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Calculus (and calyculus)

For lots of years I have subscribed to A.Word.A.Day, founded by Anu Garg, and on 3 June 2013 -- offered in the category of "words that appear to be misspellings" -- the word that appeared in my email was **calyculus **(kuh-LIK-yuh-luhs), a noun designating *a cup-shaped structure.* From this, of course, my thoughts turned to **calculus** and to poems on that subject. Below I offer "UR-CALCULUS" by Jonathan Holden. This Kansan poet has said that that his physicist father would write equations while sitting at the dining room table -- and "UR-CALCULUS" considers mathematics from a boy-riding-in-the-back-seat-of-a-car point of view.
** UR-CALCULUS ** by Jonathan Holden

* The child is the father of the man. *
-- W. W. Wordsworth
Back then, "Calculus"
was a scary college word,
and yet we studied it
from the back seat, we studied
the rates at which
the roadside trees went striding
past the hazy
farther trees, the hazier
a tree the farther off
it stood.
The ghostliest,
far across the fields,
hardly moved at all. A line
of spectators, they'd turn
their heads together
as if to watch
us pass
before fog erased them.

We knew there had
to be a way
to predict
the position of every tree
in relation
to every other tree,
and to measure it
continuously.
We had no idea
how to do it yet.
This poem is found in Holden's 1997 collection, *UR-MATH * (State Street Press Chapbooks, 1997). My previous postings of Holden's poems include "Integrals" on 22 January 2011, "Srinivasa Ramanujan" on 18 February 2011, and "Night Game" on 18 September 2011.
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