Math Poetry

From time to time I have been inspired to write poetry (or something vaguely like it) about mathematics.  I have no idea why.  Most of it is supposed to be funny, but there is one serious one.  See if you can tell which is which.


A subject with a lot of plusses, has to do with abacusses:
Calculating e and π upon the beads of abaci.

The naming game is lots of fun, especially when there's more than one
The choices may be stated thus: to abaci or abacus.


Math Anxiety Treatment

Proof and theorem: don't fear 'em.


A Lambda Slaughter (A Lambda's Laughter)

Mary had a little lamb-da, curled and curved for show.
And every where that lambda went, the math came out just so.

It followed her to calculus with multiplier rules,
which show the way to optimize as in Lagrange's school.

In matrix class it proved itself to be a trusty pal, whose
assistance could be counted on for writing eigenvalues.

So keep an eye on Mary's friend - its uses transcend measure.
Beyond a doubt her lambda is a character to treasure.

Cause and Effect
To my students it's anathematical
To study anything mathematical.  
I want to go on a sabbatical.

Teacher's Gift
Confined you are, have always been,
by bonds unfelt and bars unseen.

But not so I, I soar on wings
of thought.  And thinking, dream these things:
two worlds made one yet ever two
apart; a labrynth traced clear through
from end to end; a tone more pure
than Circe's voice; a keep secure
from even time's travail; a bright-
ness that confers the pain of sight
so keen it pierces to the heart.
To this and more am I conveyed.

Come, break those chains.  Take up the blade
by Euclid forged, and polished since
by ev'ry soul who  saw it's  glint
in reason's fire, and passed from hand
to hand down all the age of man
until at last here now we two.
Hold out your hand.  I give it you.

Your fetters can't withstand its aim,
For Mathematics is its name.   

Ode to a Triangular Matrix

Oh, thou three corner array,  noblest of matrices:
Thy divine figure reveals itself
reflected in multiple zeros
exclaiming your secrets in proud display.
Where the common matrix guards its determinant
as a potent talisman
never to be revealed,
save after careful incantation,
 arcane mutterings,
 unending and errorless calculation,
You, oh forthright soul of linearity
requiring merely a show of sincerity,
 a token computation,
willingly exhibit your psyche's key elements
 worn in a bold slash,
 yea, a sash,
and whose product, your determinant
 is offered for our edification.
The chaotic matrix
whose aspect  is disordered
has at its core,
its very kernel,
a confused maze of conflicting directions.
Lest we come to know its true
meaning, worth,  rank,
it hides this kernel from our sight,
misleading and confusing us,
annihilating enemies in secret alleyways
and under cover of night.
But you, three sided paragon,
disdain such rank duplicity;
declaim your true intentions;
show every multiplicity
the measure of your heart, your soul,
your innermost dimensions.
And there is no mistake about the values that you hold.
With characteristic candor that is striking to behold,
and without undue modesty, your honesty is tangible:
your values worn for all to see with pride on your diagonal.
And you and all your fellows faithful ever do remain
you multiply together and your offspring are the same,
and in all your combinations, too, your virtues are unchanged.
Indeed, you are a model for the race of matrix kind,
In simple fact,
In artful grace,
In guileless art,
In graceful form,
You show this humble student all that he could hope to find.

More Poetry
If  that is not enough, you can click here for two more of my poems of a non-mathematical character.