Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sound of Words

During the final relaxation segment of my weekly yoga class, my instructor reads a poem. He has a very mellifluous voice that's well suited to the reading of poetry. I don't know how he chooses the poem he reads each week, but they are nearly always thought provoking and positive. This is the poem he read last Monday; lines from it flitted through my mind throughout the week.


I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.
I like the domesticity of addition--
add two cups of milk and stir--
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.
And multiplication's school
of fish times fish,
whose silver bodies breed
beneath the shadow
of a boat.
Even subtraction is never loss,
just addition somewhere else:
five sparrows take away two,
the two in someone else's
garden now.
There's an amplitude to long division,
as it opens Chinese take-out
box by paper box,
inside every folded cookie
a new fortune.
And I never fail to be surprised
by the gift of an odd remainder,
footloose at the end:
forty-seven divided by eleven equals four,
with three remaining.
Three boys beyond their mothers' call,
two Italians off to the sea,
one sock that isn't anywhere you look.
~Mary Cornish


liz nelson said...

that is an excellent poem. i like that he reads a poem at the end of class- that is so cool!

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