Paul Hartal

From Plane To Sphere - Poem by Paul Hartal

They all tried.
They tried to free Euclid of every flaw.
At Bach’s time Girolamo Saccheri did
And Adrien-Marie Legendre later.

Pitying himself and all mankind,
Farkas Bolyai came back
With broken mast and torn sail.

He came back from the voyage
To the reefs of the infernal Dead Sea.

He traversed the bottomless night,
Devoting his life to the search for truth,
Trying to prove Euclid’s fifth postulate
And reach the parallels.

At the beginning he warned his son
But later he encouraged, even urged him
To come forth with the novel idea
Of non-Euclidean geometry,
For violets react to light in early spring.

And János indeed
Brought forward new theorems.
In eighteen twenty three,
When he was only twenty-one years old,
He solved the timeworn problem.

He created a new universe
By removing points, lines and parallels
From the surface of the plane
And placing them
In the realm of the sphere.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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