Monday, January 11, 2021

Number Personalities . . .

      Sometimes our experiences with objects or ideas leads us to assign them personalities -- a notion illustrated in the poem "Zero," by Sue Owen, a poem that lives on my shelf in the anthology Verse and Universe:  Poems about Science and Mathematics, edited by Kurt Brown (Milkweed Editions, 1998), and offered below.

Zero     by Sue Owen

       This is the story of zero,
       born to live a life
       of emptiness, only
       child of plus and minus.

       Its bones invisible
       so it could be seen through
       like an eye.
       With that vision, you could      

       see the past and the future
       and how they mimic each other.
       At first, it was thought
       the zero was a mouth

       and would say something
       profound to the numbers.
       But added to them, it never
       amounted to much, and

       subtracted, it never wanted
       to take anything away.
       Zero was a sad case,
       only wanted to master emotion

       and silence like chess.
       Each winter, the approaching
       degrees never could locate
       its cold, missing heart. 

"Zero" originally appeared in The Book of Winter (OSU Press, 1988) and appears here with the authors permission.

Food for thought:  Which number are YOU?  What is the personality of ZERO in your life? 

 And for some GEOMETRY personalities -- GO HERE!

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