Guest Poem by Beth Junor

Beth is a Scottish poet and gallerist. She edited and introduced the letters of Valda Grieve, wife of the poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and co-edited an anthology of poems from wars. Her first poetry collection, ‘A Full Moon Cycle’, was published by Diehard. She worked as a highly specialist speech & language therapist with children with autism and the people in their environments. She is enjoying making short films about art and poetry for her fledgling YouTube channel. Instagram: @junorgallery Photo: Stephen Gibson. This poem is from Acumen 109.


i.m. Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), mathematician

Don’t be afraid. Like the first brushstroke
of the Mona Lisa, it begins simply enough.

The partition of three is three,
the partition of four is five.

Meaning, you can arrive at three in three
different ways and end up with four in five.

Ramanujan took partitions farther and farther
into the labyrinth of his genius, unveiling new truths.

The partition of a country of three hundred and ninety
million souls is injury, individual, incalculable.

There are some words we have
not left in peace to evoke beauty alone.