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How to Write a Pi Poem for Pi Day, 2016

March 2, 2016

 

NOTE: Are you ready for pi? No, not a delicious berry or cream pie–but the mathematical pi, a la poetic mode. Since my two most visited posts of Wordwalk during the year of 2015 focused on “How to Write a Pi Poem,” I decided to share two new pi poems in early March, before “Pi Day” on March 14. After the first sample pi poem for this year, I will include the instructions for writing a pi poem, which may also be called a piem. I suggest that most pi poems should be formatted with lines centered, as I intend the following poetic lines to be.

 

 

Duality of Spring: A Fourth Pi Poem

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Daffodils

spring

through winter’s snow

to

sing the pert prelude

of handshaking seasons of Nature’s

duet.

 

March–such duality–

snowflakes and flowers

of yellow

harbingers of spring,

conducts a cappella petals

that pose sprightly for still cameras

while the taciturn snowflakes

are melting, melting, melting winter.

 

Champion

flower,

narcissus,

trumpet the sounds and sights of spring–

calendar spring,

meteorological

springtime

evidently versus

a Milwaukee

sporadic,

faux springtime.

 

In Wisconsin, spring is just a

state of mind,

of hope

that winter will take a bow

and allow the scene to change to spring

by the end of May.

 

* * *

 

How to Write a Pi Poem for Pi Day

 

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 previously encountered three 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 other words, the first line of a pi poem contains three syllables, the second line has only one syllable, the third line includes four syllables, and so forth to follow the numerals of pi.

 

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, as well as for today’s pi poem “Duality of Spring,” 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.

 

In my third pi poem (posted on February 18, 2015), I extended my use of pi by two numerals past the first zero. With 34 lines, my pi poem “Wintering Hands” 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 my 2015 piem “Wintering Hands” into four stanzas and today’s piem into four stanzas also.

 

If you choose to take on the challenge of writing a pi poem by this year’s Pi Day–3/14/16 (March 14, 2016)–you have 12 days to meet your poetic goal. I find writing a pi poem is truly 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!

 

Happy March and Meteorological Spring!

Alice and Zoe

 

March 2, 2016, Wednesday

 

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6 Comments
  1. Just like the mathematical pi itself, your talent for writing is infinite, Alice! Each week your creative posts amaze me. Thank you.
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–Thanks for the clever comment! Hoping you are planning something poetic for your little students during the 20th National Poetry Month in April–Alice and Zoe

  2. You inspire me so. Thanks, and a very big tip of the hat. dp

    • Deon–I just read your pi poem and was very touched by your beautiful tribute to your father. The pi form and your sentiments combined well for a strong and memorable poem to add to your collection of poetry. Hoping to hear your voice on Sunday–Alice

  3. Fran Rayce permalink

    What a clever way you have captured spring in the Midwest. It must be challenging to use exactly the right number of syllables but your piem does it with such seeming ease, and precisely the right tone. Lovely piece.

    • Fran–Thanks for your very nice comment. Writing a piem is relatively easy because I only have to be concerned about the number of syllables per line and do not have to adhere to a specific rhyme scheme which is, for me, much more challenging. Take care–Alice

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