## Math Haiku and Limericks

*November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm* *
5 comments *

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

Likehomeomorphic.

~ 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.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: Daniel Mathews, haiku, homeomorphic, limerick, mora, Roger McGough, syllable.

1.xhenderson | November 14, 2012 at 6:34 pmA couple of years ago, I tried to write a couple of proofs in sonnet form. These are the (likely terrible) results:

The Square Root of 2 is Irrational

Suppose, for a while, that there are in Z

An a and b without a factor shared,

With square root 2 equals a over b.

Thus 2 times b squared must equal a squared.

Then, it seems, as the squares of odds are odd,

And squares of evens even, we can say

That a must be of an even facade.

There is in Z: k, where a is 2k.

Thus 2 times b squared is a squared times 4,

Or b squared and 2 a squared are the same.

Then b is even! And, for there is more,

A common factor: 2 shall be its name.

And here, a contradiction we must see.

Square root 2: irrational. Q.E.D.

There Are Infinitely Many Primes

If primes be but finite, list them, bar none!

Take the product of the primes on the list;

Call it N, and add 1. Then N plus 1,

From the set of primes, may be dismissed.

As N plus 1 is certainly not prime,

Among all the many primes there must be

A prime factor. In order to save time,

We shall call this prime by the letter p.

p is prime and divides N, you’ll agree,

Thus it divides N plus one, minus N,

So p divides one quite naturally.

Nonsensical! This is beyond all ken!

Therefore, by contradiction we have shown:

The greatest of primes can never be known.

2.venneblock | November 15, 2012 at 10:17 amProofs in sonnet form?

No tests to grade? Kid asleep?

Too much time on hands.

3.xhenderson | November 17, 2012 at 9:06 pmIn my defense I wrote those before the kid was born. 😛

4.Thursday Haiku Madness!~ Thanksgiving Edition « The Cheeky Diva | November 15, 2012 at 7:23 am[…] Math Haiku and Limericks (mathjokes4mathyfolks.wordpress.com) […]

5.Mo’ Math Limericks | Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks | August 4, 2017 at 11:33 pm[…] Math Haiku and Limericks […]