For me, the Christmas holiday season is a time for family gathering and a treasured time for that reason. Today my thoughts turn to one of my favorite poems of family and mathematics -- a poem by much-too-soon-departed poet Wilmer Mills (1969-2011), a poem first published in Poetry and also also found here at the Poetry Foundation website.
An Equation for My Children by Wilmer Mills
It may be esoteric and perverse
That I consult Pythagoras to hear
A music tuning in the universe.
My interest in his math of star and sphere
Has triggered theorems too far-fetched to solve.
They don’t add up. But if I rack and toil
More in ether than a mortal coil,
It is to comprehend how you revolve,
By formulas of orbit, ellipse, and ring.
Dear son and daughter, if I seem to range
It is to chart the numbers spiraling
Between my life and yours until the strange
And seamless beauty of equations click
Solutions for the heart’s arithmetic.
Mills' sonnet above is just one of many wonderful math-linked poems collected by Sarah Glaz and me in the anthology, Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters/CRC Press, 2008).