Love and Pi is the first poem in the ‘Anatomy’ collection and it’s the poem in the collection with the longest history.
The idea first started rolling around when I was a teacher over 10 years ago. I was listening to a lunchtime conversation between maths teachers who were having a moment to appreciate the number pi. One teacher was expressing their admiration for the relationship between the simplest of shapes, a circle, and the most complicated, irrational, never ending numbers, pi. They saw it as evidence of order among the chaos of this world.
Many years later, I was asked to present a short talk at the church I was an assistant minister at on the theme of ‘love much’. That’s when the idea of connecting love and pi really happened for me. It’s very difficult to capture the tension talking to people about love. How do you capture the complexities of human relationships and the simplicities of needing to say ‘well, just love people’? A metaphor with love and pi seemed like a neat way of doing that.
After the talk, a friend suggested I should convert what I had said into an article, but instead I changed it into a poem.
Love and Pi was not intended at first to go into ‘Anatomy’, although my sister told me that I had to do something good with it. It made it into the collection after the first draft because I felt I needed something like an overture to introduce the marriage between the husband and wife. I feel like it also helps by starting to open up the key questions of Anatomy. What does it mean to know someone in marriage when knowing goes on forever? Can marriage be a place of security which builds a foundation for freedom? How do abstracts get experienced in everyday domestic life?
To really give Love and Pi the best treatment I could, I made the video above for it. The video was made by creating over 1400 individual frames using the GIMP image editor program over the summer.