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James Tate. Click the Next or Previous links below the poem to navigate between poems. Remember, Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth. Thank you.
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Hypotenuse Cooked My Goose
A mathematician, I am not
How to figure I forgot.
Forget the hypotenuse,
For it ain’t no use.
Pythagoras, keep your theorem,
For it causes me delirium.
A mere child said he’d explain,
With a smirk to cover disdain.
“Three 3s are 9; four 4s are 16.
Stay with me, and see what I mean.
Add 9 and 16 for 25.
And then the hypotenuse comes alive.”
By this time I was feeling quite glum.
So, I chimed in, not to sound dumb.
“The square root of 25 is 5,” I smiled.
“You’ve got it, Mister,” replied the child.
Right then I knew without doubt,
When my wife and I ride about,
Our traveling miles will greatly reduce,
When we take the slanting hypotenuse.