Saturday, October 4, 2014

Can poetry change the climate for frogs?

      Poems affect our spirits as well as our minds. And Split This Rock is looking for poems that protest and witness, world-changing poems.  Go here for information about their Eighth Annual Poetry Contest (with submission deadline November 1, 2014).
     Here in this blog, as I present connections between poetry and mathematics, I provide some poems of protest and advocacy.  I advocate attention to problems of climate change -- to keep our world habitable; I advocate full recognition of women in the sciences -- for a not dissimilar reason.  We must not waste our resources.
     One translation of a famous frog-pond Haiku by Basho was offered on 21 June 2010.  Dozens of different translations of that same Haiku are supplied here.  It offers a simple picture:

          old pond
          a frog jumps into
          the sound of water       
translated by Jane Reichhold

From this, it is a small step to a Save the Frogs website where we find information concerning the threats of climate change along with advocacy for endangered frogs.  And, keeping in mind Basho's Haiku, we find a startling counterpart in the following:

          Ancient pond
          Frog jumps
          No sound of water          by Carolanne Reynolds

     At  we find a poem by former British Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion that highlights consequences of climate change. Here (with a nod to Robert Frost) is its final stanza:

     Our woods were lovely, dark and deep.
     A landscape we’d made promises to keep.
     Until we deemed the price too steep.
     Until we deemed the price too steep. 


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