Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Girl Who Loved Triangles

     I found this poem by Michigan poet Jackie Bartley when I was browsing old issues of albatross (edited by Richard Smyth) and she has give me permission to post it here.  Like Guillevic (see, for example, this earlier post), Bartley has found personalities in geometric figures.

To the Girl Who Loved Triangles     by Jackie Bartley

          Triangulation:  Technique for establishing the distance between two points
                                      using a triangle with at least one side of known length.

One girl in a friend's preschool class
loves the triangle.  Tanya's favorite shape,
the children call it.  Simple, three sided, at least

one slope inherent, slip-slide down
in the playground of mind.  Tension and its
release.  Sure balance, solid as the pyramids.  The 

heart's own primer.  Not boring like the
round world, the monotonous square.  Oh, Tanya,
do not lose your gladness.  Hold firm wherever you

come down. Know one side of the shape
you love well enough, and you'll find
a way to measure the world.

I find special delight in Bartley's final stanza!
Richard Smyth, the editor of albatross, has written a complex and challenging mathy poem entitled "Axiom:  A Mathematics of Poetry" -- a poem that parodies Laws of Form by G. Spencer-Brown (Bantam, 1979).  

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