Monday, March 26, 2018

Mathematical cycles of life

    After participating last Saturday in Washington, DC's "March for Our Lives" my head has been full of numbers related to gun violence.  Stepping away from those to other numbers, I have re-found and enjoyed this poem by Spanish poet Elena Soto

     The cicadas of mathematical cycles     by Elena Soto

     Sheltered by the prime numbers,
     the nymphs of the periodic cicadas
     descend to the underworld.
     Their cycles -- 
     only divisible by one and by themselves --
     avoid death.
     Magicicada septendecim and Magicicada tredecim
     enter the veil of the earth looking for tender plants.
     They gather for oblivion and life
     and thus conclude the circle of chaos.
     And the legend says that they never return
     because their blood becomes chlorophyll
     and they are forever subjected to
     the ancient cycle of plant constellations.


  1. That the songs of the cicadas silenced the weapons, that the beauty of the numbers triumph over the madness. Thanks JoAnne.

    1. Many thanks to you, Elena, for your poem -- and for sharing it with me.