Bird, Moon, Engine by Jo Pitkin
Like a fence or a wall to keep me from harm,
tutors circled me with logic, facts, theorems.
But I hid the weeds growing wild in my mind.
By age five, I could plot the arc of a rainbow.
I could explain perpendicular and parallel.
In my mind, I heard the wind in wild weeds.
Divided in two, my wiry system flew, flew.
I let those weeds wild in my mind unfold
as my unmet father's art seeped like rain.
Mother, Father, my mind finally loosed
its dark tangle of weeds. From drawings,
I milled notes lettered A to G for an unbuilt
machine that would compute loss and gain --
and reconciled my territorial heart, my brain.
Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852)
was the daughter of British poet George Gordon, Lord Byron. A gifted mathematician,
she wrote a set of complex instructions for Charles Babbage's proposed Analytical Machine,
creating the world's first computer program.
Those of us in the Washington, DC area may hear Pitkin read from her work at the Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Reading in Rock Creek Park on Sunday, July 26, 2015. Details here.