After H.D.’s Sea Rose

Yellow, safety yellow,
embedded and with grid of bubbles,
landing mat, anti-slip,
hard of wearing,

more present-to-hand
than a handrail
running down stairs—
you are just lying there.

Rectangular, with three squares,
you are engaged in the concrete,
you are recessed
in the figure-hugging matwell
that eliminates trip hazard.

Can the yellow rose
fulfil such well-wishes
secured in a walkway?

Link to H.D.’s Sea Rose <<< there.

On The Sorites Paradox

The Sorites Paradox is not a paradox, for
“The predicate must be true of the first value in the series
and false of the last.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites Paradox)

But the first premise of a Sorites series for HEAPS is always false
since all bodies are extended, and all extended bodies are heaps.
Therefore, one grain of sand–or rice,wheat,etc.,–DOES make a heap,
and one million grains DON’T make a heap.
One million grains make one million heaps.

Furthermore, no heap will ever be transformed into a non-heap.
Firstly, a non-heap is an impossible configuration for an extended body.
Reduce it to a collection of atoms, or reduce it further if you like;
each part will retain its property of heapness.
Secondly, as each heap is removed from the heaps around it,
those heaps are merely relocated.


The Sorites Paradox is not a paradox either, for
a man with no hair is not bald; he is follicly challenged.
But all men are follicly challenged, heaps of hair or not!
Any man who thinks all men are not follicly challenged
must think all men are immortal.


To use blueness to demonstrate a Sorites Paradox
is to use a red herring,
since Blueness has nothing of Heapness
–whether blueness is a property of that which is blue
or imposed by the mind that observes it–
and the Sorites Paradox is, by defintion,
strictly a paradox of heapness,
though as we have seen it’s not really a paradox at all.


The vagueness of the word HEAP remains.
One heap of rice could be big-grained or small-grained,
or a million heaps wide, deep, and tall.
But it is not the vagueness that undermines the paradox.
It is the falsity of the first premise in the series
that brings the whole paradox sideslipping down.

Note: If my argument has convinced me at rhetorical and entertainment levels,
I believe the real point of the paradox is to solve it for a formal logician.
Sad to say formal logic is not in my toolkit as yet.

Paradox of the Slug and Some Vagaries

One road toll hike per quarter at 1% compounding
   doesn’t make a slug—
that is to say, one toll road user paying hikes of (1 + 0.04/4) ^ (4*1)
   doesn’t take a slug.
If one (1 + 0.04/4) ^ (4*1) road toll hike
   doesn’t slug a wallet,
then one toll road operator taking (1 + 0.04/4) ^ (4*2) thru (4*30)
   doesn’t rake a slug.
There are two kinds of criminal in most creative circles:
Those who counterfeit the coin, and those who fake a slug.
In 30 years from now I like to think I’ve laid a claim
to posterity–a pointy stick with which to stake a slug;
but the best a man can hope for is a wobble
in reality with which to shake a slug.

No Single Cause: A Response Poem

The Call

“The word ‘earthquake’ in Padaung literally means ‘the shaking of the dead’ — one of the two things we believe cause the tremors of the earth, the other being the stirrings of the big fish that guards ‘the drum of desire’. I was more frightened by the idea that the dead were shaking our house than by the movements of the fish. I used to have arguments with my friends and my brother Peter about whether earthquakes were caused by the dead or the fish.”
   Pascal Khoo Thwe: From The Land Of Green Ghosts

The Response

The earth trembled for the dead
had all at once turned in their graves
when they heard the big fish
watching over the drum
of desire had stirred
up more rumours about them.