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How to Write a Pi Poem for Pi Day

February 18, 2015

 

How to Write a Pi Poem for Pi Day (including a sample pi poem)

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

My math teachers and professors would be quite surprised to know that I am still working with the mathematical pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter).  Of course, I am using pi for crafting a pi poem.

 

Along my Wordwalk, you may have encountered two pi poems (also called “piems”).  In my April 30, 2014, blog post, I shared my first pi poem “A Pi Poem for a Literary Luncheon.”  This poem followed the first 23 numbers of the mathematical pi for each line’s number of syllables.  Thus, although the mathematical pi is an infinite number, I used only the following  portion of pi for my first piem:  3.1415926535897932384626.

 

In my May 28, 2014, blog post, entitled “Remembrances of a Rainbow,” I included the pi poem “Meteorological Versus Metaphorical Rainbows.”  For this second pi poem, I met my goal of 32 lines, which meant that I used all the numbers of pi up to the first zero.  Thus, the number of syllables per line was based on the following portion of the mathematical pi:  3.14159265358979323846264338327950.

 

Now, in my third pi poem, I extended my use of pi by two numerals past the first zero.  With 34 lines, the following pi poem has syllables for each line based upon this portion of the mathematical pi:  3.1415926535897932384626433832795028.

 

For a pi poem, only the number of syllables per line is important; the rhyming pattern or lack of a rhyme scheme is the writer’s choice.  Dividing the piem into stanzas is also the decision of the poet.  Although I did not divide the poetic lines of my first two pi poems into stanzas, I divided “Wintering Hands” into four stanzas.

 

If you choose to take on the challenge of writing a pi poem by this year’s Pi Day–3/14/15, March 14, 2015–you have 23 days to meet your poetic goal.  To further assist you with this goal, after the first presentation of my pi poem, the piem will be repeated with a numeral accompanying each line:  the numeral at the onset of each line indicates the number of syllables in that poetic line.  Therefore, the second presentation of my pi poem lets you know how I did follow the numerals of the mathematical pi to create my piem.  I find writing a pi poem is like playing a word game, and I hope that you will enjoy crafting a piem also.

 

If you decide to take the “Pi-Poem Challenge” by Pi Day, please comment on my blog or send me an e-mail.  Thanks, and happy writing!

 

 

Wintering Hands (A Third Pi Poem)

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

My dry hands

need

winter’s lotion

or

moisture of snowflakes

without the numbing chill to the bone.

These hands

that do read braille by touch

reach into the gloves

of winter

to protect the sense

that gives me the blessing to read.

 

When you make snow angels with gloved hands,

when you form snowballs in palms,

when you shovel snow with mittened hands,

remember

to take

special care

of your wintered fingers and thumbs.

 

Throughout winter,

two extra pairs of gloves

are tucked

inside my worn backpack

so that if I

lose a pair

or find I

need to give a pair to someone,

I will be

fully

prepared to share the safe warmth

of thick fleece-lined, snowflake-patterned gloves.

 

Glove compartments soothe

the soul

that worries about winter’s cold.

 

 

NOTE:  To assist you with writing a pi poem of your own creation, I will repeat the text of “Wintering Hands” below; however, you will find that each line is preceded by a number which indicates the number of syllables of the poetic line.  If you read only the numerals down the left side of the page, you will find that these numerals are the first thirty-four numbers of the mathematical pi.

 

 

(3)  My dry hands

(1)  need

(4)  winter’s lotion

(1)  or

(5)  moisture of snowflakes

(9)  without the numbing chill to the bone.

(2)  These hands

(6)  that do read braille by touch

(5)  reach into the gloves

(3)  of winter

(5)  to protect the sense

(8)  that gives me the blessing to read.

 

(9)  When you make snow angels with gloved hands,

(7)  when you form snowballs in palm,

(9)  when you shovel snow with mittened hands,

(3)  remember

(2)  to take

(3)  special care

(8)  of your wintered fingers and thumbs.

 

(4)  Throughout winter,

(6)  two extra pairs of gloves

(2)  are tucked

(6)  inside my worn backpack

(4)  so that if I

(3)  lose a pair

(3)  or find I

(8)  need to give a pair to someone,

(3)  I will be

(2)  fully

(7)  prepared to share the safe warmth

(9)  of thick fleece-lined, snowflake-patterned gloves.

 

(5)  Glove compartments soothe

(2)  the soul

(8)  that worries about winter’s cold.

 

 

Stay warm!  Happy writing!

Alice and Leader Dog Zoe

 

February 18, 2015, Wednesday

 

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2 Comments
  1. I am fascinated with the format for pi poems, Alice, and admire your talent in writing them. After having just spent a few days with you in subzero weather, I can certainly appreciate the importance and warmth of those fleece-lined gloves.
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–Thank you! When I took Zoe outside this morning, the temperature was seven below zero; and the wind chill was twenty-eight degrees below zero. Tonight is to be even colder. A & Z

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