Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homage to Euclid

In my preceding post (20 March 2014) Katharine Merow's poem tells of the new geometries 
developed with variations of Euclid's Parallel Postulate.  
Martin Dickinson's poem, on the other hand, tells of richness within Euclid's geometry.
Poet and attorney Martin Dickinson is with the Environmental Law Institute and is a long term activist. The Nora School Poetry Series has scheduled both of us (along with Michele Wolf) to be part of a reading next month on April 24, 2014 .  It is my additional good fortune that conversations with Dickinson have included his sharing with me this mathy poem:

     Homage to Euclid       by Martin Dickinson

     What points are these,
     visible to us, yet revealing something invisible—
     invisible, yet real? 

     What lines, that reach beyond the page
     to infinity?  Here’s a music of objects: rhomboid, oblong,

     a rhapsody of postulates with space enough
     for basilicas, grids for towns, all to be filled in  

     Here’s the circle, here the sphere
     and all that white space to surround them—room enough
     for worlds.

Browsing online for more of Dickinson's work I found, for example, these poems in Innisfree 3(2006) that include one about apple-picking.  A reference to apples (including the Stayman and Cortland varieties that I love) is, of course, mathematical -- an integral part of the instructions for addition: "You can't add apples and oranges." 
For some science and a few more numbers, here is a link to Dickinson's "Periodic Table."   

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