It’s the shortest distance between two points –
a straight line.
Running from here to there
connecting a beginning and an end
with every point between.
Short or long, thick or thin
in, some might say, the very opposite of poetry.
When the ends of straight lines meet,
first an angle, then shapes with sides appear –
like triangles and squares, and all sorts of polyhedrons.
Straight lines thus pair naturally
with geometry, and with material constructions –
they map dimensions, provide a grid
and in a curved world, they get things done.
Straight lines shape the basics of mathematics
by crossing at perpendiculars to add up
and at diagonals to multiply.
Straddled by two dots, they diminish, by division.
Two straight lines, lying side by side, signal equals,
whereas one straight line in the middle
If a straight line slopes, there’s a delta,
but if the loose end turns in space-time
a circle will appear, or a wheel, or an orbit –
those two ends will never meet.
Such movement is always relative.
Straight lines ready the blank page
capitalise the alphabet
make a dash for meaning
and turn a full stop into an exclamation.
They pitch music, on staves and leger lines.
Whichever way you look at it,
they shape a poem.
Sometimes, straight lines reveal themselves –
as the crow flies
at the journey’s end
with the spirit level,
or as those magical horizons
between the deep blue sea and the wide blue sky –
or in the mind’s eye,
as that invisible axis
around which the world spins.
- 97: PROPAGANDASUBMIT NOW with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill & J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones