Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Lure of Symmetry



Things that are not symmetrical
May have their own appeal,
But a deep-down need for symmetry
Is something we all feel.
The perfection of these flowers
Lies in their replication,
A balance that is natural,
A botanic multiplication.
This is enhanced by the varied pinks,
The pale inside the dark;
With the small green central button
As a punctuation mark.
These flowers are actinomorphic,
They show radial symmetry;
Everything's repeated 
With regularity.
Mandelbrot knew all about it,
And even our limbs obey
Nature's law of duality,
In a biological way.
And symmetrical faces please us;
Think of those well-placed eyes,
Lips that are evenly curvy......
Hear the besotted sighs.
But we, the asymmetrical,
Need not sulk or brood for hours;
Even those distinctly flawed
Can enjoy the pretty flowers.


I'd been two years teaching in the bush and I fancied the bright lights;
Somewhere with a bit of life and sophisticated nights.
I'd left London and its bustle to live a different way,
Somewhere in the sunshine; I couldn't wait to get away.
And my two years in Rhodesia had been pleasant, as a rule,
But a teacher in her twenties chafes, living in a boarding-school.
Bulawayo, compared with London, was a hick-town, that is true,
But the weather was perfection; the sky a continuous blue.
And the city had a friendly air, with lots of bonhomie.
The Africans were happy, or at least they seemed to be.
In all my years in Africa I never saw dissension;
I never walked the evening streets with any apprehension.
Bulawayo means 'place of the killing' but this never seemed to fit;
The Wars had happened long ago and that was the end of it.
There was NO APARTHEID! Although  true 'equality'
Was something not considered by silly girls like me!
I lived at a lovely guest-house called 'Banff Lodge', a pleasant spot,
Where all the guests were white, but a cosmopolitan lot.
As a teacher I taught children who had white, but not black, skins,
And never questioned how things were; that's how prejudice begins.
Today things are less happy in the land that I once knew
And hope against hope Zimbabwean dreams will, one day soon, come true.
I offer some shots of the city and I hope that you'll agree
That Bulawayo, Matabeleland, was a pleasant place to be.


This little girl (the same height as me though only eleven!) won my Public Speaking contest on Thursday. Her name is Martha and her Mother took this photo and emailed it to me. Unfortunately, my computer couldn't cope with the format it came in so I just photographed my computer screen; hence the wavy lines.

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