The Emporium Gazette
Issue 13 -- May 2000

Poetry World ~ Unusual and Math Poetry
by Bob Nailor

Poetry usually gets a bad rap. It's boring, tedious, dull, dreaded, and downright yucky. Some would rather shove bamboo splits under their nails, receive a lobotomy, or slash their wrists than be subjected to poetry.

Nonetheless, poetry can be fun.

How, you ask? Simple. Take the following mathematical poem written by Jon Saxton, an author of math textbooks.

((12 + 144 + 20 + (3 * 4^(1/2))) / 7) + (5 * 11) = 9^2 + 0

Yes, it IS a poem. If read properly, it will rhyme. For those who can't figure it out...the answer will be found at the bottom of this article. I don't think I'd dare force you to wait until the next issue of Poetry World. I'll give you a hint, 12 is read as "a dozen" and my apologies if you were actually attempting to figure it out.

How about the following? Another way to play with poetry.


U R A 4N love
U love me, U H8 me.
2 day we love, my II C
The words make sense.
Yesterday, my NRG spent
On attempted love pre 10's
A poet's EZ skill made B9
A day of XS drill DK
My AAAA 2 the well
4 U 2 C NE way.

Robert Nailor
© 2000 Robert Nailor

You say the above poems didn't bring a smile to your face? What if I were to mention limerics? See? A secret smile blossomed as you remembered some risque ditty. I won't subject you to limerics... this issue!

During my English and Lit classes, poetry was often expounded upon by the instructor. And I dreaded it! I attempted the "deep" style, but found that my spirit was too light to be bogged down in such. Speaking with others, I've come to discover that I'm not the only person who found a lighter side. Poetry can be light-hearted and still have a meaning. Samantha Adley, a screenwriter who is also a serious poet, submitted the following as a class assignment.


Found a place called If Only,
Right next to Instead,
Tried to grab its shadow,
But Shadow quickly fled.

Seemed so silly simple,
But silly simple clear
That Shadow left a message,
"Fear the lack of Fear."
Shadow left me holding pieces
Of Rainbow's brilliant hues,
Ate'em up like candy,
Ate up Shadow, too.

Sing a song of six-pence,
Pocket full of dread,
Traced forgotten footprints
Deep inside my head.

Old now is Used to Be,
And Later Never Was,
Comes a crowd of Wonder Whys,
Looking for Because.

"Quickly," said Forever,
"Later becomes Soon,"
Laughter winks her traitorous eye
And pricks a child's balloon.

'Twixt pages of an unbook,
In fragmented hues,
Bleeds a shattered butterfly
In Red and Pain and Blue.

In the streets of Wish I Had,
The hawker hawks his wares,
"Too soon old; too late smart,
Buy your cliches here."

Left the place called If Only,
Left Instead behind,
Turned Outside Inside,
Found Shadow in my mind.

Samantha Adley
© 2000 Samantha Adley

Needless to say, her instructor was not amused. He accused her of taking light on poetry and mocking it. Like any good rebel, she took exception and submitted a similar poem for her next assignment.

Poetry can place us in front of a mirror, for there is the real humor. Man is the only creature on earth who can laugh, ridicule, and make fun of itself. Poetry can also do this. The following are great examples, one by a master, Ogden Nash, who has made us laugh at ourselves by showing us, us! The other is by that great unknown, Anonymous.

The People Upstairs

The people upstairs all practice ballet.
Their living room is a bowling alley.
Their bedroom is full of conducted tours.
Their radio is louder than yours.
They celebrate week ends all the week.
When they take a shower, your ceilings leak.
They try to get their parties to mix
By supplying their guests with pogo sticks.
And when their orgy at last abates,
They go to the bathroom on roller skates.
I might love the people upstairs wondrous
If instead of above us, they just lived under us.

Ogden Nash

'Twas an evening in November,
And I very well remember,
I was walking down the street in drunken pride.

But my knees went all a'flutter,
and I landed in the gutter,
and a pig walked up and lay down by my side.

Now I lie there in the gutter,
Thinking thoughts I dare not utter,
When a colleen, passing by, did softly say:

"You can tell a man who boozes,
by the company he chooses".
And at that, the pig got up and walked away!


Personally, I think the imagery is fantastic within those poems. Did you smile?

We can laugh at ourselves. We can make fun of ourselves. Again, Samantha Adley shows us how.


Jordache jeans now
Yardache, and a
Waistline laid waste,
Made me vow
To unlove food,
Eclairs? Well just
An untaste.
Wonder diets? I've
Tried them all,
And I now begin
To doubt,
Is there truly
A skinny me,
Screaming to get out?
Nine o'clock, I start
To weaken. Fat?
It's just a label,
But midnight comes
And I would welcome,
Crumbs from a sin-eater's
Pizza, fries and onion rings,
Today, I almost blew it,
But the mirrored image
Of my bare essence,
Helped me to eschew it.

Samantha Adley
© 2000 Samantha Adley

I hope that I've shown you that poetry can be fun. There are many examples if you but give yourself a chance to look.

Oh, before I forget. Here's the answer to the mathematical poem from above. Enjoy.

A Dozen, a Gross and a Score,
plus three times the square root of four,
divided by seven,
plus five times eleven,
equals nine squared and not a bit more.

Poetry can be fun and I welcome anyone to send me submissions for inclusion in Poetry World. Of course, I will accept the "dreaded" deep thought provoking ones, too! As I hit the highway in search of more poetry, I leave you with these departing words from Ogden Nash's 1933 "Happy Days" Song of the Road.

I think that I shall never see
A billboard as lovely as a tree
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.

Bob Nailor is author of "The Secret Voice," an Amish-Christian story, "Pangaea, Eden Lost," an adventure story, "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold," a Celtic fantasy, and "2012: Timeline Apocalypse," an end-of-time tale. He is also included in several anthologies and collections. Check his website at

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