Wednesday, May 13, 2020

What would I do without NUMBERS?

     Sometimes familiar things that are very important are taken for granted.  Many of us do that with numbers . . . California poet and artist Mary Fabilli (1914-2011) considered their importance in the following thoughtful poem:

     Numbers     by Mary Fabilli

     What would I do
     without numbers?
     A 7 there and a 3 here,
     days in a month
     months in a year
     AD and BC
     and all such symbols

     the track of time
     and the magical fractions
     5 to 12 (that's noon)
     5 to 5 (bus for home)
     mysterious freedoms

     will it be like that
     5 minutes to death?

Fabilli's poem is on my shelf in Against Infinity: An Anthology of Contemporary Mathematical Poetry, edited by Ernest Robson and Jet Wimp (Primary Press, 1979).

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