I just learned about the fascinating writer Daniel Tammet ( link to his blog, optimnem) from an entry in Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac for today. Daniel has high-functioning autistic savant syndrome. His memoir, "Born On A Blue Day," was a best seller in 2006. His new book, 'Embracing the Wide Sky', just came out in 2009. The German edition is entitled 'Wolkenspringer' (Cloud Jumper -- How cool is that!).
He also holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes. He captured the record at a sponsored charity challenge held in aid of the National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) on “Pi Day”, 14 March 2004. He wrote the poem "Pi", in English and French, in honor of Pi Day that year.
Daniel says that in his mind each number has its own form, color and feeling.
I love the way Daniel Tammet uses his unique perception of numbers in the following Pi poem.
Three, One, Four, One, Five, and On
The numbers recount their endless tale.
Three - Barefoot green, a silent voice.
White as hunger, One is twice
Bright like babies’ eyes.
Four is timid, envious of E.
Five, Punctuation or a pregnant sigh
Precedes proud Nine, colour of falling night.
Two, an unfastened knot,
A wayward wind, the hollow of Six resounding.
Nearby, Eight, a cloud of fireflies above a lake
Over which I skim Sevens
Remembering that Zero is nothing but a circle.
Trois, Un, Quatre, Un, Cinq, et ainsi de suite
Les chiffres racontent leur histoire sans limite.
Trois – vert, les pieds nus, une voix silencieuse.
Blanc comme la faim, Un est vif
Comme les yeux d’un bébé.
Quatre est timide, envieux du E.
Cinq, ponctuation ou soupir lourd
Précède le Neuf fier, couleur d’une nuit tombante.
Deux, un nœud défait, vent rebelle,
Comme le creux du Six qui résonne.
Tout près, Huit, nuage de lucioles au dessus d’un lac
Sur lequel je fais des ricochets avec les Septs
En me souvenant que Zéro n’est rien qu’un cercle.
Words by Nancy Norton,for her blog n2notesfromabroad. Copyright 2009-2010.