Hitting the Mathematical Wall

(after Robert Frost)

Something there is that doesn't love the math,

That sends the frozen needles under skin,

That numbs the skull and stultifies the brain

Before the joy of math discovery begins

Comes sheer torment of quadratic functions--

And who can blame those poor souls that can't add

Two simple fractions or multiply

Signed numbers?--

For there is no reason they can't pass

Remedial math courses with a D

And join the mindless workforce

Of their peers,

Who care not for square roots or logs,

Nor volumes of some pyramids or spheres--

No, they want none of it

In their beer-filled dream,

In their dull and repetitious slumber,

Where there is no x, and no why--

No solution to their life's equation

Which drags itself each day until they die

And take this time a permanent vacation.

Something there is that doesn't love the math,

That wants all numbers and all symbols down,

And lonely is a math instructor's path--

Misunderstood and treated like a clown

By those who care not for what she says.

Gone is the beauty of geometry and space,

The golden ratio and isosceles triangles--

There is just this massive wall above her head,

Where ignorance prevails and knowledge's dead--

Where there are no more questions,

No more numbers,

There is just this nothingness,

Where there's nothing to be said,

Where all the search and all the discourse ends.

            May 30, 2009


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