Friday, October 3, 2014

End of the Month Accounting

This is just how I feel about arithmetic and balancing checkbooks and figuring out how many yoga students showed up in class this month and whether the rain drenching the front yard means I have to add more eggs to the grocery list.

File:Mmm...fried egg and ham (5075522458).jpg

by Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head,
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how
    many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven--or five six
    bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from you head to your hand to
    your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice
    and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky--or the answer
    is wrong and you have to start all over and try again and see how it comes
    out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
    double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger and goes
    higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you what the number is when
    you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply--and you carry the multiplication
    table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you eat one
    and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the other, how many
    animal crackers will you have if somebody offers you five six seven
    and you say No no no and you say Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask you mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you
    two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic,
    you or your mother?

from Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg

Stop by Jama's Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup today.


  1. LOL! Fun poem. I'm always in a tizzy when it comes to numbers (good thing my husband loves math). Love that Sandburg included animal crackers in his poem. You don't have to count them to gobble them up. :)

  2. I love this poem, Dori, and used to love sharing it with my students, who also adored it, but it gave them another way to see how poems can "be". I imagine you're doing a bit more arithmetic now that you're in business!

  3. Ugh, arithmetic...but Sandburg brings this dreadful (for me) subject to life and relevance. Perhaps there is hope for me?

  4. Ha! Fun poem... it will calm down, right? As you get your feet under you, perhaps eggs will be more poached than fried. :) Love to you, friend!

  5. I hope you had a good amount of yoga students show up! Thanks for sharing this poem with us -- I hadn't read it before. It seems like one my kids could appreciate.

  6. How funny! Hope you've got all chickens in a row and are muddling through just fine, Dori.