For MMPP Kim issued a prompt asking the question – “If math is a language, like music, can it be poem-ed? Math poem. Go.” So I was considering all the ways to approach this and though “What about a Fibonacci sequence poem?” Then Promisesunshine beat me to it. Not wanting to be a copy cat, I had to delve further and further into poetic forms and *gasp* mathematical theory. So there are rules and then there are theories about what is presumed to be the rules. In the world of science, mathematics, and (especially including) physics the rules are based on observation and deduction supported by calculations based on demonstrated laws. Over time these laws have been modified and sometimes radically changed. Are you still following? So the bottom line is that what is can become what was and replaced by a newer version of what we think (at the time) is truth.

I really do not want to open that can of worms and go spelunking through philosophy. So I’m going back to math. You see math and I have an uneasy truce. I won’t poke it and it promised not to poke me. Now the idea of a math poem brings me to the concept of an ekphrastic poem (another prompt). The strict interpretation of ekphrastic poetry is a descriptive poem of a physical work of art such as a Grecian urn (Thank you John Keats). But poets have never been ones to stick strictly to the rules. Which is why there are so few mathematician poets. So to bend the rules I will make the assumption that ekphrastic poetry can not only describe 2D and 3D arts (paintings and sculptures) but can include the feelings engendered by viewing said works. I would further theorize that the feelings can be transferred to the elegant and possibly the most artful of of mathematical fields – geometry and calculus.

Interval Exploration

The ends of my world
Are joined in a circle that is
Made of irrational values
Circular emotions spin in
An orbit making infinite
Revolutions within a
Circumscribed square
I am trying with all my
Strength to find the set
Of all numbers that are true
For my interval such that
The angles of my world
Are multiples of two
The solution for
My intersection
My circular soul
Which careens in a box
In the circle of reality
Is to multiply two by
Infinity
Which gives me the only
Answer
One.

For all of you who managed to get through that without having a mental collapse, I just want you to know how I’m feeling after finishing this prompt – yeah this…

31 thoughts on “Looking into the Mathematics of Poetry”

Is to multiply two by
Infinity
Which gives me the only
Answer
One. — I think this is probably genius. I haven’t had enough coffee yet to be sure. I actually love this poem. I’m going to need to read it more. Possibly again and again.
The other link is hilarious. I might need to watch that again and again.

Carrie, I’m thrilled you like this one so much (and it is a play on words if you can find it). Math is like skunk smell to me, I can do it but it is unpleasant. I avoid it if possible but when it comes down to the wire I can best the beast… The link made me laugh. Then feel guilty for laughing. Then I watched it over and over laughing and feeling guilty until I surrendered to mirth alone. Please enjoy…

I think you just blew my mind, Muri. I’m sensing “square peg, round hole” vibes here, or maybe the search for a constantly shifting truth. I don’t know if 2 x infinity = 1. The ending made me feel like, despite our efforts at connectedness, we travel thru the Cosmos alone. That Coke and Mentos thing was hilarious. I knew it was going to fizz like crazy, but I’ve never seen anyone try to “contain” it with their mouth. 🙂

Oh no! I thought I was the only one that was going to have a blown mind – or cerebral fizzing neti-pot cleanse! Thanks for letting me know that I made you ponder and question. As always the goal of poetry is to engage the mind and heart and to expand the soul…

well I think you covered every angle, the triangle and the rectangle … which truly bamboozled me! Leaving me quite hypothesised in that quadrangle of equations and subtractions … 😉

I’m tickled to see the word “bamboozled” in the same comment with triangle and rectangle! And it doesn’t end there! I’ve often felt that quadrangle is an apt substitution for “entangle in mathematical bramble”!

Well my dear daughter I think you take after your father! I do remember the struggle in third grade (I think it was) sitting at the kitchen table going over the new math which really puzzled me too. As I remember we were both close to tears before giving up. Your dad would be proud of you too. This poem is very very cerebral!

Nah. It was 2nd grade with new math – Mrs. Russell. It blew my mind and made me hate math. The 3rd grade problem was multiplication tables. I could memorize them but I didn’t understand. No one told me it was just addition. I found that out in HS but by then it was too late to make me like math. Of course in HS was that year in Southfield that just about made me want to drop out of school – Geometry/Trigonometry and I just couldn’t figure it out – it was one long story problem that didn’t make sense. Daddy and I sat at the kitchen table and I just cried in frustration… Glad you like this one!

As another who is mathematically-challenged, I see everything as either multiples of two, three, five or seven. If I can’t break it down using those numbers-out comes the calculator, and you may forget square and cube roots!

The calculator is my friend when doing complex functions. I can add pretty fast in my head from years of taking a census daily of the animals in my care – 5 cages/row, 5 rows/rack, 3 animals/cage. Then things changed and it was 7cages/row, 10 rows/rack, 2 sides/rack, and 5 animals/cage… It got pretty difficult until we went to barcodes….

Is to multiply two by

Infinity

Which gives me the only

Answer

One. — I think this is probably genius. I haven’t had enough coffee yet to be sure. I actually love this poem. I’m going to need to read it more. Possibly again and again.

The other link is hilarious. I might need to watch that again and again.

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Carrie, I’m thrilled you like this one so much (and it is a play on words if you can find it). Math is like skunk smell to me, I can do it but it is unpleasant. I avoid it if possible but when it comes down to the wire I can best the beast… The link made me laugh. Then feel guilty for laughing. Then I watched it over and over laughing and feeling guilty until I surrendered to mirth alone. Please enjoy…

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Wow. That was wonderful. I’ll be reading that one again, too! Lots of lovely treasures in there.

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Thanks Kim! I really worked hard for that one.

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I think you just blew my mind, Muri. I’m sensing “square peg, round hole” vibes here, or maybe the search for a constantly shifting truth. I don’t know if 2 x infinity = 1. The ending made me feel like, despite our efforts at connectedness, we travel thru the Cosmos alone. That Coke and Mentos thing was hilarious. I knew it was going to fizz like crazy, but I’ve never seen anyone try to “contain” it with their mouth. 🙂

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The closest I have come to a “math” poem was this attempt at describing shapes and angles of sunlight moving through my office on winter solstice:

GEOMETRY OF SOLSTICE

Feeble mid-morning light

pokes at the windowpane

casting upon the west wall

a tenuous parallelogram

It creeps down the futon,

brightening into a trapezoid

that hovers over the seat

warming the tartan fabric

It diminishes into a triangle,

that spills into a rhombus on

the tile, squaring its corners

as it nestles with the rear wall

By degree, the waning beams

push upward onto my desktop

wide stripes that loiter briefly,

then stretch infinitely thinner

threads melting into a sunset

beyond the window’s frame

gleams that salute the horizon

and disappear into the night

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Lovely descriptive geometric poetry! I think you should post it as part of the MMPP!!

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Oh no! I thought I was the only one that was going to have a blown mind – or cerebral fizzing neti-pot cleanse! Thanks for letting me know that I made you ponder and question. As always the goal of poetry is to engage the mind and heart and to expand the soul…

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I think you did a wonderful job. I liked it. Hope you have a awesome week.

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Thanks! It wasn’t an easy one to figure out. This week is looking to be a good one…

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Your welcome. Any poem would be hard to figure out for me.

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I think you are selling yourself short – with 3 books under your belt!

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I am just not a poet. I have trouble rhyming.

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Ha! Not a problem. Only a few forms of poems rhyme… many others do not!!

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Ok

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well I think you covered every angle, the triangle and the rectangle … which truly bamboozled me! Leaving me quite hypothesised in that quadrangle of equations and subtractions … 😉

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I’m tickled to see the word “bamboozled” in the same comment with triangle and rectangle! And it doesn’t end there! I’ve often felt that quadrangle is an apt substitution for “entangle in mathematical bramble”!

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lol you totally get me … I couldn’t resist such a daft comment to a silly poem … sorry clever poem!

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The poem has many layers – some simple, some silly and others very complex and deep… If we can’t have fun what’s the point?

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exactly and when it resonates we commenters have to join in, kinda unstoppable!

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Unstoppable! I love that description!

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Of course poetry can be enumerated and mathmetized

One Two Buckle my Shoe

Three Four Out the Door

See? Eezy Peezy.

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That is definitely a “math rhyme” – but you need to come up with something original!!

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First I was fifteen

Then I was sixteen

Pretty soon seventeen,

which was before eighteen

Which is when I learned

I was stupideen

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Oh ho! I read this one aloud to my husband and we both got a good laugh!!

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Well my dear daughter I think you take after your father! I do remember the struggle in third grade (I think it was) sitting at the kitchen table going over the new math which really puzzled me too. As I remember we were both close to tears before giving up. Your dad would be proud of you too. This poem is very very cerebral!

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Nah. It was 2nd grade with new math – Mrs. Russell. It blew my mind and made me hate math. The 3rd grade problem was multiplication tables. I could memorize them but I didn’t understand. No one told me it was just addition. I found that out in HS but by then it was too late to make me like math. Of course in HS was that year in Southfield that just about made me want to drop out of school – Geometry/Trigonometry and I just couldn’t figure it out – it was one long story problem that didn’t make sense. Daddy and I sat at the kitchen table and I just cried in frustration… Glad you like this one!

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Wonderful job. I don’t mind shapes, etc but math in general, I am not a fan of. 😉

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I know how you feel! Math is a necessary evil in my book.

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As another who is mathematically-challenged, I see everything as either multiples of two, three, five or seven. If I can’t break it down using those numbers-out comes the calculator, and you may forget square and cube roots!

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The calculator is my friend when doing complex functions. I can add pretty fast in my head from years of taking a census daily of the animals in my care – 5 cages/row, 5 rows/rack, 3 animals/cage. Then things changed and it was 7cages/row, 10 rows/rack, 2 sides/rack, and 5 animals/cage… It got pretty difficult until we went to barcodes….

LikeLiked by 1 person