Saturday, October 23, 2010

"The Equation" by Owen Sheers

This posting is brief to encourage you to have time to read Owen Sheers' fine poem several times and let it settle in and be part of you.  Thanks to F J Craveiro de Carvalho, University of Coimbra, Portugal, who brought the poem to my attention. 

     The Equation           by Owen Sheers

     He told me how, after soft afternoons
     teaching logarithms and waving away
     the blackboard's hieroglyphics with a damp cloth,
     he'd return home to the sweet methane of the chicken sheds.

     How he'd change from his suit into overalls
     and how he dug his hand deep into the bucket
     to draw out a leaking fist, which he opened,
     a sail of grain unfurling to the birds beneath,

     And how later that same hand would flatten
     to find a way through the dark
     under the sleeping weight of a hen, to bring out,
     like a magician whose tricks are just the way of things,

     one egg, warm and bald in his brown palm.

Poet and novelist Owen Sheers was born in Fiji and grew up in Wales.  "The Equation" is from Skirrid Hill (Seren, Poetry Wales Press, 2005).  
F J "Francisco" Craveiro de Carvalho, who brought Sheers' work to my attention, is a Portuguese mathematician, an an avid collector of  poems connected to mathematics who has translated many of those poems into Portuguese.

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