Toni and I share an interest in the arts – for her, painting; for me, poetry. Each of us, too, has had an ongoing curiosity for learning new things. And so our last time together was a museum visit – on a lovely spring Thursday (March 1) I met Toni and her husband Tim (and a couple other students from their Road-Scholar group at the Peabody School of Music) at the Baltimore Museum of Art. We combined chatter – as I caught up on news of her daughter and granddaughters, etc, etc -- with awed reaction to the outdoor sculpture and the Cone collection. And, instead of a picture of Toni, my camera holds a photo (posted below) of a portion of a museum mosaic that could illustrate geometric symmetries in Tim’s abstract algebra class.

Dear, dear, Toni. Yours was a life lived well. I miss you.

Remembering that last museum afternoon and so many other times together, I have written a poem, found beneath the mosaic photo.

Mosaic photo for Toni |

**Girl-Talk**by JoAnne Growney

*Remembering Toni Carroll (1942-2012) – mathematician,*

*computer scientist, humanitarian, activist, and friend.*

When two math-friends visit

the Baltimore Art Museum, on
a day

when no non-maths are lurking
nearby,

we may -- with no fear of
harming --

chatter our mathiness.

When we pass

Max Bill’s

*Endless Ribbon*
one of us may remark that the
Mobius strip

is a math notion peculiarly
popular

among non-mathematicians.

As we walk past tiled walls,

you can expect one of us to
want

a photo of the mosaic pattern
that shows so well

the symmetries of the square,
a friendly group

one meets early in abstract
algebra.

Both of us fight envy

of the Cone sisters who knew
Gertrude Stein

and Matisse and Picasso. And one of us wonders

why some need two names while
others

find fame with only one.

Michael Heizer’s title,

*Eight-part Circle*draws us outside.

Instead of a fragile curve,
however, we find

a gathering of granite wedges
--

“Eight parts of a disk.”

My friend is smart and
kind.

She tells me to relax my
mathishness

and give the artists poetic
license. Only Humpty Dumpty

and other mathematicians want
narrow,

exacting limits on what words
mean.

Here is a link to several mathy poems presented, along with "Girl-Talk," at the 2012 Bridges Conference.

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