Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Benoit Mandelbrot and the Coast of Britain

How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension by Benoît Mandelbrot

Water and land, like fingers interlaced
along a boundary of fractal length
divide and conquer self-similar space.
Like lovers in a close-contact embrace
they clasp each other in a couple-dance
in time stepped off in tidal increments,
the tango rhythm of retreat/advance
rekindled by each passing lunar glance.

So any scheme of finite measurement
of coastlines must require a leap of faith
from point to point along an edge of lace,
the moving merge of sea and continent.
And so Benoit walks on, his rule in hand
admitting he can't know the length of land.

--for Read Write Poem
Collection available! Knocking from Inside

6 comments:

Tamra said...

Wow! This is a wonderful sonnet.

rbarenblat said...

I love

any scheme of finite measurement / of coastlines must require a leap of faith / from point to point along an edge of lace, / the moving merge of sea and continent.

That last line especially is really glorious.

Wayne Pitchko said...

very nice ."tango rythem of retreat" I like very much

Andy Sewina said...

Yeah cool poem!

Btw, The Mister Linky Thingy at Totally Optional Prompts seems to have disappeared, maybe it'll reappear later?

Tumblewords: said...

You do justice to Benoit and fractals - two of my fave things!

Michelle Johnson said...

Hello Tiel~ Wonderful poem. First stanza is my favorite. Hope all is well. Have a nice weekend.