Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare

Euclid by Thomas Lynch

What sort of morning was Euclid having
when he first considered parallel lines?
Or that business about how things equal
to the same thing are equal to each other?
Who’s to know what the day has in it?
This morning Burt took it into his mind
to make a long bow out of Osage orange
and went on eBay to find the cow horns
from which to fashion the tips of the thing.
You better have something to pass the time,
he says, stirring his coffee, smiling.
And Murray is carving a model truck
from a block of walnut he found downstairs.
Whittling away he thinks of the years
he drove between Detroit and Buffalo
delivering parts for General Motors.
Might he have nursed theorems on lines and dots
or the properties of triangles or
the congruence of adjacent angles?
Or clearing customs at Niagara Falls,
arrived at some insight on wholes and parts
or an axiom involving radii
and the making of circles, how distance
from a center point can be both increased
endlessly and endlessly split—a mystery
whereby the local and the global share
the same vexations and geometry?
Possibly this is where God comes into it,
who breathed the common notion of coincidence
into the brain of that Alexandrian
over breakfast twenty-three centuries back,
who glimpsed for a moment that morning the sense
it all made: life, killing time, the elements,
the dots and lines and angles of connection—
an egg’s shell opened with a spoon, the sun’s
connivance with the moon’s decline, Sophia
the maidservant pouring juice; everything,
everything coincides, the arc of memory,
her fine parabolas, the bend of a bow,
the curve of the earth, the turn in the road.

Picture found here.

1 comment:

Clymela/Singing Sparrow said...

Oh my!! I just got to you this morning after a couple of days of grown grandkids and their friends. You are there right there on the Bookmarks Toolbar so that I can turn to you QUICKLY when the going is too much for me to carry alone.
This piece just brought on a swoon so perfect and so full of love and sunshine and yes, god and then I move on to the piece not yet up when this one was posted. I really love you and your garden. Your postings have inspired me to garden my own tiny urban earth and we have eaten from my garden already and I see that the "greens (collard plant) tree" has put forth enough for us at dinner today.