Sunday, May 30, 2010

Poetry Stretch Results - By the Numbers

The challenge this week was to write some mathematically inclined poetry. Here are the results.
By Steven Withrow of Crackles of Speech

One she wore on Sunday mornings
strolling with a friend.
Two she took on pleasant outings
by the river bend.
Three she kept for secret errands
prowling in the dark.
Four she hid beneath a bush
beside the city park.
Five she dressed in scarlet ribbons
meant to catch the eye
Of chickadee or meadow mouse
or bashful butterfly.
Six she bought on market day
and paid a level price.
Seven tagged along behind
against her own advice.
Eight she gambled and she lost
in midnight games of chance.
Nine she broke while practicing
a whirling-dervish dance.
Ten she groomed to gleaming black
until her tongue turned red.
Eleven she abandoned
for a buttered crust of bread.
Twelve she had inherited
at birth with regal pride.
She curled it close upon her breast
and wore it when she died.

© 2010 Steven Withrow. All rights reserved

Four Leaf Clover
by Amy LV of The Poem Farm

We hunted on our knees in clover
running our fingers through grass
trying to find four leaves
in a green sea of threes.
My little sister turned her back
took two clovers
ripped one leaf from each
twisted both stems together
and called, “Look I found one!”
I used to do that
so I almost told her it wasn’t real
not a real lucky clover.
But then
I remembered how Grandpa says
"You make your own luck."
I gave my little sister a thumbs up
and she smiled.

© Amy LV

Proper Fractions
by Kate Coombs of Book Aunt

Whole numbers endlessly march up the line,
their long journey never is done.
But fractions stay home to slice up the space
that lies between 0 and 1.

The whole numbers always add units:
plus one and plus one and plus one.
The fractions divide it, then use only part,
for some reason, they think that's fun.

A fraction may cut up the unit
like a pizza into six, eight, or four.
Still, the work's microscopic: a fraction can cut
that one into a billion or more.

The fractions look sadly restricted,
as they slice and re-slice the same space.
Yet they can divide it in infinite ways,
though the fractions seem stuck in one place.

Oh, the whole numbers grab our attention
with their soldierly march up the line.
But there in the space between 0 and 1
the fraction world plays with design.

--Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved

by Diane Mayr of Random Noodling

One little bee seeing an apple under a tree,
flew back to the hive as quickly as could be.

Two curious bees seeing the first bee's dance,
flew away from the hive at the very first chance.

They scouted around, then flew back home,
alerting three more at the honeycomb.

Four hungry bees who just couldn't wait,
flew off to the apple tree and ate and ate.

They ate and ate and ate some more,
and the last five bees got nothing but the core.

Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

by Violet Nesdoly

The number pathways
in my brain
are grown over
with words

Mental machete’s
what I need
to clear the nouns
and verbs

And make again
a traffic trail
for all those

© 2010 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

Number Facts
By Liz Korba of

IMAGINARY numbers!
Do they vanish in thin air?
My teacher says in sixth grade math -
“Just know that they are there.”

I did a little Google search -
According to one text
REAL numbers and IMAGINED ones
Create what’s called COMPLEX.

IRRATIONALS struck me this way
Since they’re so very long,
But they’re still REAL though they won’t stop
(I’m shocked that I was wrong.)

The NATURALS I understand -
To order and to count.
And NEGATIVES make sense to me –
Alas, my bank account!

And NATURALS with “OH”
A most important number
They discovered long ago.

Its other name is ZERO
Somehow EVEN – with no leaning
Divide with – there’s “no meaning.”

Which leads me to the “number”
That I read about today
It’s NaN – that’s “NOT A NUMBER”
And it’s quiet – so they say.

Ten digits should be simple
(Though INFINITY’s a lot.)
I fear I don’t KNOW numbers
Be that RATIONAL or not.
It's not too late if you still want to play. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll add it to the list.