Friday, May 22, 2009

Arithmetical Uproar

How can I praise the outrage Gödel brought?
Mathematics torn to baseless shreds;
Scholars tumbled from their tenured beds.
Professors, parsing propositions, sought
To mute conjecture, lest the farce they taught
Should pry them from their sherried Chairs. Threads
Of logic tore apart, and donnish dreads
Of fallacy convulsed the overwrought.

Yet, Gödel's thunder hides a healing theme
Within his proof that reason is inchoate.
He bears a bright reward that Hilbert's dream
Had failed to count—and all the wranglers know it:
Soul-devouring though the numbers seem,
Whole—and holy—worlds require the poet.