Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23: Number this . . .

1 equals the fall.
2 proximate, those most affected,
3 trinity, unspoken:
one-two-three, infinity.

# # #

I have no easy familiarity
with numbers,
one being first, I suppose,
then last as well.

# # #

Number this:
the days I loved you;
the days before,
too many,
the days after
I don't want to think of,
let alone count.

# # #

People like to count:
just three days before . . .
what will be
becomes was.
The days fall away
like brown leaves.

On entering college, I scored in the 98th percentile in language skills and in the 10th percentile in math. In elementary school, I loved playing with numbers, but we moved so often, I lost how they connected, what came next or even after.

Numbers still escape me in some mysterious way. Before finding DH (dear husband), I used to round up my bank account to create that secret slush fund. He made me go to the bank and explain what I had done. I never forgot what the bank clerk said, with raised eyebrows yet. "I've heard of people like you."

Today's poetry prompt is about numbers. Go to Octpowrimo to read what others have written. I hope someone today took on the language of numbers -- natural, rational, real, and complex. Ooops, I left out integers, negative numbers and transcendental numbers. Much grist for poetry here. Note: This category of 'important number systems' came from Wikipedia. Read more about numbers there. And, yes, I did like that TV show.

NUMB3RS (2005-2010)  (Wikipedia)


  1. I never did well at nor understood numbers and only found today's poem, not from inspiration, rather from my own slush fund of poetry. Unlike you, who has taken the prompt and used it well. :) And don't we all love our DH's :D X

  2. At first I thought this would be a terrible prompt for me as I have horrible memories of math in school (primarily my inability to convince teachers that I actual did need help, one teacher said they didn't understand how my math score could be so low when my English and History were so high, and I guess they didn't like a 15 yr old stating the obvious, "That's English and History, this is Math"), then I realized I had a poem right in there! Haha! (Either that or my favorite number, 23, being Sydney Carton's number at the guillotine in "A Tale Of Two Cities".) Thanks for your words!

  3. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Awesome. I also like the way you describe how you lost the way numbers connected.

  4. We must be kindred spirits in the math department (ha ha). I absolutely don't "get" number. But this poem is wonderful, so wonderful! There's just a hint of melancholy that makes you pay close attention so as not to miss anything, if that makes any sense.

  5. Anonymous8:42 PM

    Math is my Kryptonite. Hats off to your poem today :)