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Poetry

Paean to mathematics

From the LabLit science verse series

Peter Roberts 24 August 2008

www.lablit.com/article/409

such stark, strange beauty
(subtleties to befuddle machiavelli)
– who would not want
to linger, to explore?

infinities beyond enumeration,
beyond expected comprehension,
– yet all transfinite cardinals
are subsumed in math's wide scope.

but here lies madness, too:
emptinesses unimaginable,
shapes distorted to the limit,
dimensions neither whole nor wholesome,

yet each sustains its own (if
at times perverse) logic;
even so, some truths escape
– sly gödel showed us that.

our lives are insubstantial,
smoke-thin dreams of shadows
which fail to even model
mere second-order logic.