Today is the birthday of black mathematician, astronomer, almanac-writer and puzzle-maker Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) -- and some of his puzzles were poems: this link leads to this blog's previous postings of his work.
This week (November 9-14) is 2020 Maths Week in England. Learn more, via an introductory video, here.
During these Covid-19 days of isolation I am particularly aware of distances that separate me from those I love . .. and the numbers that keep track of it all. Here are opening lines from the poem "Distances" by Peter Meinke that reflect on the changeable meanings of numbers.
from: Distances by Peter Meinke
Some distances cannot be crossed; like
Zeno's arrow you can only go halfway at a time:
there remains a remoteness, a shadow thrown
across an almost infinitesimal line:
I am usually glad there is a distance between us:
it gives me somewhere to go.
But now, you are 467 miles away
as the crow flies, and I think
That's not a bad number: 4 + 6 makes 10,
the perfect figure, minus 7 makes 3,
the holy trinity or the eternal triangle . . .
"Distances" is included in Meinke's collection The Night Train and the Golden Bird (University of Pittsburgh Pres, 1977) and also in the anthology Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008) edited by Sarah Glaz and JoAnne Growney. Another poem from Strange Attractors that I have thoughtfully revisited recently is "Counting" by Douglas Goetsch, a poem that is also available here at poets.org.