Thursday, March 3, 2016

Robert Lee Haycock writes

of totems and drums

Totem to be lowered
Drum to be raised
Ironwood both
No thing can be this heavy
No stone
No world
No sin
No room for Archimedes nor any machine
The work of hands and backs and legs and hearts
And mine burn o how they burn
Failure is no option lest my partner die
 archimedes.jpg (12407 bytes)
"Archimedes" -- Tim Hunkin


  1. There is no "ironwood" as such; but the term is applied to a wide variety of species that have a reputation for hardness. "Totem" derives from the Algonquian (most likely Ojibwe) word "odoodem" ("his kinship group"), but the the concept itself is widespread -- a totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe. Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved on poles, posts, or pillars made from large rot-resistant trees, mostly Thuja plicata (western red cedar), by Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), Bella Coola, Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) and other indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Due to the lack of efficient carving tools and sufficient wealth and leisure time to devote to the craft, they probably did not appear in large numbers until the late 18th or early 19th century. Carvings of animals and other characters typically represent characters or events in a story; they may recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events, but they may also serve as functional architectural features, welcome signs for village visitors, mortuary vessels for the remains of deceased ancestors, or as a means to publicly ridicule someone, but they were never objects of worship. Archimedes of Syracuse was a 3rd BCE mathematician and scientist who anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola; he derived an accurate approximation of pi, and created a system using exponentiation to express large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. Syracuse was a self-governing colony in Magna Graecia,and Archimedes designed innovative defensive machines against Roman assault, including a crane-like arm with a grappling hook that would lift an enemy ship out of the water and perhaps an array of highly polished bronze or copper shields acting as parabolic reflectors mirrors to focus sunlight onto a ship and set it on fire. After a two-year siege, Marcus Claudius Marcellus captured the city; he considered him "a geometrical Briareus" (a hundred-handed, fifty-headed giant of giant of incredible strength) and ordered that he not be harmed, but when the city fell a soldier ordered him to present himself to Marcellus. Archimedes demurred, saying he was working on a mathematical diagram, and the soldier killed him out of rage or perhaps because he believed his instruments were valuable loot. His last words were, "Do not disturb my circles."

  2. "Archimedes" is at the entrance of the Eureka children's museum in Halifax. Tim Hunkin made the sculpture from copper from old hot water cylinders. Hunkin is an English engineer/artist/cartoonist who is well-known for his unconventional, gigantic clocks, but he In also designed the flying pigs and sheep for Pink Floyd's "In The Flesh" tour in 1976, promoting their "Animals" album.


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