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?

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

OUT

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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