Pure mathematics1


The clockwork tilts.  And the lightbrown bee

hangs immobile before the flower that never

will be quickened, seed, wilt, and grow beyond

this petrified hour.  The air


as still as ice it stands, so white, so blue.

The breaker aching to arch, to fall, to foam,

remains held in its light circles

and must delay its sea an eternity.2

1 A translation from the original Afrikaans by N. P. van Wyk Louw.

2 Scaevola is indebted to his daughter whom he had to help with an assignment for reminding him of this poem.  The translation does the original a disservice.