Imagine a world where the libraries are open
always !
and the words break free of their pages
and go screaming down the street.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Geometry October 14, 2010

The posting of the following poem was inspired by the discovery of the blog:
Intersections -- Poetry with Mathematics    Which looks at the intersection of Mathematics and Poetry. The posts are thoughtful and interesting.          


By Rita Dove


I prove a theorem and the house expands:
the windows jerk free to hover near the ceiling,
the ceiling floats away with a sigh.

As the walls clear themselves of everything
but transparency, the scent of carnations
leaves with them. I am out in the open

and above the windows have hinged into butterflies,
sunlight glinting where they’ve intersected.
They are going to prove some point true and unproven.

In the October 6th post: 'Poetry, in other words, is mathematics" from the intersection blog the author highlights two different authors and how they approach the intersection of math and poetry.

by Tim Love, British poet and member of the Computer Systems Group in the Engineering Department at Cambridge University. He is interested in the structure of poems and the importance of the  rules for these poems. He finds poetry being closely related to a  particular branch of mathematics known as combinatorics, the study of permutations.

Then there is Phil Bolsta who has an interest in palindromes and he provides a rather long list of them in is blog. But the other item that he posts is an amazing piece of  word structure gymnastics titled  “The Lost Generation”  which can be read from top to bottom for one meaning and from bottom to top for the opposite meaning.

The Lost Generation

I am part of a lost generation
and I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
“Happiness comes from within”
is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
they are not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
is more important than
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era
this is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now, I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it.

Check out the links, they are both very interesting.

Tim Love sees a connection between poetry and the mathematical field of combinatorics, the study of permutations. One way to look at poetry and mathematics is
            Poetry is to writing
            As proofs are to mathematics

A complete mathematical proof  covers all cases (an infinite number) an many of these proofs are written with short concise statements.

Many poems do the same thing addressing larger than life issues on many different levels using only a short combination of words. This economy of words is one of the great things about poetry. Mathematics deals with infinite possibilities and poetry is a container for longing.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Introduction to Poetry

The trigger for this poem was the discussion yesterday of "The Red Wheel Barrel". The  poem is pretty straight forward. The message appears to be to experience the poem, let it come in through the senses rather then through the brain. If you do that it will be a much richer and complete experience.

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Red Wheelbarrow


I posted below the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, the trigger for this poem was the part in the poem by Billy Collins titled "Picnic, Lightening" that I posted yesterday, were he discusses a wheelbarrow. My first introduction to the poem was about 15 years ago when i took a poetry class at UCLA extension. It was in the required reading material for the course. I cannot say the poem did much for me then or now even, except that the poem keeps finding me. Recently my wife used the book "Love that Dog" in her fourth grade class poetry section at Montair Elementary School, In Danville, California which featured the Red Wheelbarrow Poem.

In Billy Collin's Poem "Introduction to Poetry" he says the following:

"But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it."

I think the Wheelbarrow Poem is the perfect example of a poem that has been tied to a chair over and over again by endless people.

The poem possesses a  sort of  "chicken and egg"  feel. "So much depends on the wheelbarrow" begs the question would the white chickens even be there if it were not for the wheelbarrow. The rain is necessary to the chickens and for the need of the wheelbarrow. The white chickens give one the clue that we are talking about a farm or backyard garden area. The rain glaze on the wheelbarrow evokes a pleasant pastoral image.

In Woody Allen's movie "Annie Hall" one of the last lines in the movie is "perhaps we need the eggs".  Maybe so much depends on the wheelbarrow simply because we need the eggs.

The Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Facebook | David Perrings

Facebook David Perrings: "and the click of the sundial
as one hour sweeps into the next...............

billy collins"

Picnic, Lightning
By Billy Collins
"My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three."
It is possible to be struck by a meteor
or a single-engine plane
while reading in a chair at home.
Safes drop from rooftops
and flatten the odd pedestrian
mostly within the panels of the comics,
but still, we know it is possible,
as well as the flash of summer lightning,
the thermos toppling over,
spilling out onto the grass.
And we know the message
can be delivered from within.
The heart, no valentine,
decides to quit after lunch,
the power shut off like a switch,
or a tiny dark ship is unmoored
into the flow of the body's rivers,
the brain a monastery,
defenseless on the shore.
This is what I think about
when I shovel compost
into a wheelbarrow,
and when I fill the long flower boxes,
then press into rows
the limp roots of red impatiens--
the instant hand of Death
always ready to burst forth
from the sleeve of his voluminous cloak.
Then the soil is full of marvels,
bits of leaf like flakes off a fresco,
red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick
to burrow back under the loam.
Then the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue,
the clouds a brighter white,
and all I hear is the rasp of the steel edge
against a round stone,
the small plants singing
with lifted faces, and the click
of the sundial
as one hour sweeps into the next.

Monday, October 4, 2010



The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and is not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

~Naomi Nye