A Prime Time to Rhyme

by Laura Overdeck

April is Poetry Month, and while poetry is made of words, numbers rule their rhyming. Think about Dr. Seuss books, where two lines in a row rhyme: “Knox in box / Fox in socks.” Since the first 2 lines rhyme, then the 3rd and 4th rhyme, we call that an a-a-b-b pattern. But sometimes not all the lines rhyme: “I do not like them, / Sam-I-am. / I do not like / green eggs and ham.” The 3rd line ends in a different sound from the 1st line, so that pattern is a-b-c-b.

It’s hard work, so we were amazed by New Orleans “sidewalk poet” Antoine: Tell him your favorite thing, and he’ll write a poem about it — then you decide how much to pay him for it. We of course asked for a poem about math, which you can find below!

Wee ones: If you say “big wig pig,” how many rhyming words do you have?

Little kids: Try to think of 4 words that rhyme with your first name. Then say the whole set 5 times fast! Bonus: If Antoine writes a $10 poem for your name, and you have $2, how many more dollars do you need to pay him?

Big kids: If Antoine thinks up 7 3-letter rhyming words, how many letters does he have to type in total? Bonus: Poems called “sonnets” have 14 lines, while “haikus” have just 3. On which day does Antoine type more lines, a 10-sonnet day or a 20-haiku day?









Wee ones: 3 rhyming words.

Little kids: Different for everyone…see if you can rhyme with your name! Bonus: $8 more.

Big kids: 21 letters. Bonus: The sonnet day is more line-heavy: 140 lines v. 60 lines.
And here is Antoine’s poem – thank you Antoine for the inspiration!

it’s a system
it’s a system of an infinite
number of systems
it’s the imagination
at play
inventing dimensions
into dimensions

turning an equation into
a sculpted crystal
floating somewhere
around which
the mind circles

it’s the art
of creating sideways
back alleys
and getting stuck into
nerve-wracking dead-ends
and try again
and again
till it equals

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