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beginning with zero

by Betania Tesch

Zero is a number,
he says.
Yes, she admits,
but not a whole number.
And I think
it's not so much a number
as the idea of a number,
a gaping, round mouth,
open and hungry,
a goose egg
a warm knowledge stirring within
on the verge of being hatched
into a little one.
No, he insists,
zero is the first number.
Well, she replies,
it does come before the other numbers.
And I think
zero is the possibility,
an oval ova
waiting for fertilization,
a bodiless theory
whose strength comes from
the believers,
the necessary nothing
that evolves into something
with the collision of
zero-shaped nuclei.

Zero is not a number.
It is the numbers' god,
that which existed before
they could be imagined,
the father-mother animal
possessing naught but instincts,
knowing only the singular desire
to create.

01/14/2003

Author's Note: from my 7 year old brother...in his infinite wisdom.

Posted on 01/14/2003
Copyright © 2020 Betania Tesch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Bethany Lee on 01/15/03 at 10:50 PM

first comes..."it's not so much a number as the idea of a number," and i nod my head in agreement. then last but not least arrives..."Zero is not a number. It is the numbers' god, that which existed before they could be imagined, the father-mother animal possessing naught but instincts, knowing only the singular desire to create." and my body leaps into the air, and i am elated! lovely, dear.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 02/03/03 at 05:44 PM

Brilliant, Bethany. You god you... creating something quite beautiful from nothing. You demonstrate the possibilities in poetry. Zero... half of the digital age.

Posted by Agnes Eva on 04/06/03 at 04:50 AM

a delight for closet math lovers! you certainly let the chicken know he wasn't first

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 05/08/03 at 01:18 AM

Yes,'a warm knowledge stirring within on the verge of being hatched'. Zero is NOTHING from where emerges a thing called SOMETHING.IT IS always pregnant with WHAT SHOULD BE.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 05/08/03 at 01:54 PM

A most singular poetic commentary on the zero. God did create out of nothing. Congratulations on POTD.

Posted by Lauren Singer on 05/08/03 at 07:25 PM

congrats on POTD. i love it when poems make me think for a long time. i like this

Posted by Anita Mac on 05/09/03 at 02:47 AM

Wonderful. I tend to agree with her.

Posted by Aaron Howard on 06/27/03 at 09:01 AM

I love this.. I love the point it proves in it's optimisim.. great work!

Posted by Jolie Jordan on 08/27/03 at 03:08 AM

This is quite a interesting perspective, I like it.. I like it alot.

Posted by Laura Doom on 05/28/07 at 06:03 PM

2003 must have been a vintage year - another from the 'most read' list - nothing surpasses it...well, you know what I'm saying :)

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