There’s Math in Poetry and Poetry in Math
By Riley, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, assisted by Martha Sessums, ACE President, using a box of antiseptic wipes to clean paw prints off her keyboard
Math is everywhere, even in poetry.
To write some types of poems, they have to have a specific count per line. Haiku is a perfect example of that: three lines – the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables and the third line is back to five syllables. You don’t follow that and it’s not traditional Haiku. Yes, untraditional Haiku is written, but there are still style rules.
Then there are cinquains, or five-lined poems that are inspired by Haiku. Lots of variations in terms of style (one is even called a butterfly cinquain) but it must be five lines. (Martha says “cinq” means five in French. She studies French so she probably knows that.) Lucy likes to count the five toes on her foot, so that’s one line per toe.
Sonnets are 14-lined poems written in iambic pentameter, which is one short syllable word followed by a longer syllable word. It’s like John when he carefully steps around the mess on the floor I made when I knocked over Lucy’s dinner place – one step, two step. For example:
In learning, the computer is ultimate
Dogs’ ultimate is getting an embrace
Well, probably no embrace for me after I knocked over Lucy’s dinner.
But there’s poetry in math too. It must feel good to get that algebra problem correct ‘cause you followed the rules. Multiply the factors, group like terms then add up what ya got. Okay, it’s hard the first few times, but with practice the process makes sense and can be fun. Like Haiku – 5-7-5.
It’s time for a doggerel poem about math. I chose geometry because I like my own space, but Lucy always invades it and I have to share it. You know, cut the space in half or even in quarters. That’s okay. Lucy is the best to share with. Well, John too.
The Geometry Around Us
The rectangle of your mobile phone screens
The point of your finger on the screen
The area of our room we sit in for distance learning
The distance between you and learning
The rows of squares full of friend faces on the screen
The parabolas of smiles on those faces
The triangles found in a window if sliced on a diagonal
The circular buttons on the TV remote
The two of us, the only even prime number
The polygon of family standing against at least three different walls
The touch of the right angle where the walls meet
The cylinder of the can of dog food opened for dinner
The rhombus of the baseball diamond
Where we’ll run and play after this corona is gone
Stay safe. Keep doing distance learning. And treat yourself to a poem.