Monday, June 12, 2017

Finding the Normal Curve

     A poem I have much admired since I first saw it (January, 2016) in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics is "Pension Building, Washington, DC" -- shown below.  At first glance I thought this work by poet E. Laura Golberg to be a growing-melting syllable-snowball, but her syllables conform to line-length rather than count, offering us -- in both shape and content -- a bit of statistics, the normal curve.  Please enjoy!

       Pension Building, Washington, DC    by E. Laura Golberg

       of the
       curve can
       be found in
       old buildings    
       where feet have
       rubbed away  the
       middle of stair steps.
       Here, wounded Union
       veterans pulling one foot
       over the new marble, wore
       off atoms.  Men with crutches
       placed them firmly at an angle.
       Their boots scuffed the stairs.
       Those who had been refused
       pensions descended, while
       dragging feet.  Today, the
       building,  with its pillars
       and open space is used
       as a museum.  Balls
       may be held here;
       hems of formal
       gowns sweep
       down the

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