Thursday, March 24, 2011

Numbers are more than numbers

Today, a poem in three parts, "Trouble with Numbers" -- from the collection Mathematics and Other Poems by William Wall

     Trouble with Numbers     by William Wall

     albert einstein

     We have put our faith in the man
     (& the first words were
     bisher war alles in ordnung)

     The universe is his plan.
     Only four men understand it
     & so far there have been no women.

     The trouble with numbers is
     that there are so many of them,
     an infinite variety of endings.

     the number of ice
     The number of the ice crystal is 6
     the hard-edged, hard-nosed hexagon.
     But the language of ice is domestic --
     needles & flakes & blankets.

     All the prismatic clarity of numerals
     culminates in the snow-verb
     to flocculate & then we have snow.

     vertigo & wordprocessor

     My words fall in
     like fragmentation bombs
     among the noughts & ones.
     I worry about
     what they will become
     when all is said & done,
     down among
     the rioting electrons.

William Wall is an Irish poet and novelist. His latest book is Ghost Estate (Salmon Poetry, 2011).

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