Monday, April 7, 2014

April Celebrates Poetry and Mathematics

On April 1 (the first day of National Poetry Month and Mathematics Awareness Month) Science writer Stephen Ornes offered a guest post at The Last Word on Nothing entitled "Can an Equation be a Poem?" and on April 2 the Ornes posting appeared again, this time in the blog Future Tense at with the title "April Should Be Mathematical Poetry Month."
     In her comment on "Can an Equation be a Poem?" Scientific American blogger Evelyn Lamb (Roots of Unity mentioned her math-poetry post on March 21 entitled "What T S Eliot Told Me About the Chain Rule."  Lamb quotes lines from the final stanza "Little Gidding," the last of Eliot's Four Quartets.   Here is the entire stanza with its emphasis on the mysteries of time and perspective, the circular nature of things, the difficulty of discovering a beginning.    

     from  Little Gidding        by  T S Eliot (1888-1965)

          We shall not cease from exploration
          And the end of all our exploring
          Will be to arrive where we started
          And know the place for the first time.
          Through the unknown, unremembered gate
          When the last of earth left to discover
          Is that which was the beginning;
          At the source of the longest river
          The voice of the hidden waterfall
          And the children in the apple-tree

          Not known, because not looked for
          But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
          Between two waves of the sea.
          Quick now, here, now, always—
          A condition of complete simplicity
          (Costing not less than everything)
          And all shall be well and
          All manner of thing shall be well
          When the tongues of flame are in-folded
          Into the crowned knot of fire
          And the fire and the rose are one.

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