Looking at Love Lost

We were made for each other
Of that I had no doubt
Held close in a cozy subset
That kept all others out

We meshed in orderly fashion
My odd to your even
An integer partnership
Something we both could believe in

We counted by twos and fives
Enjoying addition and subtraction
Multiplication was fun
But tension at division became action

You started talking to letters
And then with them held hands
You said it was my imagination
But you cancelled all my plans

When I had a problem
You said it was easy to solve
Add an imaginary number
And let my mind evolve

Differential equations
Is where I drew the line
But by then you were tripping
With tangent and cosine

Then I knew you were evil
That was the final straw
You had killed all my love
Taken up with physics rule of law

This is for the second prompt in the NPM21 scavenger hunt – write a poem about lost love. It was my sophomore year of High School when my love for mathematics started to die. I was taking trigonometry and geometry and just couldn’t get a grasp of the what and why for. By the time I was in college and taking calculus I knew for certain that all love was dead. I felt betrayed by numbers. Math had started taking drugs. It was into imaginary numbers like i and into strange signs and symbols. Without so much as a goodbye, my love ran off into the night. It took many years before I could think of math without sorrow and anger. Today we are passing acquaintances – civil and polite but never an ounce of love.

42 thoughts on “Looking at Love Lost

  1. Trigonometry is the reason I’m not a high school math teacher. I suspect there was something about the way it was taught to us at the time.
    We’re a little less unfriendly now.
    Cute interpretation for your love lost poem. Fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Carrie! Trig was easy but geometry just didn’t make any sense. I was mystified by proofs. I could memorize all the theorems and postulates but putting them together in any way to make sense – just didn’t happen….

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    1. I wish I had taken an alternative instead. My course of study required the math – probably to weed out people. I survived, barely, and managed to live well despite my numerical struggles….

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  2. I really like it~! Numbers came easy for me and I spent a lot of my life dealing with them, that is why god gave us ten fingers. My question is did you get his number, of did he get yours. Maybe same advice I just gave Judy on the same subject…Now if I could just get that income tax done.

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  3. Wow. Thank goodness you gave me an explanation; I thought it was metaphorical and started to get dizzy! 😉
    ok, I’m going to re-read it…well done!

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    1. I know exactly what you went through. My father was a math teacher (HS) before becoming a computer programmer. I would sit at the kitchen table and he would get so frustrated that I couldn’t grasp geometry. I’d be crying and no matter how he explained it, I just didn’t get it. I think it was as hard on him as it was on me… Fortunately my youngest sister is a math whiz and redeemed the family name! Of course her hand writing was atrocious and I was doing calligraphy! Everyone had strengths and weaknesses!

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  4. Ah…I think I’ve told you I have discalcula which made math really challenging since I would invariably write them wrong on my homework, moving them around without being able to see that I had. When I got to algebra, life began to hurt (as your poem alludes). Then the day came my algebra teacher (a visiting teacher from England) said, “We’ll being imaginary numbers on Monday.” I started to cry, right there in class. Up till then, I had understood how to solve every problem but I never ever got the right answer. My teacher said, “What’s wrong, Martha? Do you need to see the nurse?” I said, “No. I can’t even get the right answer with real numbers. How will I manage imaginary ones?”

    He felt really sorry for me and passed me through the grace of his generous heart. I was in my 40s before I understood that the small letter i stood for “imaginary” and wasn’t (as in Spanish) an upside-down exclamation point.

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    1. Yep I feel you. I can add but subtraction requires intense concentration… I didn’t discover (was never taught) that multiplication was just addition until I was out of college… Of course then it all made sense! I shed many tears over geometry and later calculus. I must have missed the dyscalculia discussion. Of course I think I might share your malady to a slight degree! (never had a name for it!)

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  5. Well done, Muri. I’m not a fan of advanced maths either; I have no idea what practical application such calculations would have. And I’m glad I’m not the only one to bend a love poem prompt into a diatribe with an object that’s something other than a person.
    I was intrigued by this prompt: “Write a poem incorporating your favorite beverage, an automotive malfunction, and basketball.” I wondered how short a poem I could write including these elements. The next day, hubby left the lights on after driving the VW Bus and killed the battery. Again. So we borrowed the neighbor’s trickle charger, which works well, but incredibly slowly. Which inspired a Haiku that fit all your criteria.

    RESURRECTION

    Current dribbles from
    charger to dead battery,
    like morning coffee

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    1. Ah ha! I love your haiku!! I have been know to quote Barbie “Math is hard”. Of course there was such a backlash from the STEM folks because Barbie was perpetuating the stereotype. Mattel recalled that particular talking Barbie but most of the collectors were not about to relinquish their dolls – so contraband Barbie is still out there saying math is hard!!

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  6. Whoaaaa i didint expect it but i love it so much…goodness gracious, my love affair with math was horrible as a thunderstom roaring in the middle of the night scaring every sleeping soul.

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  7. For those of us who love words but find math challenging, the difference between success and failure is all in the quality of the teacher. That said, a parent probably isn’t the best teacher no matter how excellent he/she is at the craft.

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    1. Hehe! I have to agree – My father was wonderful but he didn’t love teaching and his patience was rather thin… I had some wonderful teachers and some awful ones too. I doubt any teacher would have been able to make geometry make sense.

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  8. Hahahaha ditched Mathematics for Physics. I enjoyed reading the tangent and cosine. Also the following lines:
    ‘My odd to your even
    An integer partnership’ amazing.

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  9. I took pre-calculus in 11th grade and basically failed the class. The teacher had pity on me and didn’t fail me because he knew I was coming for extra help and trying ut I just couldn’t grasp it. In college I was majoring in Computer Science and Calculus was a requirement. I bought the textbook and the answer guide and was determined to figure it out, but it was no good. I had to change my major because I couldn’t grasp it.

    Otherwise, I can add in my head faster than most people can use a calculator. So I feel your pain. Math is easy until it isn’t.

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    1. Yikes! I’m so sorry you changed majors – the colleges still use calculus as a “quality control” course to weed out students that they deem not worthy. With calculus it is most often women who are weeded out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s silly because there was nothing in the programming I coudn’t handle. I finished every other course but that one with no problem. I took a degree one step lower than computer science and still had all the same basic knowledge but couldn’t ask for as much $$$$

        You got me thinking though, if that was done on purpose and having to do with income inequality between men and women.

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        1. I have no hard proof but it is my belief that many of the required courses are designed to weed out a specific segment of students – and women in math, physics and engineering are certainly targeted…

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for the link! It wasn’t Trig that tripped me up but Geometry! I struggled to make sense of it all. I do have to say my teacher was very helpful and generous with the grading so I passed the class. My sister got all the math genes and is a retired middle school math teacher….

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