*express new things we didn't know before*, in a way that everyone will understand. In contrast, poetry will

*express what we already know*, in new ways that some will understand.

Definition:

*Poetry consists of an awareness of experience, expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language to provoke an emotional response.*

*Mathematics is a science dealing with numbers, shapes, structures and change, and the relationships between these concepts.*

So I wondered if a body of mathematical poetry might exist. Could it help us measure a life in more than just days lived or money accumulated?

Today I must admit that the bulk of math poetry does not. I've found plenty intended as education or entertainment, not expression of deep meaning of a person's existence. I saw memory aides - rhyming statements of how a math process works. I found plenty of problems presented to kids in a sing-song way, or limericks which pose a question to be answered or a puzzle to be solved. Here's an example:

Take five times which plus half of what,

And make the square of what you've got.

Divide by one-and-thirty square,

To get just four -- that's right, it's there.

This is not what I am looking for. After some searching, I did find tons (well, not really

*tons*in a math sense) of serious discussion on math and how it might help us find meaning in the universe. Here's a sample:

Logic (thus math) starts with people labeling the

**existence**of any object or phenomenon(God, rock, flower, etc.) by a symbol we call

**1**, or**yes**, or**+**, or**dot**, or**true**.The lack or absence of existence of an object is labeled as

**0**, or**no**, or**-**, or**dash**, or**false**.The symbols are used to describe objects around us as either

**existing**or**absent**...That discussion went on for many pages and my eyelids closed with a flutter! Then I found this:

If poetry is the love of carefully-chosen words and crafted phrases to convey image and idea;

if a mathematician channels a love of pattern, quantity, and structure into carefully-chosen words and crafted phrases;

the intersection of their realms should be non-trivial.

Now we're talking! That statement led to this poem entitled

*An Equation for my children, by Wilmer Mills*

It may be esoteric and perverse

That I consult Pythagoras to hear

A music tuning in the universe.

My interest in his math of star and sphere

Has triggered theorems too far-fetched to solve.

They don't add up.

But if I rack and toil

More in ether than mortal coil,

It is to comprehend how you revolve,

By formulas of orbit, ellipse, and ring.

Dear son and daughter, if I seem to range

It is to chart the numbers spiraling

Between my life and yours until the strange

And seamless beauty of equations click

Solutions for the heart's arithmetic.