Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A thousand and fifty-one waves

Twenty-five years ago I had an enormous appetite for poems by Stevie Smith (1902-1971).  I loved the way that they seemed so unstudied -- playful and yet spot on and profound.    Smith did not use much mathematics in her poetry, but she wrote this poem, "Numbers." 

   Numbers     by Stevie Smith

   A thousand and fifty-one waves
   Two hundred and thirty-one seagulls
   A cliff of four hundred feet
   Three miles of ploughed fields
   One house
   Four windows look on the waves
   Four windows look on the ploughed fields
   One skylight looks on the sky
   In that skylight's sky is one seagull.

 Smith's "Numbers" is found in her Collected Poems (New Directions, 1983).

1 comment:

  1. Very nice...Dimensions upon images upon dimensions!