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Geometry, Love, and Poetry

Robert Service (1874 - 1958) was a Canadian poet and writer, often called "The Bard of the Yukon." In 1999, Don Fineran, iconic Oregon math educator, visited Service's cabin in Dawson City in Western Canada, heard an actor recite some of Service's poetry, and shared this gem...


There once was a Square, such a square little Square,
And he loved a trim Triangle;
But she was a flirt and around her skirt
Vainly she made him dangle.
Oh he wanted to wed and he had no dread
Of domestic woes and wrangles;
For he thought that his fate was to procreate
Cute little Squares and Triangles.

Now it happened one day on that geometric way
There swaggered a big bold Cube,
With a haughty stare and he made that Square
Have the air of a perfect boob;
To his solid spell the Triangle fell,
And she thrilled with love’s sweet sickness,
For she took delight in his breadth and height—
But how she adored his thickness!

So that poor little Square just died of despair,
For his love he could not strangle;
While the bold Cube led to the bridal bed
That cute and acute Triangle.
The Square’s sad lot she has long forgot,
And his passionate pretensions ...
For she dotes on her kids—Oh such cute Pyramids
In a world of three dimensions.

Source: D. Finneran, "Poetry to Motivate Mathematics?" Oregon Mathematics Teacher, May 1999