*Cordite poetry Review recently devoted an issue to the theme of Mathematics, please go and enjoy!*

http://cordite.org.au/content/poetry/mathematics/

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# Category: Mathematics

## Maths poetry in Cordite

## Euclidean Shivers

## Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare

## Numbers and Faces by WH Auden

## The Computation by John Donne

## Miroslav Holub — a reflection on accuracy

**Brief Reflection on Accuracy**
*Mirslav Holub *
## Beauty that you may never see

SCIENCE POETRY

*Cordite poetry Review recently devoted an issue to the theme of Mathematics, please go and enjoy!*

http://cordite.org.au/content/poetry/mathematics/

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So, how does the Triangle

relate to the Circle?

Euclid and a radius prove points

that radiate from the center, a circle,

a method to navigate space.

Would this seem more real if we pulled

ribbons from agreed upon place.

perhaps the Maypole?

Preoccupied with tangents and triangles,

it is hard to visualize chords,

a concordance, to be in accord.

** ** *by Carol Dorf*

*Carol is a Maths teacher in California and is the poetry editor for TalkingWriting*

*Collected from JoAnne Growneys excellent Maths and Poetry blog*

*https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/how-does-triangle-relate-to-circle.html*

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*

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.

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?*

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.

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.

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*