Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Action at a distance

One of the great things about writing this blog is the people who have -- out of the blue and across the miles -- sent along a great poem or tidbit.  One of the valuable contributors is Tim Love, a British computer guy and poet -- and also a blogger (at LitRefs). The mysterious concept of "Action at a Distance" drives this Love poem:

   Action at a distance     by Tim Love

   Newton was quite wrong
   we discovered in the end,
   but he got us to the moon and back

and of course words aren't the world
   but they take us where we want to be,
   not with transistors or warp drive but

   as our son blows gunsmoke from his fingertip,
   uncertainty creeps over me, like a feeling
   that I'm being watched, and your 'Well?'

   informs me that I missed your last question,
   and he's fallen, he's playing dead,
   though he doesn't know I'm watching.

   You touch my shoulder. 'What's wrong?'
   As his eyes half open they're staring
   straight at me. 'Nothing.'

But the babysitter's let us down again,
   and on a booked table somewhere,
   candles are being blown out.

"Action at a distance" is found in Love's collection Moving Parts (HappenStance , 2010). A recent link forwarded to me by Tim offers an article, "Optimization and Optimism," in which Michael Bartholomew-Biggs tells of his use of poetry in textbooks he has written. Bartholomew-Biggs also shows his good taste when he mentions the anthology, Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me.

1 comment:

  1. fj craveiro de carvalhoOctober 7, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    This is a sample of MB-B's poetry, mathematical I mean:


    To walk a tightrope
    is hard. So how much harder
    to walk several?

    Spiders manage it
    spinning sticky contour plots
    which aren't safety nets.