Monday, January 26, 2015

Poetry-math images; Expectation

     Search engines are very useful in my search for mathy poets and poems.  Recently I have noticed that a link to images  has been offered prior to the verbal links when I have queried Google using "mathematics poetry."  Some of the visuals are quotations, some are book-covers, some are poems.  When you have time, explore and enjoy! 
     Finding more via Google that I expected connected me with an old poem.  Here, unearthed recently, is "Expectation"  -- some lines from the 1980s, when I was beginning to write poems.

Don't let mathematics                Don't let mathematics
teach you to expect two              teach you to expect one
to be more than one.                 to be the sum of its parts.

It's sad but true that two           One hour is time enough
can get too near,                    to read the paper
can interfere,                       or eat lunch,
can reduce each other                but sixty minutes
to less than one,                    are sixty times too small
to less than half.                   for anything but frustration.

Part of the inspiration for this poem was "The Parable of the Watchmakers" -- found in Herbert Simon's The Sciences of the Artificial (MIT Press, 1981) -- a parable about time management that was a catalyst for my article, "Planning for Interruptions."

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