Friday, February 20, 2009

Poetry Friday - Numbers

I am teaching math this semester and can't get away from numbers. I think about them all the time. Wait! Don't go. I know you're here looking for a poetry entry, but I promise, that's exactly what I have!
by Mary Cornish

I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.

I like the domesticity of addition--
add two cups of milk and stir--

Read the poem in its entirety.
The round up is being hosted by Cuileann at The Holly and the Ivy. Do stop by and take in all the great poems being shared. Before you go, be sure to check out the SIJO written for this week's poetry stretch.


  1. I adore Mary Cornish. Of course, she's my sister, so I'm not very objective. But her book RED STUDIO is just beautiful. If you find it, look for the poem "Hand Shadows."

  2. (She's YOUR SISTER, Julie? Really?)

    Okay, wow.
    I love this poem, too. I love numbers, even though math hasn't always been my friend, and I love the idea of division as Chinese take-out, OH, so very much.

  3. Julie - As I was posting this poem I thought her name sounded familiar. Now I know why? (But since the answer is part of my super secret project, I can't say!)

    You'll have to tell your sister I read this to my preservice teachers every semester!

  4. Math hasn't always been my friend either, but wow, what a great poem!!

    Your super secret project is getting me so excited!!

  5. Julie: two poets (at least) in your family. I can only imagine the day to day interchanges at your household when you were growing up together.

    Tricia: I don't have that strong tie to numbers that some people have, but I am intrigued by them. Love the poem.

    Subtraction is just addition somewhere else :)

  6. Cool poem...even if I lost my math skills after I had children! It seems I used to be good at math!

  7. Hi Julie, hi Mary. Both old friends.

    Here is one I have been working on today.

    This is the day
    To consider subtraction,
    The opposite of attraction
    Where two are drawn together
    In inevitable and enviable addition.
    Severance is what I am thinking about
    As my granddaughter’s boyfriend
    Was severed today from his job,
    His allowance, his work, his worth.
    We count forward, our lives are lived
    In addition, not subtraction.
    But this man-boy, this new subtractor,
    Has been hit by economies
    Not of his own making,
    And the world is subtracted from his universe,
    As the words
    Are slowly subtracted
    Till we are both broke and broken
    By the impossible mathematics
    That confront us.

  8. I have NO idea what that "hylead" at the end of my subtraction poem means nor how it got there. I certainly didn't put it there! I checked my original--nope not there.

    Ghosts,imps, trolls sending messages?


  9. after rading this poem, I may actually like math! :)

  10. Wow! There are actually benefits to being half a week late checking the PF roundup! Great math poem, two poets in one family, and an original by Jane Yolen. Rich stuff in your post and comments!!!!