Monday, November 27, 2017

Science Poetry from Spain

     Several weeks ago I got an email from science journalist Elena Soto, from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, director of a weekly science supplement for the newspaper El Mundo.  Soto told me of her poetry -- recently, Kernlose Winter , a collection containing a number of poems with a scientific theme -- and her blog Establo de Pegaso that offers samplings of science-poetry fare.
     Soto's poem, "The equation of zebra stripes" -- offered below -- is about morphogenesis (the structural changes that occur as an organism develops).  From Kernlose Winter and found also in Soto's blogthe poem is dedicated to codebreaker Alan Turing.  I offer first Soto's English translation and, following that, her original Spanish version.  Thank you, Elena, for sharing this and the links to more of your work.

The equation of zebra stripes     by Elena Soto
                          for Alan Mathison Turing
singular as zebra stripes,
wrinkle borders on maps.
Enchants the pupil,
molds her to the smooth curve of the dunes.
Drag until the fur
the winding path of deltas
the coastline.
The gold of the tigers,
the silver of the cats,
the deep jet black of angelfish
flows in equations,
settles in the genes
dispersed in feline deserts.
All pigments of singular strokes
in furs landscape,
in landscapes skin.
Tigers imitating the sand furrows,
archipelagos copying the flakes,
cartographer giraffes with maps of the Cyclades,
emerging Polynesia on the back cheetah.

Sometimes algebra fascinates to DNA.

And here is Soto's original Spanish poem (also found here in her blog).

Ecuación de las rayas de la cebra     by Elena Soto
                            A Alan Mathison Turing
La tristeza,
singular como las rayas de la cebra,
arruga las fronteras en los mapas.
Embelesa la pupila,
la amolda a la curva suave de las dunas.
Arrastra hasta el pelaje
el trazado sinuoso de los deltas,
la línea de la costa.
El oro de los tigres,
la plata de los gatos,
el azabache del pez ángel
fluye en ecuaciones,
sedimenta en los genes,
se dispersa en desiertos felinos.
Todos los pigmentos de trazos singulares
en pieles del paisaje,
en paisajes de piel.
Tigres imitando los surcos de la arena,
archipiélagos copiando las escamas,
jirafas cartógrafas con mapas de las Cícladas,
Polinesia emergiendo en el lomo del guepardo.

A veces el álgebra fascina al ADN.

Thank you, Elena Soto!

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