Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare

Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.

O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Numbers and Faces by WH Auden


The Kingdom of Number is all boundaries
Which may be beautiful and must be true;
To ask if it is big or small proclaims one
The sort of lover who should stick to faces.

Lovers of small numbers go benignly potty,
Believe all tales are thirteen chapters long,
Have animal doubles, carry pentagrams,
Are Millerites, Baconians, Flat-Earth-Men.

Lovers of big numbers go horridly mad,
Would have the Swiss abolished, all of us
Well purged, somatotyped, baptised, taught baseball:
They empty bars, spoil parties, run for Congress.

True, between faces almost any number
Might come in handy, and One is always real;
But which could any face call good, for calling
Infinity a number does not make it one.

The Computation by John Donne

For the first twenty years since yesterday
I scarce believed thou couldst be gone away;
For forty more I fed on favors past,
And forty on hopes that thou wouldst they might last.
Tears drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,
A thousand, I did neither think nor do,
Or not divide, all being one thought of you,
Or in a thousand more forgot that too.
Yet call not this long life, but think that I
Am, by being dead, immortal. Can ghosts die?

 

John Donne is one of the great poets. Who can resist sharing one of his poems?

Miroslav Holub — a reflection on accuracy

In science and mathematics, accuracy is key. In this poem, Mirslav Holub (an immunologist) reflects on accuracy. This poem was translated form the Czech by Ewald Osers.

Brief Reflection on Accuracy
Fish
    always accurately know where to move and when,
    and likewise
    birds have an accurate built-in time sense
    and orientation.
Humanity, however,
    lacking such instincts resorts to scientific
    research. Its nature is illustrated by the following
    occurrence.
A certain soldier
    had to fire a cannon at six o’clock sharp every evening.
    Being a soldier he did so. When his accuracy was
    investigated he explained:
I go by
    the absolutely accurate chronometer in the window
    of the clockmaker down in the city. Every day at seventeen
    forty-five I set my watch by it and
    climb the hill where my cannon stands ready.
    At seventeen fifty-nine precisely I step up to the cannon
    and at eighteen hours sharp I fire.
And it was clear
    that this method of firing was absolutely accurate.
    All that was left was to check that chronometer. So
    the clockmaker down in the city was questioned about
    his instrument’s accuracy.
Oh, said the clockmaker,
    this is one of the most accurate instruments ever. Just imagine,
    for many years now a cannon has been fired at six o’clock sharp.
    And every day I look at this chronometer
    and always it shows exactly six.
Chronometers tick and cannon boom.
Mirslav Holub      

 


	

Beauty that you may never see

I have seen beauty that you may never see
Folded something ugly into Hilbert space
And watched as quantum nonsense became obvious and sane
Step by step built equations
Adding to one side
Taking from the other
And found true beauty
It is something you feel, something known
Something to do with symmetry
Something to do with what is revealed and what is not
(much like an evening dress)
Now it is lost to me
My mathematical muscles are wasted away
But I remember, Oh I remember

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

From the Cheesellers Wife

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A poem that uses mathematics to its own end….

best poetry blog in the cosmos

I drift across the galaxy
seriously slowly

sometimes I am geometry
other times algebraic
formulae or
numerical code

sinking into shape as
gravity decides me

I aim for you who
are my
solution fleshed
out.

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