Poetry: Max Is Missing | clivejames.com
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Max Is Missing

The stars are there as mathematics is,
The very there of nothing to be proved.

And so we say that theorems rely
On axioms or proof by the absurd.

The stars outshine the tenses, kings on plinths,
And each enigma of the numerate,

While all along our mathematicians fear
They’re stalking-horses of an abstract god,

And posit the suspicion there’s no room
For rich historic tit-bits in their space –

The big and little of it, shrunk or spun,
A million needle-points, a ‘Mono-Ange’.

Out of the corner of Philosophy’s eye
A Mathematician’s pinning on a post

Max is missing: ginger tabby cat
With white sabots – reward for his return

The government of integers will wait
While our researcher searches for his cat,

The stars be patient, God donate his time –
A theorem is for Christmas, but a cat

Is for forever. Come home, Maximus,
The magnets on the fridge are slipping down.

The page is Luddite quite as stars are bright,
A ball-point and a brain out-twinkle them.

Should stars know Max is missing, would they guess
How little he must miss them where he is?

(From Max Is Missing, 2001)