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Monday, May 09, 2011

'Gaps' a poem by Philip Holmes - Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Gaps

Philip Holmes
pholmes at math.princeton.edu 

Take a line and take away
the middle third, and then
the middle thirds of two thirds
left behind, and middle thirds
of those four ninths remaining.
Go on and on: what’s left at last
is utterly disjoint – beginnings,
ends – each point divided from
the next, but oh! so close,
infinitely numerous
as what you started with
and carefully have pried apart.
Will there be time to measure up
this dust of unremembering?

* *

Take a line and take away the middle third,
and then the middle thirds of two thirds
left behind, and middle thirds of those four
ninths that still remain. Reiterate:
what’s left at last is utterly disjoint –
beginnings, ends and more – each point
divided from the next and yet uncountable
and numerous as what you had before.
Take a life and take the most part out,
for so it happens; only the best-rehearsed
of memories remain: a voice transformed
among the absences, a face, a hand.
You brought me here, but there was more:
dust that blows away, gaps that captivate.


Journal of Humanistic Mathematics Vol 1, No 1, January 2011.
Editors: Mark Huber, Claremont McKenna College; Gizem Karaali, Pomona College

Used with permission of Philip Holmes and JoHM with thanks.

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