Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 26: Pi Poem

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.

Daniel's drawings (above) show some of the number shapes he sees.

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.


swallowtail said...

I do love this. Giving me an idea (well, that's something!)...

And I love reading it in my lame French! I still love it. Looking forward to doing some writing tomorrow, as life has been frenetic here. Nice, but very busy, and I do not even know what I have been doing. Must be time for another list.

Little Mr. Emerson is missing you. He is forgetting that his name is Huckleberry. "Ahh, ma petite huckleberry!" (Oh, and he is about 50+lbs now).

So, hopefully will be chatting you on Monday!!!

Ms. Moon said...

When I as a child, learning my numbers, they all had gender for me. Odd though- only two and four are female. And the odd numbers are the most manly.

N2 said...

LC - Glad to hear that you could not only read the poem in French! but found some inspiration there.

Ms Moon - I am not surprised that you are someone who sees character/gender in numbers.

It is an interesting concept for us writers and artists, non?

x0x0 N2

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