Wish I’d been better in math
but Geometry refused to love me.
And I got constantly lost in
hypothetical equations and
numerical values.
But I knew of days never constant,
their finite moments failing in an
imperfect world.

Had I studied harder fractal patterns,
would my sorrows have been less
algebraic, my joys more in tune
with calculus? What percentage
of assurety would I have today?

I know only that the sun doesn’t set
in Pi; and Stone Man lived never
touching resolution nor its
objective pyramidal properties.
His world existed non-circumference.
Would nonlinear have made me beautiful,
perhaps a smile more of absolute;
or maybe integrals would have gained
me riches beyond fractional trig.

All I know is I was never good
in Math, but enough to know,
enough to regret,
the intolerable years
it would take to get over
one-millionth of you
from Absolute Zero.



© Susan Joyner-Stumpf


  1. Lena Kovadlo says:

    Wow! A very creative poem that is very emotional and moving. I love how you incorporate math terminology into the poem and use it throughout. Well done! Superb job!

  2. drtruthman says:

    I agree with Len, very creative. I will say, you must have done pretty well in math to remember all of the terms. I had to think twice…LOL. What a great job. You cease to amaze me with your creativity.

  3. Oh thanks Lena. And no, Dr Lee, Math and all its extended family cousins (Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Trigonometry), truly was my worst subject and gave me much grief. (Which I still haven’t forgiven today. But all is not lost ~ I’m working through it, slow as a Sea Tortoise but getting there….kill or be killed, right? And the old adage, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…..? I feel the weakness already slipping away, decimal by integer.) Even today, Math and I merely “tolerate” each other’s existence, much like an Arctic Polar Bear allowing the neighboring sandpipers to forage scraps and tidbits off his recent Caribou kill. I try to stay out of Math’s way, but so far, like a Mammoth that should have gone extinct five million years ago, it repeatedly keeps popping up at odd, inconvenient moments when I least expect, like figuring out daily calories or measuring a fence line, for instance. It normally wins out in the end and I retreat submissively with tail between proverbial legs, humiliating to say the least. Math continuously multiples my frustration and embarrassment, and I’m left divided and subtracted with unrivaled confusion, leaving little leeway for a common ratio.

    It affected detrimentally my over-all computated Grade Point Average, plummeting me flat line and parallel with a B+ score instead of what I thought to be a well-deserved A following Senior Exams, due to the fact I aced every other subject thrown at me. My own mathematically inclined-genius of a Walking-Geometric-Reservoir-brother tutored me from Freshman through my Senior years in High school, and it was no walk in the park for him either, believe me. After a while, he resorted to becoming very strict and non-deviate in his approach in our little private sessions at the kitchen table, telling me if I didn’t buckle up and figure out this hypothetical equation, he would not allow me to go ride my horse that day, because he would hide the car keys. So he figured dangling my horse in the mix as leverage would give me the short end stick of incentive. It worked.

    I suffered miserably from grade school even through two years of College, forced to take Remedial Algebra. (Ugh!!!!) I can write a Shakespearian Sonnet in my sleep (a no-brainer); I’m an English Major and my recall-skill set for recognizing and identifying various plant and animal species is quite amazing if I say so myself ((and I do every chance I get, lol)). But I need a calculator even to go shopping at Wal-Mart, stay within budget, and hope and pray for the Math Gods to feel sorry for my wretched, Mathematically challenged Soul so that come towards the end of the month, my Check Book and Bank Statements are still maintaining their Monogamous-symbiotic relationship, lol. Even simply putting up Wallpaper to align the pattern takes some expertise believe it or not. I remember the terminology because of the agony it reeked (I still hear the echo and feel the shrapnel), lol. Like anything, often times we remember things our enemies told us and forget tidbits of the wonderful compliments retorted by friends. Will I ever recite The Pythagorean Theorem? The day I do that, Atlantis will rise from the bottom of the Ocean and rejoin its lost landmass and make fools of us all who thought Plato somehow got into some Cannabis leaves. Until then, I will live my life simply by adding much joy as I can to others, and I will not look for revenue or dividends due to kindness. It’s just a Blank Deposit I’m willing to trust.

  4. Oh ~ and Lee, you meant to say (I hope) that I NEVER cease to amaze you…you said ‘You cease to amaze me with your creativity,’ in which, in that particular instance, the grammatical interpretation from your original statement would mean that your amazement over my creativity is now a moot point, terminated, finished, end of story, been there, done that, lol……………………..oh don’t you just love being friends with an English Major who can pinpoint the smallest of infractional details…..too bad it doesn’t have the mirror effect (the ability to spot my own errors), lol. Have to work on that one!!! Add that to my Honey-Do-List, or, rather, my Honey-Don’t-Bother-List, hehehehee

  5. drtruthman says:

    Oh gee, you are right, a very funny responsive response indeed. (Is that correct English?). OK, now you got me paranoid….LOL, I keep forgetting you were an English Major. Bad enough you are this renowned published author and wonderful poet….LOL Heck, I failed HS English, had to take remedial reading and English just to get into college and once again in Seminary towards my Masters, thank God I passed Prelims for the PhD program but I did get in barely by the skin of my teeth. Anyway, I am constantly in a battle grammatically and linguistically for correctness in writing. I still have extreme difficulty with punctuation mechanics (which Word does not check in spell or grammar check). As to math, I passed in HS and in College but again, barely. I admire your astuteness to utilizing the mathematical terminology. Your response was so humorous. And yes, I did neglect to say that “you NEVER cease to amaze me” and I am sure you never will. You should have written this as a follow up piece on blog spot so you could make money. Allot of words for free….LOL.

  6. Dr Lee I must not understand the ropes to WordPress, for this is the second time you have reminded me that I need to post a response from this site to another? I don’t know anything about that or how to go about it, or even that it existed. Please, do elaborate….enlighten men.

  7. debbiebrooks37 says:

    I barley passed Math.. I never passed Algebra.. So I know how you feel.. In fact I hate it..I cringe when ever it comes near me.. lol.. I even had a tutor.. Isn’t that awful? I can relate.. Great. job.. Debbie

  8. Deb, I had a tutor, my brother, LOL, who was a genius in all other aspects as well as Math and the Sciences. He’d hold my horse over my head (lol, no, not literally, he wasn’t that strong) but what I mean is, we’d sit at the kitchen table and he told me if I didn’t work out, or at least try, to figure out this hypothetical equation for my math Geometry Homework, that he wouldn’t take me to the stables to see my horse. And him having the keys to the car, well, he had the power over me and so it forced me to sit there and rack my poor exhausted brains.

    To this day, math haunts me. We need it everywhere, even down to watching our daily caloric intake, if you start off knowing you can have 1200 calories a day, every thing you eat, you must subtract the calories from the daily goal, so, math is a constant in our life. We have to balance our check books, keep within a budget; you even need some basic math skills to lay wallpaper on the wall for goodness sakes.

    No, math and I parted a long time ago as enemies….we were never friends and never will be. We tolerate (barely) each other’s presence. I normally go running for the hills when Math is in town, lol, if I can help it.

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