Saturday, 5 January 2013

Quirks of mathematics

Draw three lines
Which meet each other
Form a triangle
Nothing could be stabler

That's the laws
Of mathematics at work
Bend those laws
And you create a quirk

The Penrose triangle
When used this way
Creates a paradox
Of bend and sway

Shows how truth
Could be used quite strangely
Examine it further
Truth should develop clearly

Keep an eye out
For strange appearances
Don't let impressions
Become your hindrances


This amazing diagram by M C Esher "Waterfall" was created in 1961.  I first saw it on the wall of my favourite maths teachers form room; it grabbed my attention and became formational in my love of mathematics.  We now own a print and I look at it all the time.  So when real toads challenged us to write an Ekphrasis (a graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art) I knew exactly where I'd start.  I'm sure some further poems on more of Eshers work well emerge over the next few days, watch this space.


Siggi in Downeast Maine said...

This is so interesting.
I picked out right away your love of math...
it is the subject that I am least capable in, but my children and grand children all love math...will have to share this with them sometime when we visit with each other.
Your story of the painting and how it affected your life is so interesting. Many people can't pinpoint that time...what a blessing for you.
Thank you for your visit to my blog.
I appreciate the time you took and the comment you made.
Siggi in Downeast Maine

Helen said...

I also enjoy the way you connect aspects of your life in the poetry you write!

(I am not a math wiz)

Susan said...

"Creates a paradox
Of bend and sway"

I love that something as stable as a triangle can be so paradoxical in the hands of a mathematical artist. But I will always be fooled as I don't view art with a protractor!

Hannah said...

I love the talk of the penrose triangle and the paradox and how you worked in the element of made math poetic!! That's a wow from me...math was never really my strong point but I loved Geometry!

I agree with Siggi,your story behind this particular piece of artwork, very cool! :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Shows how truth
Could be used quite strangely...

I thought these lines summed up the picture perfectly. Thank you for responding to this challenge. If you write more Escher-inspired poetry in the week, you can come back to the original to link up or use Open Link Monday to share.

hedgewitch said...

Very nice and precise, Emma.

Fireblossom said...

Deeper understanding through geometry! I love it!

Kim Nelson said...

math and art and art and science and math and science... same/same. And I thought I was the only quirky one!

Susie Clevenger said...

Math and your unique words and view of art.

my heart's love songs said...

this reminded me of reading "Flatland" when i was 12 or 13 and how that two-dimensional world sparked my interest in mathematics as well as some fascinating artistic ideas. my daughter and granddaughter also have a love of both math and art.

great take on the prompt!

Kay L. Davies said...

How great to see one of your favorite artists featured as inspiration on Real Toads! How much better that you have your own Escher work as well. I love the way these things work—one of us will say or do something and one or more of us will respond with "Me, too!"
Beautifully done, Emma.

Margaret said...

A paradox... Very nicely done.