Thursday, December 10, 2020

How should a professor groom for math class?

     One of the rewards of many new endeavors is making new friends -- and one of the special connections I have made through math-poetry endeavors is Gregory Coxson, an engineering professor at the US Naval Academy.  Greg has frequently alerted me to new mathy poems and, this fall, he sent me an interesting poem that he had written, a thoughtful comment on looking beyond appearances to what is more important. 

My PDE Professor    by Gregory Coxson

He sometimes wore those marine corps sweaters
  The ones in army green, that look the best
On more triangular figures than his.
  And then those ridiculous epaulets
How did his wife let him out of the house?    

And those high-top Converse sneakers,
  Usually in bright reds or yellow,
That were often untied, or laces loose.
  One time a shoe came off, and sat up there
Like a proposition he never used.

And then there was his hair, that tangled mat
  Of dark curls, a pate cover on a hinge.
One time the lid flipped over, and flapped there,
  Distractingly, off the side of his scalp.
We kept on writing, trying not to stare.

It remains a mystery to me, how,
  When I opened my transcribed notes each night,
They were all so intricate and precise,
  Like movements of a mechanical clock.
In the end, that was the lasting lesson.

Here is a link to a list of earlier postings that mention Greg Coxson and his math-poetry interests.

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