To remind us of the profound kinship between number and the Earth, I begin with the mantra of the protagonist from the film Pi: Restate my assumptions:

Mathematics is the language of nature.

Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers.

If you graph the numbers of any system, patterns emerge.

Therefore, there are patterns everywhere in nature.


The cycling of disease epidemics.

The wax and wane of caribou populations.

Sun spot cycles.

The rise and fall of the Nile. (Aronofsky)

The protagonist would most likely agree with Theodore Roethke’s mantra, too, that “It is well to keep in touch with chaos” (192). I suggest, though, that one must go further. If we are to understand the protean energy bringing forth form, we must grapple with the (dis)order of fractals in/through/across mathematics, poetry, and the cosmos.