Archive for November 14, 2012

Math Haiku and Limericks

Haiku have 17 syllables, right? Nope. They actually have 17 morae. Don’t know what a mora is? Don’t worry; neither do most linguists.

I find the 5-7-5 structure of haiku too restrictive, and apparently Roger McGough does, too.

The only problem
with haiku is you just get
started and then
~ Roger McGough

And Daniel Mathews thinks the structure is problematic for writing math haiku.

Maths haikus are hard
All the words are much too big
Like homeomorphic.
~ Daniel Mathews

Limericks are a little more forgiving. With five lines in an AABBA pattern, you have a little more time to develop a story. Or not.

There was a young man from Peru
Whose limericks stopped at line two.

If you’re at a cocktail party, and you want to deliver the following one-liner, you better set it up with the two-liner above.

There was a young man from Verdun.

“Then there’s the one about the Emperor Nero,” quipped poets Elliott Moreton and Carl Muckenhoupt.

Personally, I think it’s pretty fun to turn traditional poetry rules on their ear. Here is a tradition-busting limerick for you.

A poet through efforts concerted
Ignored all the rules
He learned in the schools
Tradition he oft times skirted
And wrote all his limericks inverted.

And lest haiku feel neglected as a poetic form, here’s an abomination of that type, too.

The last line goes here.
It’s still 5-7-5, but…
Haiku inverted.

November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm 5 comments


About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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