Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Future of Prediction

     As well as being National Poetry Month, April is Mathematics Awareness Month and this year's theme is "The Future of Prediction."  In search of a poem on the theme, I found the following sonnet by poet Joyce Nower -- third in a section of 20 sonnets, "Meditations of Hypatia of Alexandria," in her collection, The Sister Chronicles and Other Poems (IUniverse, 2012), available in both print and electronic versions.

3.  Scales Can't Calculate*     by Joyce Nower

       Hypatia, Math, God One, can't plot the locus
       of soul and star, predict exactly where
       and when you die, whose hand deals death.  No hocus
       pocus by priests decodes the vicious stare
       of wilding in the streets, can tell you what
       your agony (dismemberment), who scooped
       up bones laid on the altar cloth, a clot
       where life had been, for sixty years about.
       Aghast, I piece the broken tale together  --
       that's all that's left -- but shards don't make a cup.
       And giving what?  Not solace.  Still I wonder
       why era after era the step up
       is so worn down, why scales can't calculate
       malaise, the depth of lack, the height of hate.

*A note on the word "wilding":  "Wilding" is a word coined in the 1990's to describe gang violence against solitary women walking or jogging in Central Park, New York City.

                                                    your right
                                                    to think,
                                                    for even to
                                                    think wrongly
                                                    is better
                                                    than not
                                                    to think
                                                    at all.                    Hypatia 

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