Monday, July 8, 2013

Pool -- a game of geometry?

     Years ago I taught  a "liberal arts mathematics" course -- and for a time we used the text  Mathematics, a Human Endeavor: A Textbook for Those Who Think They Don't Like the Subject by Harold R. Jacobs (W H Freeman, 1971);  the text's topics included one new to me, the geometry of the paths of billiard balls.  The ease I found with this mathematics ill-prepared me for the skill I needed to avoid embarrassment at a neighbor's new pool table -- and the memories of it all drew me immediately into Dan Brown's poem, "Why I Never Applied Myself to Pool," found in the March 2013 issue of Poetry.

       Why I Never Applied Myself to Pool      by Dan Brown

       Not that I lacked an eye entirely,
       But give me an oblique enough kiss
       To visualize, and my eye said “See ya later.”
       A little practice might have sharpened it,
       But what was needed here was not as much
       A sharper as a higher order eye,
       A whole other orb altogether.

Today I have been looking back over my postings during the first half of 2013, this one is my present favorite (from 19 June 2011): "Equation" by Caroline Caddy.

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