A perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day -- especially for you who enjoy mathematics -- read (aloud and to each other) some "poems of love and mathematics." Such is easily possible, for the anthology,

*Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics*(A K Peters, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me, contains words on the topic by more than 150 poetic voices.
Two of the anthology poems have the title "Valentine" -- here is the final line of the one by Katharine O'Brien:

. . . won't you be my cardioid?"

and the final pair of lines of Michael Stueben's verse:

I love you as one over x,

as x approaches zero.

Many statements of love and mathematics are more serious than these. The blog posting for 20 July 2010 offered a poem by Kathabela Wilson in honor of her husband Rick. Today's feature is "Loving a Mathematician" by California poet Hannah Stein and dedicated to her husband Sherman. Using Pi and other mathematical imagery, Stein speaks of the distances traveled to reach even the tip of understanding of the mind and thoughts of another whom one loves.

**Loving a Mathematician**by Hannah Stein

The ether, or whatever's up there--

some infinite glassy staircase--

crackles for you

with truth, with beauty -- and I

have never followed you even to

the second rung. I used to think Pi

was just a way of measuring circles.

You tell me now that Pi dwells

in gaseous, in liquid universes

where there are no circles, where rings

couldn't form if I dropped a pebble.

For there are no pebbles either --

no discs no balls no equators,

only pure structure.

It's true, you say,

that Pi always turns up,

like an old irrational uncle

who's been traveling round the country

doing card tricks. But circles

are only one of his arts:

Pi rolls his thumb through the ink

of odd numbers; from his hiding place in

square roots under square roots like

a wagonload of misshapen potatoes

Pi shines traces beyond

the galaxies mathematicians map,

haunts the void between electrons,

stalks black holes and red shifts.

Inching like a growing crystal

into cosmic chinks, Pi waits

for thought to close in, waits

to be pounced on with a pencil

as his secrets repercuss

into patient, searching minds.

I ask you this: does Pi buckle

the whole universe together?

Can Pi be God?

For the first time I believe

I could follow you up and up --

This poem, dedicated to her husband, Sherman, appears in

*Earthlight*(La Questa Press, 2000) © Hannah Stein. Sherman Stein's poem, "Mathematician," appeared in our 28 January 2011 posting.
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