I gave to VioletteSzabo to use as a code. This book is dedicated to all those who shared it with her.”Chelsea Clinton chose to have this poem read at her wedding, in spite of its connections to two women who met tragic ends.

Poem Codes Poem Codes Presentation Transcript

  • POEM CODES
  • “A poem by Leo Marks was read at the Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding. I don’t think anyone will beusing that poem for cryptographic purposes everagain. But don’t blame it on Chelsea. In fact, shedeserves a little credit for reintroducing afascinating figure to the public.”Richard Hyfler, Forbes
  • The life that I haveIs all that I haveAnd the life that I haveIs yoursThe love that I haveOf the life that I haveIs yours and yours and yours.A sleep I shall haveA rest I shall haveYet death will be but a pauseFor the peace of my yearsIn the long green grassWill be yours and yours and yours.
  • Step 1: Pick five words from the poem.
  • Step 1: Pick five words from the poem. LIFE YOURS SLEEP DEATH GRASS
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet.
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet. L I F E Y O U R S S L E E P D E A T H G R A S S
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet. L I F E Y O U R S S L E E P D E A T H G R A S S 1 2
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet. L I F E Y O U R S S L E E P D E A T H G R A S S 3 1 2
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet. L I F E Y O U R S S L E 4 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 3 1 2
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet. L I F E Y O U R S S L E 4 4 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 3 1 2
  • Step 2: Number the letters in your five words bylabeling the first A with 1, the second A with 2,and so on. Do the same with the Bs, picking upthe numbering where you left off with the As.Keep going through the alphabet. L I F E Y O U R S S L E12 11 8 4 24 14 23 16 18 19 13 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 15 3 7 1 22 10 9 17 2 20 21
  • Step 3: What was your last number? Write yourplaintext out in a grid that has that manycolumns. Fill in the final row with gibberish.
  • Step 3: What was your last number? Write yourplaintext out in a grid that has that manycolumns. Fill in the final row with gibberish.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24d e c i p h e r i n g i s i n m y o p i n i o no n e o f t h e m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g of a r t s a n d i f e a r i h a v e w a s t e du p o n i t m o r e t i m e t h a n i t d e s er v e s c h a r l e s b a b b a g e q x w y z a “Deciphering is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating of arts, and I fear I have wasted upon it more time than it deserves.” (Charles Babbage)
  • Step 4: Read down the columns, taking thecolumns in the order specified by the numbersfrom Step 2.
  • L I F E Y O U R S S L E 12 11 8 4 24 14 23 16 18 19 13 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 15 3 7 1 22 10 9 17 2 20 211 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24d e c i p h e r i n g i s i n m y o p i n i o no n e o f t h e m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g of a r t s a n d i f e a r i h a v e w a s t e du p o n i t m o r e t i m e t h a n i t d e s er v e s c h a r l e s b a b b a g e q x w y z a ITAIB
  • L I F E Y O U R S S L E 12 11 8 4 24 14 23 16 18 19 13 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 15 3 7 1 22 10 9 17 2 20 211 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24d e c i p h e r i n g i s i n m y o p i n i o no n e o f t h e m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g of a r t s a n d i f e a r i h a v e w a s t e du p o n i t m o r e t i m e t h a n i t d e s er v e s c h a r l e s b a b b a g e q x w y z a ITAIB GSETS
  • L I F E Y O U R S S L E 12 11 8 4 24 14 23 16 18 19 13 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 15 3 7 1 22 10 9 17 2 20 211 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24d e c i p h e r i n g i s i n m y o p i n i o no n e o f t h e m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g of a r t s a n d i f e a r i h a v e w a s t e du p o n i t m o r e t i m e t h a n i t d e s er v e s c h a r l e s b a b b a g e q x w y z a ITAIB GSETS REDOR
  • L I F E Y O U R S S L E 12 11 8 4 24 14 23 16 18 19 13 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 15 3 7 1 22 10 9 17 2 20 211 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24d e c i p h e r i n g i s i n m y o p i n i o no n e o f t h e m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g of a r t s a n d i f e a r i h a v e w a s t e du p o n i t m o r e t i m e t h a n i t d e s er v e s c h a r l e s b a b b a g e q x w y z a ITAIB GSETS REDOR IOTNS
  • L I F E Y O U R S S L E 12 11 8 4 24 14 23 16 18 19 13 5 E P D E A T H G R A S S 6 15 3 7 1 22 10 9 17 2 20 211 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24d e c i p h e r i n g i s i n m y o p i n i o no n e o f t h e m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g of a r t s a n d i f e a r i h a v e w a s t e du p o n i t m o r e t i m e t h a n i t d e s er v e s c h a r l e s b a b b a g e q x w y z a ITAIB GSETS REDOR IOTNS NODEA IAIEB OGESZ MCAHA ONENE PAWIQ SFRMA PFSIC HTATH NSHTB CEROE EHNMA DOFUR INTEY NOFEE IMIRL YIVAG ENAPV ITATX NISDW
  • Step 5: Prepend the message with a codedversion of the words from the poem you pickedin Step 1.
  • Step 5: Prepend the message with a codedversion of the words from the poem you pickedin Step 1.LIFE → 2nd word → BYOURS → 18th word → RSLEEP → 37th word → 37-26=11 → KDEATH → 47th word → 47-26=21 → UGRASS → 63rd word → 63-52=11 → K
  • Step 5: Prepend the message with a codedversion of the words from the poem you pickedin Step 1.BRKUK ITAIB GSETS REDOR IOTNS NODEAIAIEB OGESZ MCAHA ONENE PAWIQ SFRMAPFSIC HTATH NSHTB CEROE EHNMA DOFURINTEY NOFEE IMIRL YIVAG ENAPV ITATXNISDW
  • Poem CodesStep 1: Pick five words from the poem.Step 2: Number the letters in your five words by labelingthe first A with 1, the second A with 2, and so on. Do thesame with the Bs, picking up the numbering where youleft off with the As. Keep going through the alphabet.Step 3: What was your last number? Write your plaintextout in a grid that has that many columns. Fill in the finalrow with gibberish.Step 4: Read down the columns, taking the columns inthe order specified by the numbers from Step 2.Step 5: Prepend the message with a coded version of thewords from the poem you picked in Step 1.
  • Leo Marks(1920-2001)
  • Violette Szabo (1921-1945)
  • Carve Her Name with Pride (1958)
  • “In December 1943 I wrote a poem which I gave to Violette Szabo to use as a code. This book is dedicated to all those who shared it with her.” --Leo Marks, Between Silk and Cyanide (1998)