Poetry Month Day 24: Repairing the World

There was a lot that I enjoyed about writing today’s poem. For one, it came as a surprising counterbalance to yesterday’s post. I also gathered inspiration from my time today with an incredible group of educators through the Just Schools Cohort. The work my colleagues do inspires me to do better, to be better.

That, and the fact that I’m a complete math geek at the heart of things. It’s nice when I can flex that muscle every so often.

Those who wish to perfect this world
who wish it to be
smooth and round and beautiful
forget that a perfect sphere is only
a thing

understand. A circle
is but a collection of points,
the round world a fractal consisting of
infinite corners, with
infinite spaces between them

(and no matter how close those points stand,
we can find infinite points between them,
and points between them,
which is why pi is such a big deal anyway)

so maybe the question is not
about making our world
perfect and round


whether we can
connect those corners
those tiny spaces
within and
our selves
and others,
bending into formation,
point to
point to


rather than a sphere,
the shape of a perfect world

is an arc

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

7 thoughts on “Poetry Month Day 24: Repairing the World

  1. Most people forget that a rainbow only appears as an arc or a ‘bow’ because the horizon cuts it off. It is rare for most people to be at a high enough elevation, usually from a plane, to catch a full circle. I say that to theorize the only reason that connection

    our selves
    and others,
    bending into formation,”

    would be an arc is because we [humans] are landlocked, unable to connect between ourselves over water. Had we not that limitation, like a rainbow it too would be round, a circle. But Oh, whether circular or arced, what a wonderful connection it would be.

    1. oooh! you have officially scienced my math, and I LOVE it. And now you’ve got me thinking. What does that say, to our landlocked selves, about the arc of justice? There is more poetry behind that. Perhaps that seed needs more time to germinate, but THAT. THAT is a thought.

  2. Sorry, but I’m going to share in your geekiness: I teach 3rd grade geometry (soon to be 4th) with the Scratch programming language. The students write programs to construct geometric figures. Polygons? A piece of cake.

    Circles, though? They do it one of two different ways: ((pen down) repeat 360 times: move one step and turn 1 degree) or ((pen up) repeat 360 times: move 100 steps, pen down, move one step, pen up move back 101 steps, turn 1 degree). Either way, they draw what appears to be a circle, but–of course–it’s not.

    The conversation about what makes a circle is usually enlightening for them as well as me.

    You can bet that the message of your poem will come into our conversations some day. It’s rattling around in my little mind, and I can’t wait to share it. Thank you!

    1. Yes! I love the constructivist approach you take to the creation of circles. And of course the thing that gets me – and my elementary kiddos – is this idea the geometry is ENTIRELY theoretical. There are NO actual geometric lines that exist ANYWHERE that we know of in our universe. A point? Having no dimensions? Minds. BLOWN.

      I’d love to see how the thoughts in my poem wind up being reflected back in conversation. You’ll have to let me know!

  3. What strikes me most, Lainie, is that there’s so much here about the spirit, and infinity, and humanity, and the connecting of all things. I honor that math has its place shaping all – a formula, a calculation, a solution, a definite pattern, a precision. The universe is made of numbers; I believe it. I also hear the words of Mister Rogers from the documentary that came out a couple of years ago (Won’t You Be My Neighbor). He speaks of being tikkun olam, “repairers of creation” – which resonated deeply with me and inspired me to write on it – and I am reminded of it here again in your reflective poem, tracing those ever-connecting dots…

    1. Ah yes. Tikkun Olam, the repairing of the world. The idea that our earth is a broken vessel and it’s up to us to put those cracked pieces together (which, I believe, parallels beautifully with your Hemingway quote). I feel like there’s still more to write and reflect on here – maybe that’s also a connection to those dots and those spaces creating the expanse that they do. Thank you for recognizing this for the spirit that I was going for. ❤

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