Friday, June 6

Base


BASE
The base has always been a friend,
Our fingers, toes, the human math
The ones and tens and ten by tens

Are sure and simple, count or graph
But presently the base begins
To shift, to shudder—hateful gaffe

By eights eighteen becomes sixteen
And thirty-two mere twenty-six
Twelve turns to ten, an act obscene,

And that’s some easy math, no tricks
With twenty-one, six-three is seen
As one-eight-nine to lunatics

The middling fifty, base of nine,
Rounds out a sullen forty-five
And why this stuff, these numbers mine

For truly they keep sense alive
And as a fork’s vibrating tine
The echoing, this mind deprives

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