Friday, July 06, 2007

Poetry Friday - Infinity

Hello Friends! Please forgive the silence this week. I have been teaching my brains out (8am-1pm every day). I am exhausted, both physically and mentally, as I am arriving at work around 5:30 am each morning and still teaching my evening class (4-7pm) to boot. However, I am surrounded by a group of amazing teachers and am energized by their enthusiasm.

Since I am teaching a course on improving elementary math, my mind is on numbers this week. Here are a few poems about infinity.
by William Blake

To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

by Jacob Bernoulli (a 17th century mathematician)

Even as the finite encloses an infinite series
And in the unlimited limits appear,
So the soul of immensity dwells in minutia
And in narrowest limits no limit in here.
What joy to discern the minute in infinity!
The vast to perceive in the small, what divinity!

Revelation At Midnight
by Piet Hein (a Danish mathematician known for writing gruks)

Infinity's taken
by everyone
as a figure-of-eight
written sideways on.
But all of a sudden
I now comprehend
that eight is infinity
standing on end.
The round up today is over at Farm School. Head on over and check out some great posts. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. Those are great. This is going to sound really kind of, well, dippy . . . but I remember very distinctly sitting and thinking about the concept of infinity as a child and having my mind blown by it! I'd sit and think about how the universe is supposed to go on and on and how it just must have an end . . .

    Anyway, good selections! Happy Poetry Friday . . .

  2. Who knew mathematicians have poetry in their souls? Of course, William Blake is the man for the mind-blowing space/time/infinity types of things, but now I am happy in the knowledge that eight is cooler than previously believed, and gruks -- I know what gruks are! I'm going out to find someone to tell.

    Thanks for making me feel smart for five minutes. ;)

    A hapless English major who just barely squeaked by in maths