What do poems have to do with stronger passwords?

passwords and poetry
image via splitshire

Like me, you might have had your email account hacked recently. Not cool. There’s no question online security is a growing concern for all. Everyone should consider strengthening their passwords.

Trust me: It is far preferable to deal with a new series of passwords before you are forced to, due to being hacked.

I’d like to share with you a nifty little trick for creating a stronger password by making use of your favorite poem. “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz is just so WiseTribe — so I’ve decided to use it as my example. Please, do not deny yourself of reading one of Kunitz’ most stirring poems to its end. It’s worth it.

How to do it

To build a stronger password, take the first letter from each line of a poem. Be sure to capitalize some of the letters. In the example below, I’ve taken the first 17 letters from the first 17 lines of “The Layers” and kept the letters that were already capitalized: IsatanWabtItafow.

Now make it slightly stronger by adding a number and a punctuation character: IsatanWabtItafow9!

Always use a unique password for each site that requires one. Here’s how you can do that and still keep it simple.

Let’s assume I did my banking with Wells Fargo. For my online banking password, I would add the first letter of each word, in this case “WF” to the end of my poem password; this would then be my unique password for Wells Fargo: IsatanWabtItafow9!WF. If I banked with Bank of America, then I would add “BA” at the end of it.

Remember, the longer the password, the better. Always include a number and a punctuation mark to make it really strong. Some websites require capital letters, so getting into this habit of including capital letters will help you in the long run.

Be secure online and poetic in life.

The Layers
By Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through the wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:

“Live in the layers,
not the litter.”

Though I lack the art to
decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.

I am not done with my changes.


Jacqueline Botting is the founder and a contributing writer to WiseTribe. She is a technology business developer in the U.S. and overseas for start-ups and Fortune 1000s. She’s a proponent of owning less to live more and believes greater contemplative practices in our daily lives and social institutions make our world a better place. She splits her time between LA, NYC and Florida. Connect with Jacqueline on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google +.

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