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Spring Math Test

3599716870_cafcb23141_z1. If every sound is potentially the product of some finite number of sine waves, is every barnswallow’s flight potentially the product of some finite number of perfect circles?

2. Which is best: dirt, a beetle, a chipmunk, or a sparrow? Is there a hierarchy implied in the series? If so, in which direction does the hierarchy go, and with respect to what is it arranged? If not, why not?

3. If a finch alights on a branch and bobs his body in such a way that his body moves while his head remains entirely motionless, why is his motionlessness so convincing? Why does the finch seems to be making a legitimate bid to be the only motionless thing in the universe?

4. Given an evergreen shrub whose dark green tips, after a heavy rainfall, acquire a shoot of brighter, more livid green, calculate the taste of the brighter part against your fingers.

5. Why does a jet stream against an azure sky dissolve more slowly the longer you think about death?

6. Given a parabola whose apex is the zenith and whose point of inflection is just out of reach, what would you expect to find at its end? Why is it always brighter at the periphery?

All answers should be given in jewels, Lieder (or, when appropriate, microLieder), inchworms, or Sehnsucht per square minute; whichever you found most of outside your window on the morning that the question first became pressing. You may not use a calculator.

Featured image: “Long Wave” by Alfred Hermida, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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2 Responses to “Spring Math Test”

  1. 1. the flight produces the circles.

    2.dirt is best, it completes its own circle. it is both highest and lowest in hierarchy.

    3.each bird is the keystone of his own universe. when he bobs, it is the branch that moves in response to him. when he flies, he moves sky and earth like a man’s thumb in a phone index.

    4. 23

    5. because the human desire to hold on to the appearance of the eternal in the temporal gives staying power to an image we wish to remember, which is our only way of overcoming death.

    6. i fail. i don’t expect to find anything there. but the periphery is brighter because parabolas lift our eyes upward and they reflect the rays of the sun with more than oriental splendor.

    Posted by Sarah Breisch | May 28, 2014, 4:06 pm
  2. 1. No, the circles would have to be imperfect, interrupted by the difference between desire and hope.

    2. *looks over Sarah Breisch’s shoulder, copies her answer*

    3. Frames of reference are founded and claimed by love, and held open by a continuously unfolding beauty, like the bed in an aubade.

    4. One measure of “Die Forelle.” (The second half of a cadence, without the first)

    5. I never noticed that.

    6. More parabolas. The periphery is the home of all the unrealized and unrealizable possibilities that enrich our existence, precisely because they cannot be integrated with it.

    Posted by grubby | May 29, 2014, 1:24 pm

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The Grackle is a production of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Imagine Dallas Literary Arts, Inc.