Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ten: One of the Great Numbers

According to the computers comprising the machinery behind blogging, I just wrote my 110th blog-entry. In honor of the number ten, then, which "goes into" 110 eleven times and must be used in calculations--by us and our machines--billions of times per day, a poem:

Grief For The Number Ten


What would we say about
ten if it died? –The 1

and the 0 lying in a box
of cotton, a salacious minister

sliding into the crowd
to read the unimportant

Tenth Psalm. "Oh, Ten,
we would think, you were right

in the midst of everything
we thought about numbers.

You unified by dividing.
You got those zeros rolling

in a train roaring past that
pipsqueak town, Arithmetic,

into Infinityville." Or maybe
we’d just look at our fingers,

count like crazy, hymning
& humming desperately.

The data suggest we,
take away ten, are nothing.



from The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006, by Hans Ostrom

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