The Seven Bridges of Königsberg
Ah Königsberg, Ah Königsberg, how sweet thy bridges cross
the four land masses peacefully, but I admit, I’m at a loss.
How do I go on each bridge once and on each land mass too?
A puzzle, for which I have struggled so and now I have the flu.
...I’m a math major, not a poet...here’s a much better poem to introduce you to the Seven Bridges of Königsberg:
Like mice in mazes, locals scampered forth
and back, around and through the town, traversed
and re-traversed the central island, bent
on crossing each of seven bridges once
and only once.
You alone declined to join the briskly questing citizenry.
Knowing the elusive route would not
be found on foot, in chance meandering
(some providential Spaziergang)
you proceeded without stirring from
your chair to take a different sort of trip.
With pen and paper first you razed the place,
demolished houses, Marktplatz, terraces
and domes. You rid it of shrubbery and trees.
Walls fell. Cathedrals crumbled. Squirrels, ducks
and hedgehogs vanished. Not a lamppost was spared,
not a Denkmal stood. No cobblestone escaped
your ruthlessly obliterating hand.
And when you’d sheared away particulars,
trimmed Königsburg to the bone, you saw
a skein of penstrokes, luminous patterns
of points and lines, necessary sequences:
where trails of connecitivity led, and where
they failed, and why – no matter time or place,
terrain or weather.
Ineluctably you built and crossed a single, Ideal Bridge
to reach a quiet Kneiphof of the mind,
an island of essences. Stripped stark. Clean.
Bare bedrock of a new geometry.
The Königsberg Bridge Poem “Homage to Euler” by Judith Saunders
...Okay, so that wasn’t much better...sorry Ms. Saunders...Well let’s talk about the bridges of Königsberg. As the poem eluded to, Königsberg was a place that had a four different land masses and a seven bridges, arranged as shown below:
The people who lived there wanted to know if there was any way to start on one land mass, traverse each bridge exactly once, and end up on the same land mass you started on. Leonhard Euler took on the challenge. He drew points on each land mass and possible paths over each bridge: