Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | November 21, 2010

ZITO THE MAGICIAN

 

ZITO THE MAGICIAN

To amuse His Royal Majesty he will change water into wine.
Frogs into footmen. Beetles into bailiffs. And make a Minister
out of a rat. He bows, and daisies grow from his finger-tips.
And a talking bird sits on his shoulder.
There.
Think up something else, demands His Royal Majesty.
Think up a black star. So he thinks up a black star.
Think up dry water. So he thinks up dry water.
Think up a river bound with straw-bands. So he does.
There.
Then along comes a student and asks: Think up sine alpha greater than one.
And Zito grows pale and sad. Terribly sorry. Sine is
Between plus one and minus one. Nothing you can do about that.
And he leaves the great royal empire, quietly weaves his way
Through the throng of courtiers, to his home in a nutshell.

Miroslav Holub (Czech)
Translated by George Theiner

From Poems Before & After: Collected English Translations, 1991, Bloodaxe Books, 274 pp, ISBN 978-1-852-24122-3.

http://www.lms.ac.uk/newsletter/11.html

About these ads

Responses

  1. Too bad Zito did not know complex numbers! For example,
    sin(Pi/2+I) = cosh(1) = 1.543… > 1

  2. Miroslav Holub is one of my all-time favorite poets!
    Here’s a link to a slightly different translation of “Zito the Magician.”
    http://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/2010/03/miroslav-holub-poet-and-scientist.html


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers

%d bloggers like this: