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Showing posts from June, 2012

The poetry of mathematics

Carl Sandburg writes powerful, energising poetry. His peon of love to Chicago explodes with the vibrancy of that wonderful city. One of my favourites is his entertaining Arithmetic in which he muses on this confusing topic. The images of numbers as flying pigeons is one which will return to you again and again.
When reading this poem, pay attention to the pauses and vary the pace for additional confusion!

For anyone who struggled through those hideous O level questions about walking a mile in one direction, turning 45 degrees and then walking another mile, this is for you!

Arithmetic - Carl Sandburg


Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
head.
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven — or five
six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is wher…