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3/19/2010

coaches love poetry, too

My parents were in town yesterday and today to celebrate my brother's belated birthday. Over breakfast this morning, I showed my Dad the latest issue of Comment magazine with this gorgeous artwork on the cover:

["Pentecost" by Harold Sikkema]

My Dad is a coach; plays guitar & piano; and is also a mathematician, completely enamored with algebra, geometry, numbers, and so on (I did not inherit this gene). So naturally, he fell in love with this poem from Comment and proceeded to read it aloud to me, Johnny, and my Mom:

"Dividing Zero"
by Aaron Belz

Dividing one makes two,
and so on. But dividing zero?
"Nothing can come of nothing,"
Lear laments - and yet, as you

know, God's signature's here.
Where zero was, is one, then two:
two lights, moon and sun;
then man and woman;

two brothers, two kingdoms -
then one, one stump, one shoot,
a branch bowed down with fruit.
So where zero becomes one,

two, then many, many again
are one in whom "neither slave
nor free, male nor female";
a new nation, ex nihilo.


P.S. -- I may not love math, but I do love this poem.

3 comments:

bean said...

i love math and that poem. thank you!

B said...

Oh, I do love that, too! Love Math - I think it's one of God's most beautiful languages. :-) Thanks for sharing this poem. Behind on blog reading, hope you are well down in Texas! B.

insitu said...

Thank you Jenni, for bringing together Poem and Pentecost. In one sense, this outpouring is a kind of "One" event, but it also has a reverse precedent. Babel is the scattering of language, while Pentecost restores unity through speaking in tongues. I don't know if that makes Babel "One" and Pentecost "Two", but it certainly means that I hang them as a diptych.