Posted by: Gary Ernest Davis on: April 5, 2011

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I’m

Inspired by the following excellent (non mathematical) Haiku of Colin T. Graham (@ColinTGraham):

*Occluding stratus,*

*Trees shivering in the wind.*

*And yet, there is green.*

I decided to chance my arm at a mathematically-oriented Haiku:

*Statistics in Spring.*

*Finding goodness of a fit,*

*Chi-squared small, good!*

It caught the attention of Dime Arale (@Norii_xD) who re-tweeted it.

I looked around to see if there were examples of mathematical Haiku on the Web, and perhaps even a genre of mathematical Haiku.

To my surprise I found quite a few examples.

Here’s a clever bunch from Damiel Matthews: Mathematical_Haiku_Daniel_Matthews_2004

Here are some focussing on programming, from the site of Tim Davis:

*Floating in number,*

*result of add off by eps :*

*bit of summer err.*

_______________

Variant (2010):

*Floating in number,*

*An adder is off by eps :*

*bit of summer err.*

_______________

*Etrees in autumn,*

*elm and yew leaves are falling :*

*L and U fill-in.*

_______________

*Two coders at sea,*

*for pair programming extreme ;*

*C shanties they sing.*

_______________

*A summer blessing :*

*May descendents multiply,*

*non-transitive life.*

_______________

*Land-lubbers set sail,*

*C coding in mexFunction :*

*MATLUBbers at C.*

_______________

Here’s another bunch in Haiku style by J. L. Alperin, reflecting on a mathematical life:

**Referee’s Report**

*Beautiful theorem*

*The basic lemma is false*

*Reject the paper*

_______________

** Oral Exam**

*Questions like arrows*

*I give proofs, like swatting flies*

*Then smiles, all around*

_______________

** Fermat’s Last Theorem**

*A marginal note*

*Enigma for centuries*

*A theorem of Wiles*

_______________

**Classification**

*Eighteen families*

*Twenty-six sporadic groups*

*All the simple ones*

Typically a Haikai verse (plural Haiku) consists of 3 phrases, with 5, 7, and 5 sound units (mora) repectively. Haiku often contain a seasonal reference, and a cutting word that contrasts two situations.

Commonly, English language Haiku form has the following characteristics:

- Use of three (or fewer) lines of 17 or fewer syllables;
- Use of a season word (kigo);
- Use of a cut (sometimes indicated by a punctuation mark) paralleling the Japanese use of kireji, to implicitly contrast and compare two events, images, or situations.

If you have a mathematically-oriented Haiku you would like to share, please add it to the comments.

How about some limericks? My fav:

‘Tis frequent desire of mine,

A new value of pi to define

I would fix it at 3,

For it’s easier you see,

Than 3.14159.

(I never was into haiku.)

Oh no! I’ve created a monster!

Thanks for the mention, Gary. Glad it inspired something….

:-)

1 | Jill Peters

April 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

This post is about

mathematical haikus

counting syllables

Gary Ernest Davis

April 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hooray!