Found at Komplexify.com, a variety of (often-amusing) mathematical verses -- including a collection of Error Message Haiku. Approaching a New Year, I have been reflecting on my device-dependencies and considering resolutions about them -- and musing over some of these wistful substitutions for machine messages I dread:

A crash reduces

Your expensive computer

To a simple stone.

Chaos reigns within.

Reflect, repent, and reboot.

Order shall return.

## Monday, December 30, 2013

## Thursday, December 26, 2013

### The angel of numbers . . .

This poem by Hanns Cibulka (1920 - 2004) -- translated from the German by Ewald Osers -- is collected in the anthology,

—Rafael Alberti

*Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics*, edited by Sarah Glaz and me (A K Peters, 2008).**Mathematics**by Hanns Cibulka (trans. Ewald Osers)*And the angel of numbers**is flying**from 1 to 2...*—Rafael Alberti

## Monday, December 23, 2013

### Ah, you are a mathematician

Thanks to Arturo Sangalli of the Writer's Union of Canada -- and fellow-participant in a recent Banff creativity conference -- who reminded me of this poem. And thanks to Bill Dunham who has spread it widely by including it in

they say with admiration

or scorn.

*The Mathematical Universe*(Wiley, 1997). These brief stanzas were written in the early 1990s when many of us kept our financial facts in checkbooks rather than online; still current, however, is the mistaken image of mathematicians as those whose task it is to keep numbers clean and orderly.**Misunderstanding**by JoAnne Growney

**Ah, you are a mathematician,**they say with admiration

or scorn.

Labels:
Arturo Sangalli,
balance,
Christmas,
digits,
JoAnne Growney,
mathematical,
mathematician,
numbers,
pi,
William Dunham

## Friday, December 20, 2013

### Measuring Winter

Thomas Campion (1567-1620) was an English composer, physician, and poet. I found this poem at poetryfoundation.org.

Now winter nights enlarge

The number of their hours;

And clouds their storms discharge

Upon the airy towers.

**Now Winter Nights Enlarge**by Thomas CampionNow winter nights enlarge

The number of their hours;

And clouds their storms discharge

Upon the airy towers.

## Tuesday, December 17, 2013

### Sieve of Eratosthenes

**The Sieve of Eratosthenes**by Robin Chapman

He was an ancient Greek

looking for primes,

those whole numbers divisible

only by 1 and themselves,

those new arrivals on the block,

fresh additions to the stock

of indivisibles spilling through

future time (for what is time

## Saturday, December 14, 2013

### Amounting to Something

From the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of

You were supposed to do that

by saving yourself up

like coins in a pig rescued

just in time sometimes

from in front of the candy counter

or the desk in the corridor

*Poet Lore*, a poem by David Wagoner about the arithmetic of expectations:

**Amounting to Something**by David WagonerYou were supposed to do that

by saving yourself up

like coins in a pig rescued

just in time sometimes

from in front of the candy counter

or the desk in the corridor

Labels:
add,
amount,
calculation,
counting,
David Wagoner,
divide,
multiply,
questions,
subtract

## Wednesday, December 11, 2013

### 13 lads of Christmas

In addition to waterfalls and geysers and the Aurora, Iceland has outstanding museums. On the morning of December 10, I visited the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik -- and enjoyed a careful introduction to the history of this fascinating and friendly nation. Something I missed, however, was seeing one of the 13 Yuletide Lads that are an Icelandic tradition and who visit the Museum one-by-one on the 13 days before Christmas, each wearing
traditional costume and trying to pilfer the goodies he
likes best.

## Thursday, December 5, 2013

### Iceland -- poetry, stones

British translator and editor David McDuff blogs at "Nordic Voices in Print" -- a site that he uses as "a way of making some of my translations of Nordic poetry and prose available online." Here is "stones" -- the third of a group of ten poems he has posted by Icelandic poet Sjón. This one involves a few numbers and I present it here as a math-poetry token of the fascinating land I am planning to visit: a five-day Iceland vacation adventure, traveling with my Eastern Village neighbors Priscilla and Glenn.

**stones**by Sjón (translated by David McDuff)
Labels:
David McDuff,
Iceland,
numbers,
poem,
Sjon,
stones,
translation

## Tuesday, December 3, 2013

### Conversational mathematics

In recent weeks I have been experimenting with poems that use mathematical terminology, wondering whether -- since there are readers who are undaunted by unknown literary references (to Dante's

*Divine Comedy*or Eliot's Prufrock, for example) -- some readers will relish a poem with unexplained mathematical connections. In this vein I have offered "Love" (posted on on November 5) and now give the following poem, "Small Powers of Eleven are Palindromes":
Labels:
Catalan,
cube,
irrational,
JoAnne Growney,
language,
mathematics,
number,
palindrome,
perfect,
poem,
power,
twin primes

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