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Topology: the Mystery Math

Kelly Morley, St. Hilda's College (with apologies to T. S. Elliot)

Topology's a Mystery Math; the strangest you will find
For it's a very difficult thing which will defy your mind.
It's the bafflement of Hildas', the Invariants' despair
For when we try and do some maths — Topology's in there!

Topology, topology, there's nothing like Topology
It even affects those students of Maths and Philosophy.
It's powers of confusion would make a tutor stare
For when you try and do some maths — Topology's in there!
You may hide within the library, you may look up in the air
But I tell you once and once again — there's Topology in there!

Topology's impossible, you can never win
You would know it if you saw it, for it does your head right in.
Your brow is deeply lined with thought, you know not what it's about
"How the Hell do I do this?" you want to scream and shout,
It's getting pretty frustrating now, you dont know how much more you can take
And when you want to go to sleep, it'll keep you wide-awake.

Topology, Topology, there's nothing like Topology
For it's a fiend in abstract form, a little like geometry.
You may achieve a torus, by manipulating a square
But when a proof's discovered, then Topology's in there!

It's outwardly alright (How hard can it be?)
But when a deadline's coming up then a panic you will see.
And when the library's looted, or your notes have been rifled
Or the hint you need is missing, or another mathsboy's been stifled,
Or your iron will's been broken, your sanity past repair.
No need to explain a thing — Topology's in there.

And when the examiners write the examination
Before the students condemn themselves to an eternal damnation
There are whispers of hope in the hall or on the stair
But it's useless to avoid the conclusion — Topology's in there!
And when our failures been disclosed, all the tutors say:
"It must have been the Topology!" — but they like it anyway.
Youll be sure to find the students resting, their hopes and dreams all sunk
Or down the bar drinking gin, getting very drunk.

Topology, Topology, there's nothing like Topology.
There never was such a math that made you rethink your ideology
There are many proofs to learn, and one or two to spare
And in every book I did look — TOPOLOGY WAS IN THERE!
And they say that all the maths whose wickedness are widely braved
(I might mention analysis, complex or functional they're both quite depraved)
Are nothing more than agents for the mystery, you can hear its laughs,
Which controls their operation: the Napoleon of Maths!