I have written, and write, verses on different subjects,including politics. Some are satiric and some, I hope, amusing. Feel free to comment.

July 14, 2008

Going Round in Circles

If you ever try to understand a mathematician’s mind
you may well be astonished at what you might find.
They are always looking for things invisible
and trying to split what is indivisible.



They manipulate numbers to make them behave
and go crazy about polygons, biocentric as well as concave,
Then there are those Cuisenaire rods
once used to teach kids how to get peas out of pods.

A rectangle, a rhombus, a crescent or lune
is bound to set them off humming a tune.
A talk about obscure mathematical laws
will elicit from an audience a resounding applause.

Triangles enchant them and, when asked about those called obtuse,
they’ll defend their lack of discernment with any excuse.
So who can explain, then, why they can’t hold back the tears
when they are unable to alter the most perfect of spheres?

Why the urge to take an inoffensive circle and strangle it
by attempting to quadrangle it?
Could these would-be destroyers of circles be members of some secret society?
It is a thought that should cause us the greatest anxiety.

Though they long ago disposed of their compasses and straightledges
I fear they may not yet have abandoned their pledges
and keep plotting to discover some as yet unknown Euclidean magic
and succeed in their evil intent, which indeed would be tragic.

Generations have spent centuries on this futile quest
pursuing it as if by the Devil possessed.
But, if the later ones to look for a simple answer had resolved,
they would have discovered that the problem had already been solved.

Sitting in his London club in 1845 inventor Stephen Perry
was celebrating St. Patrick’s day with a glass of fine sherry
when his companions were startled to hear his confident claim
about a discovery that would earn him both fortune and fame.

"What is it?” they asked “Tell us, please do, for we’d like to invest,
if your latest invention is really that blessed”.
So he told them he had discovered, though it had in no way been planned,
how to make the most useful and simple rubber band.

So forget about circles that on paper are sketched
and dwell on those that can be easily stretched
into any shape for which you may care
be it oblong, rectangle or, Eureka!, even a square.

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