Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Euclid meets Broadway

Several years ago while visiting my older son in Colorado Springs I also went to nearby Boulder where, driving along Broadway, I came to a street sign that made me gasp with delight.  I was at the intersection of Broadway and Euclid. That fact, that suggestion of a merge of two worlds, needed to be part of a poem. Some time later I wrote:

   Butterfly Proposal     by JoAnne Growney

   The future looks sad and scares you.
   Don’t let forebodings hush the echoes
   of old voices—we need the past to build
   high spirits. I’ll write you
   into a poem.

   A butterfly on your hand proposes life—
   a promise drawn at the intersection
   of Broadway and Euclid, a fortunate convergence
   that counters disillusion. Butterflies
   are transient, illogical

   while you wear every sort of rule
   impalpable and tight. You shrink from praise
   and flounder in the caramel of fear’s sweet heat.
   Your moth-mind skitters everywhere;
   your deeds all are polite.

   Twist your finger with rubber bands:
   the throb will keep you sane. You don’t
   have to fix each broken thing. Adjust your ears;
   hear slowly. Into the pauses

After having read this offering, you may wonder if I think it is mathematical.  I'm not sure about that -- but for me it is an inner portrait.  The poem looks into the mind of a mathematician, a female one.  It tells what it finds there.  Other portraits of mathematicians may be found at these links:  In 2011: December 8 Monsieur Probability, November 13  Portraits of a Mathematician, July 5 Mathematicians at work, July 2 Mathematicians divide, Jan 30 Sonnet for a geometry teacher, Jan 28 Poems starring mathematicians - 8. In 2010, Dec 8 Poems starring mathematicians -- 7, July 20 In the same family -- a poet and a mathematician, May 14 Poems starring Mathematicians -- 6 (Mandelbrot), May 4 Poems starring Mathematicians -- 5, April 28 Poems starring mathematicians -- 4, April 26 Poems starring mathematicians -- 3, April 15 Poems starring mathematicians - 2, April 14 Poems starring mathematicians - 1, March 23 Poetry of Logical Ideas .

1 comment:

  1. Because you, a mathematician, wrote this poem and posted it on your blog, when I read the word butterfly, I immediately thought of chaos theory and the butterfly effect. Lovely!