Posts Tagged poetry
Friends of mine recently got married. One of them has a background in actuarial science and computer science and the other has a masters degree in music. I thought it would be fun to write them a poem that needed both these backgrounds to appreciate fully, and thus I came up with the following:
Love is like a symphony, a Beethoven symphony (no 7 of course) its present value cannot be determined (no hypothecation allowed ) it has more power than compound interest able to decipher even the most inscrutable VB code love can make life feel like a stroll through country gardens but sometimes, one must face nights on a bare mountain or even the isle of the dead but love is a commitment a contract writ before God it is a long-term investment, that rides out short-term fluctuations (it beats any human benchmark) with not even death as a decrement
Here are the specific references if you want to look them up. Actuarial science: hypothecation, decrement, contract. Finance: compound interest, present value, long-term investment, short-term fluctuations. Programming: VB. Music: Beethoven symphony, country gardens, isle of the dead, night on the bare the mountain.
Ironic self-aggrandisement is a peculiar form of humour. I use it all the time, but it may be quite irritating to tell everyone how wonderful you are, even if you do so in an ironic tone, because, just maybe, a little part of you believes what you say.
By rights the world should worship me I saved it just the other day but of course I’m too humble to admit it
I’m actually a very charming person but I’m afraid my charm only works on intelligent people
I have many good characteristics a razor-sharp wit, for one and I’m really good in the sack
when I rule the world you can be in my harem you should be honoured many other people will die
everyone should just do what I say the world would be a better place why not go into politics? no, no, politics is for people with superiority complexes
I’ll make you my queen you could rule the world with an iron hand or the household at least I’ll rule the world
god and I are buddies he asks Me for advice sometimes the rain of fire that destroyed the world my idea, or was that the previous world?
Fire appears to be a symbol intimately coupled with both life and death. Life is a kind of fire, burning hot for a time and then dissipating. By life, I do not mean just individual life, but all life. Physically (simplistically) of course, we are just vessels for burning oxygen and harnessing the energy so obtained. Humans are just tiny embers of the grand fiery life that is Earth, fuelled by the sun, which will one day die. Have you ever thought of God as a fire? Not just in wrath, but in the same way that life is fire, but (hopefully) eternal. Out of this fire comes our own fire, both spiritual (think holy spirit) and physical. I think these are the kinds of disparate thoughts that went through my head as I wrote the following poem quite a few years ago:
The Fire The Fire burns and rages with warmth and soft scorching heat from an eternal omnipotence brought forth in life, and death and life in death prosperity, despair love and punishment The blistering glow releases tiny embers like little fire-balloons that fall to the Earth and imitate a million times tinier the power, and glory of their Father and quickly die leaving little grey bodies that are stamped into the ground
I remember that once, in primary school, I went out for break and immediately just sat down outside the classroom with my lunchbox. Some minutes later the teacher saw me and asked what I was doing. The break was in fact only after the next period and my entire class was in another classroom. I am not trying to illustrate how bad I am with time and schedules (I have mostly learned to handle such things). Rather, this shows just how isolated I was from other children. I did not even notice there were no other children about – I would not have been where they were in any case.
I have learnt to interact with other people. I am no longer as cut off from them as I was when I was young. However, I sometimes feel like it is all just pretend. As if inside, I am still that little boy and that (almost) no one has managed to reach him – because he is out of reach. That little boy is sometimes lonely, I admit that, and I should try to let him out more of the time. But often he is also merely alone, content with his own being.
Here is a poem that expresses the contrast:
I speak, but the little boy is silent
I smile at you, but the little boy smiles at his own thoughts
I laugh at your jokes, but the little boy laughs at the book in his hand
I enjoy your company, but the little boy is impatient to be alone
I make myself known, but the little boy hides away
I bellow with confidence, but the little boy stutters
I hide my tears, but the little boy wails unheard
I talk to you, but the little boy wishes you would talk to him
During a small group meeting not very long ago, I found myself having to be creative on the spot. I came up with a little poem riddled with maths references (and some other things – there is a religious element too). I would be interested in seeing how many of the references people get, so please post some comments.
coffee cups and donuts somewhere, not too far to reach orbits a teapot the Pope cannot see it monsters fly around it telescopes search for it and planets with four stars bear gifts of coffee cups and donuts; spheres knot and cannot be untied, the Primes march in a line the universe is but Your shadow
In her TED talk about introversion Susan Cain speaks of reading being a communal activity in her family. I can understand something of that. I am often not alone when I read, and I do not mind it. More often than not though, I am the only person in the room reading. It is comforting, less lonely, to have others in the room, even if you don’t necessarily want to have a conversation. For an introvert (my family consists of introverts) conversations can be draining. Alone time is vital. Just being busy with your own thing (more often than not, being immersed in a book) seems to give a sense of togetherness without the drain of full social interaction. I know of some people that cannot handle ambient noise at all, which you cannot escape if you are not alone, but it is, perhaps, exactly this ambient noise and other subtle indications of the other person or persons’ presence that allows you to feel you’re not alone. In any case, I wrote the following poem (and this blog post) while my brother was doing his own thing on his computer
Just let me sit here and read
next to you
i don’t want to talk
i just want the sound of your fingers on the keys
the groan of your chair
the flow of air as you breathe
i just want your presence
when i laugh, exclaim
you don’t need to ask why
i don’t want you to ask
i just want you to hear
to glance at me, with a smile
or a grimace
to interrupt whatever you’re busy with for just a moment
and then to carry on
and leave me to my book