Friday, May 3, 2013

Enough for everyone -- Russell Libby

Are you looking for a poem on a particular math topic?  One search strategy is to go to the Poetry Foundation website (another is to click on the green SEARCH BOX in the right column of this blog) and enter your math term into the search box; if, for example, you enter "geometry" one of the poems you find will be this one by Russell Libby (1956  -2012).  Both poet and organic farmer, Libby believed in sustainability:  all it takes is one well-cared-for seed to grow and spread.  Here is his "Applied Geometry." 

     Applied Geometry     by Russell Libby

     Applied geometry,   
     measuring the height   
     of a pine from   
     like triangles,   
     Rosa’s shadow stretches   
     seven paces in   
     low-slanting light of   
     late Christmas afternoon.   
     One hundred thirty nine steps   
     up the hill until the sun is   
     finally caught at the top of the tree,   
     let’s see,   
     twenty to one,   
     one hundred feet plus a few to adjust   
     for climbing uphill,   
     and her hands barely reach mine   
     as we encircle the trunk,   
     almost eleven feet around.   
     Back to the lumber tables.   
     That one tree might make   
     three thousand feet of boards   
     if our hearts could stand   
     the sound of its fall.

Although I found Libby's poem here at the Poetry Foundation website, it first appeared in HeartLodge (Vol III, Summer 2007).

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