Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Elemental (Sonnets #161 and #162)


There's an idea (fake as this pyrite ball is gold),
That these shapes possess some elemental structure --
"A pyramid breaks into triangles and square."
My New Math teacher once, patiently, told
Us a plane held infinite points. I wasn't so sure.
I asked, if I take a sharp pencil to paper
And make a million dots the paper won't turn black?
It's a concept, he answered angrily, not fact!
Cube, sphere, prism, octahedron, and elliptic
Palm stone -- some machine cut, some grown, some nature-made --
Arranged on my highboy, formulate a cryptic
Code of concepts curiosity can't evade,
Though we examine them without penetration.
Their rigid simplicity mocks contemplation.


Simple. Elemental. Basic. Fast. Essential.
Are these the bricks and mortar of the universe
Or the toys and pastimes of a collective mind?
It's true, some find them holy and reverential,
Expressions infinitely eloquent, yet terse,
Or like paintings, not quite finished, though signed.
Do lines along two axes meet only to end
Or pass on into a negative world designed
To balance everything, or do all lines there bend
And nothing here is ever perfectly aligned?
The mind, like gravity, tends to make things rounded.
Ideas are circuitous; words circle, spiral.
Convictions are light trapped in a mirror-lined ball,
But no line stops a line; no thought is unbounded.