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Friday, February 27, 2009

Poetry Friday - Numbers


This one is for my math teacher friends. I think they'll like it a lot! I know I do, and you know I'm no math wizard, although I am pretty good at mental math if I do say so myself. All that baking, sewing, shopping and eating out in restaurants really does pay off!



Numbers

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--
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.

And multiplication's school
of fish times fish,
whose silver bodies breed
beneath the shadow
of a boat.

Even subtraction is never loss,
just addition somewhere else:
five sparrows take away two,
the two in someone else's
garden now.

There's an amplitude to long division,
as it opens Chinese take-out
box by paper box,
inside every folded cookie
a new fortune.

And I never fail to be surprised
by the gift of an odd remainder,
footloose at the end:
forty-seven divided by eleven equals four,
with three remaining.

Three boys beyond their mothers' call,
two Italians off to the sea,
one sock that isn't anywhere you look.

1 comment:

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I love the stanza comparing long division to Chinese take-out and fortune cookies.