Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A math problem or a word problem?

     One of my recent poetry-finds has been the anthology Regreen:  New Canadian Ecological Poetry, edited by Madhur Anand and Adam Dickinson (Scrivener Press, 2009) and in it some small mentions of mathematics.  The following poem by artist and poet Erin Robinsong considers things big and small -- and observes some paradoxes. Is math the puzzle or the explanation or . . .?

SEED : CEDE   by Erin Robinsong  

Looking into the peach-pit, we find a vast spaciousness, as if actually looking into a pit –

A math problem:
A peach pit is weighed against
the year’s yield plus the tree: 
30 g, 900 kg.
Which weighs more? 

Everyone pauses here, the question seems trick.
Of course, a more interesting question might be
how did so much wood and fruit come out of that micro-thing,
such un-creased 3-D, such unceasing peaches?

But if it were as obvious as it seems then
why an economy of shine –
(walletchains and rings).
If diamonds could seed diamonds –
(but diamonds cut diamonds)
If gold were edible
(but gold teeth grind)

The math makes no sense.  That’s the thing. 

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