Puzzle piece trees
in sunlight through their leaves
seem at home among bumblebees.
Near bulbs with roots tangled in dirt sipping water from soil,
blooms speak in codes of bright hue; cyphers of light refracted
'cross retinas transcribe the waves
from nature and numbers
For my math project, I decided to write a poem using the Lucas number sequence to determine the number of feet per line, where a foot is a pair of syllables. Once I reached seven feet I decided to repeat the sequence backward, reversing the form to create a horizontally symmetrical shape with two distinct halves.
Usually, poems will use feet that follow a particular rhythm of stressed and unstressed syllables. I did not pay particular attention to the rhythm of my poem, but it might have some kind depending on how people choose to read it. I attempted to use an iambic meter in the beginning, but the constraints brought by the form of the poem made it difficult to implement any other attributes.
For the content of the poem, I tried to draw on what we learned in class, and what my attempts at gardening have taught me. The first half focuses on flora, while the second half is on the concept of light. I’m not sure who scientifically accurate my description of light is, but it was inspired by our reading on rainbows. I thought it was interesting how light, as we know it, is a phenomenon that really only happens in our brains. Without someone to observe, the waves of light are not really color. This is interpreted in my poem as a form of communication, and translation. Without someone to observe, a flower is not really red or purple, and it is not pretty/aesthetically appealing either. Color then can be understood in two ways, mathematical or scientific analysis, shown by waves, or through experience through the senses, what we know as color. The path of the light waves from the flower to the eye in the second half of the poem means to synthesize these aspects. By understanding the miraculous nature of light and its interesting mathematical properties we can better appreciate its beauty.
The Lucas numbers sequence begins with two and one, and are added to produce the next number in the sequence, where the new number is always the summation of the last two numbers. For my project, I only went up to seven, but I explored the sequence before starting the poem. Up to seven, where this property seems to break down, you can take the values of each number in the sequence, make each individual number an area, and make a rectangle out of the Tetris-like pieces. I am not sure why it stops working at seven. It seems that it was just a coincidence, but I am sure that it works at least once more further down the sequence. The Lucas series is similar to the Fibonacci sequence in that it makes a spiral, but the Fibonacci sequence is more famous. The spirals produced look nearly the same, so I wonder if the Lucas series is found in nature as often. I am not sure I can spot much difference between the spirals visually, so there might be other factors that led to the reputation of the Fibonacci sequence. The pattern of summation between the two series is the same, but they just start with different numbers: one and one, and one and two, for Fibonacci and Lucas respectively. I have not looked into the timeline between when these sequences were discovered or rather invented, and if the Lucas numbers were more modern comparatively, which might explain the difference in their reputation.
Overall, I think I was successful in producing an art piece that really engages with the material. I used mathematical content and form, which we looked at in our reading, and I thought about aesthetics in a meaningful way. I have learned quite a bit from this project, and I feel that the form of the poem both enhances its content, and forced me to write in more creative ways, really appreciating every syllable I used.