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Poetry Friday- Turning The Tables Poem

I am always looking for ways to link poetry to broader pursuits. Mathematics is one such area. Today i get to share a poem that includes numbers. The beauty of poetry is that just like mathematics it involves patterns. Both poetry and mathematics employ symbols and both involve 

Mathematics involves precise definitions and specific terminology- and so to poetry. There appears to exist plenty of commonality between the two. I think I need to explore this relationship further. 

In the meantime, here is a poem prompted by school memories and mathematical moments...

Image result for students hands up

Turning the Tables

All through primary school
Amanda struggled to remember the answer to six times nine.
It remained her times table blackspot.

No fast recall at all…

Amanda now almost forty years old 
Still hesitates when making this demon calculation.
The numbers she needs always run and hide 
Deep inside her head.
The fog of confusion sweeps across her mind when six times nine is needed.

She remembers Douglas Lenton though…
Doug, Dougie. Dougie Lenton
He was the abacus
An absolute whizz with his times tables.
Lightning fast Lenton
Instant recall
Confident, correct. 
-A mathematical marvel.

Dougie, Dougie Lenton
Now short and bald and forty
Working as a pizza delivery guy…
Shouts Amanda 
To no one in particular.
And smiles
How’s that Dougie?

Alan j Wright

Image result for student puzzled look


  1. Comeuppance is the word that comes to mind, also 54. It's delightful, Alan. One granddaughter is now struggling with her times tables, perhaps like Amanda, she will triumph!

    1. Great word 'comeuppance' Linda. Hopefully, as you say, your granddaughter will eventually triumph with respect times tables. May auto-response find her.

  2. Poetry meets up with mathematics in a humorous poem on relationships. Love that Amanda who was always perplexed with numbers could bring her A game to solving the dilemma. This was a fun poem, Alan.

    1. Glad you liked it Carol. Amanda is a living example of stickability.

  3. Your poem made me chuckle at the same time as it brought back many mathematical memories. Like Amanda, I could never remember my times tables by rote, and had to come up with all kinds of strategies for figuring them out. That turned out to be a godsend for me when it came to working on higher level mathematics. Go figure. I ended up loving mathematics!

    1. Chuckles are good Cheriee. Both writing and mathematics involve a fair degree of problem solving. Having a range of strategies is imperative. It sounds like you worked through with a good helping of persistence.

  4. Numbers are not my thing! Though I'm not so bad at the tables and patterns - but ask me to remember numbers??? Somehow they always end up with extra zeroes...😶🤭🤨 #itwasaverybignumber

    1. Go figure Kat! We all have different abilities and we all encounter memory issues around certain things. Names are a mixed bag for me. Sometimes they fail me at the most inopportune times.

  5. I'm okay with my times tables, but names? I've had many a "54!" moment long after talking to the person whose name I had forgotten.

    1. I'm with you on the names Mary Lee. I can retrieve names from the dim dark past and forget a quite recent and then I scrambled through the alphabet in the hope of stumbling upon the name I need.

  6. Hahahaha.. I know a "Doug, Dougie, Dougie Lenton." And I love the play on words in your title. Thank you, Alan, for a Saturday laugh.

    1. There are Dougie Lenton's everywhere I suspect Alice. So pleased to have delivered a laugh on a Saturday.

  7. Maybe I would have kept a more open mind towards math (and those dratted math facts) if someone had made the comparison between math and poetry. It is something to ponder.

    1. I have another poet, Sara Holbrook to thank for reminding me way back in 2005 about the significant links between poetry and mathematics. We spent a day presenting poetry. Sara talked about these links and convinced me I needed her book, 'Practical Poetry.' May the pondering continue Kay...


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