Margin Notes

Today’s Poetic Asides prompt was to write a poem ” involving math and/or numbers”, in honor of today’s date being 11-11-11. I felt like I needed a real challenge today, so I decided to write a higgledy piggledy, a form my brother introduced me to. At first glance it doesn’t seem so tough– after all, it’s only 8 lines and 44 syllables. But lines 1-3 and 5-7 each have to contain dactyl dimeters (long/short/short, twice), lines 4 and 8 consist of a dactyl, followed by a single accented syllable, and these two lines have to rhyme with each other. Line 1 contains nonsense, line 2 contains the subject of the poem, which is generally a proper name, and somewhere in stanza 2, there must be a line that contains a six syllable double dactyl. Whew! Oh, and they are supposed to be humorous. I’m not proud of having to split a word over two lines, and Fermat’s Last Theorem was in fact considered to be unprovable, not incomprehensible; it was Fermat’s scribbled margin notes that were incomprehensible. But still…

Margin Notes

Higgledy Piggledy
Fermat’s Last Theorem
remained unproven for
so many years

Though it was thought to be
Wiles and Taylor de-
serve all our cheers

Here’s some more examples of higgledy piggledy poems.


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