That’s mathematics! (song by Tom Lehrer)

Counting sheep
When you’re trying to sleep,
Being fair
When there’s something to share,
Being neat
When you’re folding a sheet,
That’s mathematics!

When a ball
Bounces off of a wall,
When you cook
From a recipe book,
When you know
How much money you owe,
That’s mathematics!

How much gold can you hold in an elephant’s ear?
When it’s noon on the moon, then what time is it here?
If you could count for a year, would you get to infinity,
Or somewhere in that vicinity?

When you choose
How much postage to use,
When you know
What’s the chance it will snow,
When you bet
And you end up in debt,
Oh try as you may,
You just can’t get away
From mathematics!

 

To the Tune of “Thats Entertaimant!”, lyrics by the great Tom Lehrer.

 

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The Law of Statistics

The Law of Statistics

for Sally Clark 1964 – 2007

You, Sally Clark, solicitor,
discover your son, Christopher
dead in his Moses basket. Harry, born
a year later, dies in his bouncy chair.

Pediatrician for the Crown,
Sir Roy Meadow, tells the jury
two cot deaths in the same family
would occur only once in a century.

Odds are one in seventy-three million,
lower than the lottery, beyond all
reasonable doubt. An easy decision:
You must be guilty.

At Styal Prison, the horde screams,
Here’s the nonce! Die woman, die!
They bang on the door, clamber up,
gawp as you cringe in a holding cell.

At the second appeal, your body
is free but your mind has crumpled.
You drink until you die,
your third son, left without a mother.

I tell this story to my medical students,
show death by natural causes
was more likely than murder.

Silence

by Eveline Pye 

First published at http://www.talkingwriting.com/eveline-pye-three-poems

Eveline Pye was an operational research analyst in the Zambian Copper Industry, before lecturing in statistics at Glasgow Caledonian University for 22 years. Her statistical poetry was featured in Significance, the joint magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association in their Life in Statistics series. Her poems appear in the Bridges 2013 Poetry Anthology (in the “Enschede” section, Tesselations Publishing). A collection about Zambia, Smoke that Thunders, was published by Mariscat Press in 2015.

Euclidean Shivers

     So, how does the Triangle
     relate to the Circle?    

     Euclid and a radius prove points
     that radiate from the center, a circle,
     a method to navigate space.

     Would this seem more real if we pulled
     ribbons from agreed upon place.
     perhaps the Maypole?

     Preoccupied with tangents and triangles,
     it is hard to visualize chords,
     a concordance, to be in accord.

     by Carol Dorf

Carol is a Maths teacher in California and is the poetry editor for TalkingWriting

Collected from JoAnne Growneys excellent Maths and Poetry blog

https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/how-does-triangle-relate-to-circle.html

Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare

Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.

O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Numbers and Faces by WH Auden


The Kingdom of Number is all boundaries
Which may be beautiful and must be true;
To ask if it is big or small proclaims one
The sort of lover who should stick to faces.

Lovers of small numbers go benignly potty,
Believe all tales are thirteen chapters long,
Have animal doubles, carry pentagrams,
Are Millerites, Baconians, Flat-Earth-Men.

Lovers of big numbers go horridly mad,
Would have the Swiss abolished, all of us
Well purged, somatotyped, baptised, taught baseball:
They empty bars, spoil parties, run for Congress.

True, between faces almost any number
Might come in handy, and One is always real;
But which could any face call good, for calling
Infinity a number does not make it one.

The Computation by John Donne

For the first twenty years since yesterday
I scarce believed thou couldst be gone away;
For forty more I fed on favors past,
And forty on hopes that thou wouldst they might last.
Tears drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,
A thousand, I did neither think nor do,
Or not divide, all being one thought of you,
Or in a thousand more forgot that too.
Yet call not this long life, but think that I
Am, by being dead, immortal. Can ghosts die?

 

John Donne is one of the great poets. Who can resist sharing one of his poems?