The cross on my brow
The facts of what I was
Of what I will be:
I was born a mathematician, a magician
I was born a poet.
And, then, streams of words from an inventively troubled mind...from page 18:
I looked at numbers formulas equations theorems and it was a pleasure,
a fiery freeze, a bodyguard for wondering alone without
the speech-rupture of others, logicality and reason and nevertheless
the possibility of surprise as though we were unfolding a piece of silk,
blue triangles on the fresh surface and suddenly just a dull little grid,
lines that we can separate and recompose into triangles again,
yes, this we could do, but where did the blue get to, where?
From pages 35-36, some Platonic musings:
Vertex Edge and Face
I saw the breath of the bird.
Tetrahedron: four vertices
Six edges, four faces
Vivid inside your room.
Hexagon: eight vertices
Twelve edges, six faces
My beak rots
Over the short page.
Octahedron: six vertices
Twelve edges, eight faces
Swaying of the rooster
On the nightbranch.
Icosahedron: twelve vertices
Thirty edges, twenty faces
Sweat and ink
Patrolling the limit.
Monstrosity: twenty-one vertices
Forty-five edges, twenty-six faces
Walls of ferns shedding fronds to kill the king . . .
Hilst did not study mathematics but she had out with good friends who knew and liked to talk of the subject (for example, math historian Ubiratan d'Ambrosio -- one of those friends to whom she dedicates the book) -- and from them she learned the words . . . and the dreams . . . The five Platonic solids were once "the elements," cosmic figures, the Universe. (Why are there only five?)