Friday, February 7, 2014

Math & Science Poems by Karla Kuskin

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Please visit Poetry-Video-Queen Renee at No Water River for Roundup!

I'm back with another post featuring poems by Karla Kuskin. (Earlier post: snow poems.) Two of them are untitled. Readers, how do you feel about untitled poems? What about titles in general? Are they hard for you? Do they come first or last, or sometime in between? Curious about your habits and processes.

And now, take it away, Karla!


Is six times one a lot of fun?
Or eight times two?
Perhaps for you.
But five times three
Unhinges me,
While six and seven and eight times eight
Put me in an awful state
And four and six and nine times nine
Make me want to cry and whine
Sop when I get to twelve times ten
I begin to wonder when
I can take a vacation from multiplication
And go out And start
playing again.

- Karla Kuskin


To count myself
Is quickly done.
There's never more of me
Than one.

Counting bears
Is fun by ones
But funnier in pairs.

Counting the birds
On the branches of trees
Is hard on the neck
But it's easy on the knees.

It's even harder
Counting leaves
Than counting tiny birds.
They shift their shadows
With the breeze
Among the branches
Of the trees
More  numerous
Than whispered words.

Counting fingers
And counting toes is
A harder kind of counting
Than counting noses.

Counting rabbits running
Rabbit races on the lawn
Must be done while one is sunning
And before a rabbit's gone.

Counting the stars
As they glitter bright white
Is lovely indeed
And a marvelous sight
When the air is as fresh
As the first night in fall.
But I always have a feeling
That comes very softly stealing
When my head with stars is reeling
that I didn't count them all.

- Karla Kuskin


Many people who are smart
In physics, French and math and art
Cannot tell two bugs apart.

Bugs are just not very smart
In math or physics, French or art.
But they can tell two bugs apart.

- Karla Kuskin

Words cannot express how much I LOVE that last one! :)


  1. Yes, I love that last one, too! She's right, of course :-)

  2. Wonderful, I think "Counting" is my favorite. Could be because of the second stanza. :)

  3. That last one is funny. Thanks for sharing, Irene!

  4. The first one was me in the 3rd grade trying to learn my multiplication facts! So fun, Irene. Thanks for sharing. =)

  5. I don't like untitled poems that say "Untitled" where there should be something thought out. Funny, it doesn't seem to bother me if there is nothing there. That feels like a deliberate decision. Titles are hard for me. I have found that sometimes when I'm struggling, using the first line as the title works, but only if you're not working with a pattern that would be totally thrown off by that little trick. I do like Karla's poems. I've never tried a math poem. Maybe I'll have to now.


Your thoughts?