## Math Poetry Contest

## Yuba College

Math Poetry Contest Winners

## 2017

Long Nights at My Kitchen Table

It's a pain in my eyes,

It's a pain in my hand,

It's a pain of a pain

And now I understand...

Since when is negative three plus six equal to nine? (I'll just pretendthatdidn't happen.)

Divide six and two,

Add ten to three,

Take a really quick break and then...

Why is everyone looking at me?! Don't you back away; you would crack too if your homework were this hard. Now, do we have any licorice left?

Come on, everybody! Let's play a game.

It's called Why Do These Problems Look the Same>

Do you know how to play? I bet you do.

Do you want to know why? Because you're in my class, too!

Now it's midnight and I have school tomorrow

And if I can't finish my homework, I'll probably just drown my sorrow in mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I have dreams of going to

UC Santa Barbara to complete a major in sociology

But that dream won't come true

If I fail, or worse, forget to do

This work.

And I've done both before -- it didlook good on my transcript.

However, it's not over until the fat lady sings.

And I can't sing professionally so my phone will play the aria from "Carmen"e

Now it all boils down to this

I can't forget and I can't miss

Anything.

Wish me luck!---Caitlin Beck

2nd-place winner

(untitled)

When you add letters

To a algebra problem

You must think harder---Drew Jensen

1st-place winner

## 2016

DentritesDendrites imploding,

Algebraic concepts exploding,

Oh why does my intellect diminish so quickly?

Confusion and anxiety appear so contritely,

Let my mind explore...

Word problems and more!

Order of operations,

Linear equations,

Slopes and percents,

X- and Y-intercepts,

Formulas and graphing,

The numbers and variables choreographing,

Absolute values and inequalities.

My mind can escape the whirlwind of perplexities...

At last, a break!

This is becoming a piece of cake!

Exponents ignite to my mind's delight,

Comprehension is in sight!

I can absorb polynomials galore,

And I can be sure to score!

My inspiration is clear,

To conquer my fears,

And be proficient Mathematician pioneer!---Petrina Keene

3rd-place winner

Solving Problems

Mx+b might be a mystery to me

Though some might disagree, knowing algebra is the key

After you get rid of all the debris, and turn off the TV

I can almost guarantee, that the answer you will see.---Sarah Jensen

2nd-place winner

Calculations

Calculations running through my head

The probability of making it.

Extending towards the infinity

The variables I can't control

Swarming exponentially

Trying to divide them

Faster than they multiply

Equally exhausting

But the solution is there

Waiting to be proven.---Juana S. Villa

1st-place winner

## 2015

Math --- The Locked-up Door

Locked by an algebraic expression of infinite knowledge,

a knowledge of uncertain inequalities and perfectly squared logic,

a logic unlocked by a key of the profound curiosity to complete the most simple yet maddening of

equations

and a right-angle sharp enough to dissect the seemingly endless trials and errors of human imperfection

displayed by pencil on paper,

but erased by the pride to move forward.---Hugo Fuentes

3rd-place winner

The Trinity Hockey Solution

The following limerick poses a question. It is not my work and I do not know the information of the author, as such, no itation will be provided. However, the response, in limerick form is my original work and the former is included for clarity purposes only.

"Some students from Trinity Hall

played hockey with a wonderful ball.

They found that twice weight

plus weight squared minus eight

gave nothing in ounces at all.

What was the weight of the ball."

My response follows:

"Assuming a positive mass,

were it filled with a noble gas,

then two times one cubic foot

of helium may put

the ball neutrally buoyant on grass.

Tus, confusing the players en masse."---Michael (C.J.) Cheek

2nd-place winner

F(x)+G(x)

Functions can move so fluidly,

Sometimes simple and linearly,

They can be slanted with some crazy slope,

Or can wiggle like sine, cosine or a vibrating rope,

They can make figures with parametrizations,

Or make a solution should they form combinations.

Alone they are independent,

But they can diverge or be convergent,

Functions can move far and wide,

Or be bounded by an asymptote where they keep to their side,

They could oscillate until they become nearly one,

Or go off into separate directions of infinity where there limit is but none.

But if they come so close tocross

A solution is formed and shows who's boss!

They share a point,

Maybe even form a couple of joints,

Should they oscillate and become one function

Evenwhole partsof their functions could be conjunctions!

The thought of a solution is so comforting,

Straight to the point without any grunting,

Hopefully one withouti's or silly roots,

One that's terminating and doesn't need simplifying routes.

Oh, functions, you can be such hell,

But at least there's an end for the back of the book can tell.---Emma Willard

1st-place winner

## 2014

This Mathematical Path We Call Life

So check it out, it seems to me

That we all need a reason

Some feasible way to explain the controversy that I'm seein'

Underlying theme, it seems the scheme's embedded in our being

Several of our best minds

Long ago invested time

The signs they spied unwind the mind

Reveal fractals concealed in life

Cognitive strife, is our prerogative

Might just abolish the right to live

Equalities sublime

Take the time, to rewind in this parabola

Perhaps you will find that it's kind of extravagant

The vertex is a perplexing method

Of introspection bet the axis of symmetry

Within we shows me my reflection

Planted deep within our soul's

The sequence, Fibonacci's code

The road we chose spirals out golden

As long as this life we don't goad...

Perfectly rational, 1 to 1.618

This masterful design's divine

I've begun to run into fate---Shaun Presley

2nd-place winner

Dyscalculic ConfessionThe less-known cousins of dyslexics

Receive not enough attention

failing math, dyscalculics-

-endure numerical dysfunction

Can't seem to solve expression

with thoughts divided into fractions

countless hours of dedication

arithmetic distractions

Mistakes made in calculation

triple-checking my division

time wasted on one equation

a dyscalculic confession---Hugo Fuentes

1st-place winner

## 2013

Math/LoveLike in math

Love is an equation

Add two hearts

Then subtract deception

Solve for X and you'll know why

Stay together and don't divide

Be happy and multiply!---Alicia Villa

Honorable Mention

TheDerivativeof LoveThere was a boy with bright blue eyes,

Who went by the name of HueOne 3.^{rd}Exx Cubed

Now Exx Cubed would let our sighs

For a girl he liked by the name of Little KellyExx Squared.

She was so sweet she was so nice,

Mr. Exx Cubed thought for her I wasderived.

But Hue's luck was not so great

See Little Kelly did not see him as a mate.

This little girl named Little Kelly Exx Squared

Now shederiveda like for a boy, but this boy's name was TimmyTwo Ex.

But Timmy did not like Little Kelly Exx Squared.

He said that he felt vexed,

Because hisderivedlove was for Little SuzieTwo.

Now here came the real question who does Suzie choose...?

It was no doubt in little Suzie's ming that shederiveda like for her hero,

A tall blonde fellow named Billy RayZero.---Rocio Rodriguez

Honorable Mention

Math in Nature

What a world we have received

Its glorious nature do we perceive

Its hints of math that seem divine

Embedded into earths design

Fractals are a wonder, seemingly endless

Snowflakes, seashells, lightning, portraying its finesse

Petals, fingers, trees altogether they've molten

A brilliant artistic number, a ratio that's golden

A hexagon in a hive, Geometry at its best

All the bees creating with nothing to protest

A Spider web, a sebra's skin, and illustrious grapevine

Math is artistic with its beautiful design

Web, dam, nest burrow, an eloquent hive

Stunning are these shelters, math used to survive

Math makes the world complete all the numbers we derive

Through its many sequences Fibonacci is alive

Up down left right it all can be seen

The world is full of math and anything in between

Math has been here since beginning of time

It has left its imprints even in this rhyme.---Zuhra FNU

3rd-place winner

L+if+eLife's spent figuring equations

Calculating uncertainties, variables, and degrees

These graphs and charts won't help me now

The formulas won't make sense

Where a+b was easy to me

I have failed to comprehend

The numbers have no absolutes

There's a negative under the square root sign

These powers and signs won't raise me up

This notations too long to condense

We combine and divide

The radius and diameter infinite

The polynomials not factorable

In the end under my square root sign

Theitells me it's imaginary

There was never a real answer at all.---Heather Sutton

2nd-place winner

Analysis of You and MeBernoulli's Inequality

cannot constitute my quandary

for this convergence in probability seems less random when I'm with you.

No causation without manipulation

Nonlinear association

There's this logical disjunction when I'm proportionate to you.

My arms are an empty set

beget with hypergeometric opposites

Your game theory and intellect make me deviate from you.

I should've seen the base rate fallacy

the mean squared error of your mentality

When the outlier of my affection was unknown to you.

This damned heteroscedasticity

I should've tested my hypotheses

before I fell for prosecutor's fallacy, the prosecutor being you.

Separated by class boundaries

Correcting continuity

It's be a negation of reality f I ever were bivariate with you.---Ashlee Pitock

1st-place winner

### 2012

Mathicide

If

I

HANG

myself

From

a

variable

by

A

Negative

Frac tion

Will I hang

up-side -down

or Right -side-up?

Will I end up

InNegativeinfinityOr

Infinity?

y = x^{3}- 1/4---Shauna Heidelberger

Honorable Mention

Irrational Mind

Damn you complex rational expressions,

Your twisted ways leave me in frustration

Yourirrationalways

Deserve no praise

As I weep, without comprehension.

On the board in class it seems easy,

I go home and b egin to feel queasy

My brain is like flab

No help from My Math lab!

Oh how I wish math was more pleasing.

After some time, I start to get it

I no longer seem to fidget

No longer seeming mean,

Oh Crap it was just a dream

I awake to ... Partial credit!---Martin Salyer

3rd-place winner

The Composite Functions of Life

(foL)(x)

Life is a function, so short and complex.

The reason we live, we call f of x,

And while we assign labels, let L of x be life.

The composition of the reason we live, of life.

The variables of life forever change,

But our f of x is essentially the same.

The standard variable, substituted with life;

Makes for infinite solutions,

Those graphs a confusing map through.

Yet never do we see the sue,

Nor do we find understanding.

The answers to life are the "y" to that complex function:

"the reason we live."---Jacquelyn Shelley

2nd-place winner

A Math EpiphanyI wonder what the absolute value of me would come out to be.

We are often defined by real numbers, but don't you think it encumbers us to a certain degree?

I would hate to believe the 9 digit number assigned to me defined my destiny.

Or that my length, and width play a huge part of who I can be.

My center is what I want the world to see.

Being a well rounded individual is my desire, so to think outside the square, I pull up a chair and

listen to those whose knowledge is higher.

I'd like to believe that if my input is greater than any problem I encounter, my output should

equal positive power.

However, i tend to question whether the complexity of this journey could and should be

simplified, or is it best to just enjoy the ride?

I've come up with a solution to this lifelong journey of mine, and it is to rationally decide the set

of points I will leave behind.---Carla Rogers

1st-place winner

### 2011

His HeartThe whole of his heart is equally divided into two parts

One near and one far

Half for her and half for me

Oh, this love is just forever negative infinity

Because of his unfaithful heart

If that's the final answer then I rather be apart---Choua Yang

Honorable Mention

untitledLove and math have a strong connection.

Sometimes, both could become frustration.

Both of them need evaluation.

Though, both of them have different definition.

Both of them need concentration.

But I consider it an attraction.

For most of people, it becomes a distraction.

That is why, Love and Math have a strong combination.---Sumit Sethi

Honorable Mention

"i"

There was once upon a time

A square root who would always cry

He would sob and sob all day

For he felt full of shame

He was the square root of negative one

Oh God! What could he want?!

I asked him, what was the cause

Said he couldn't figure out who he was!

I explained he was imaginary

He thought the idea was kind of scary

Finally he was able to comprehend

It was then he lived happily till the end.---Stephanie Cordova

3rd-place winner

untitledThe "sine" I had derived love from you

is when we "cosine'd" a house for two.---Brittany Sheahan

2nd-place winner

Lost In Math 50

I have attempted math 50

at least four times

There was even a semester

when I did all of my homework online

First taken with professor Thoo

where I began to learn

but earning a grade less than a "C"

soon became my main concern

Near the end I dropped the class

I wouldn't make the grade

Then I turned to see if it was true

That math 50 is where I stayed

Pleased to meet young Dr. Stennmann

it was from Germany he came

He talked of lines that were parallel

And some with slopes and then

I thought oh boy I am lost in math 50

so I dropped the class again

Happy to see Joe Caputo

teaching my class this Spring

Now I'm sure this time I'll get it

His teaching is just the thing

This math semed to get harder

the more I tried

and in March of that semester

my little brother died

my heart truly broken

my head a mess

I was lost in math 50

I wasn't my best

Look at my new schedule

what is it you see

yep, I'm in math 50

this time with Dr. "D"

Now he's an amazing teacher

I learned a lot from him at last

Then I took my final

What I didn't pass

I sadly asked Dr. Davidson

why I didn't get a "C" He said, Lori I think you really get it

It's test anxiety

I cried then I laughed

and I said good grief

I am re-taking math 50

in total disbelief

I had to change my schedule

what will it be

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

is what was left for me

Now meeting early in the mornings

with professor Heaton

I've thought long and hard about this class

but I won't consider cheaten

Instead I'm trying, hoping and praying to God

this time I'll have it beaten

I will pass math 50 and then math 52

I don't care how long it takes

or if it's the last thing I do

I will not quit and be disgraced

to shame myself would be a waste

And on the day I finally shine through

I will give great thanks to all of young---Lori Muniz

1st-place winner

### 2010

For the Love of 3.14159The Rules Of These Poems

3 - Poems about π

The Architecture Of These Poems

1 - Overall idea about π to each poem

4 - Beats in the meter of each line in the poem

1 - Same four part beat for the whole set of poems

5 - Each part is divisible by five

9 - Parts to each poemThere are three poems

Each poem is broken into nine parts

Each Part has two lines

Poem 1 - The discovery of πArchimedes of Syracuse in a calculated move

Inscribed with in a circle a curious groove

Regular polygon only eight sides to name

This shape in circle would start π fame

Then repeated this shape circle circumscribed

A mirror image it was only larger out side

With pen and with paper he worked and decided

Twohundred twentythree by seven was divited

Known for fact this was less than π

Twenty-two by seven must be greater size

And so it began his great math experiment

With two Hexagons and a circle implement

He then decided more sides per poly

Closer the circle but this was his folly

His polygonal sides they grew in their number

He worked and worked sometimes without slumber

Enough! He said sides grew out of hand

Ninety-six is enough for this tired man

Poem 2 - The use of πAncient Babylonia the Greeks and the Egyptians

All were so fascinated and used π inscription

They built great buildings angle and straight

But building in round their math can't equate

These civilizations they had great men too

Who thought real hard about what to do?

All came up with slightly different variations

Some of them prayed with a mystic cantation

They all used π to make circles soune

Even in theatre they had their round

π Is used all through out our history

Great π is even used in geometry

In certain equations of sector and arch

Is used to figure out length and chart

This math alone has many neat applications

Such as the building of many military formations

Forensics and dimensions cylinders and more

What did I tell you there are applications galore

Poem 3 - The ongoing study of πThe stydy of π occupied the best

To study great π is one giant quest

Is π irrational in its unrelenting way?

Forever and always changing come numbers what may

The closes value of π still eludes us

This question is not science biggest fuss

To study great π is to study mathematics

Deeper mysteries lie still in the attic

Most math is done on a flat surface

Real life is changing with a purpose

π Can be used to help these grave situations

Adapting flat math with curved innovations

Take a triangle bend over a bowl

Take one step further use a black hole

A and B squared takes on a new meaning

Finite curvature makes your brain bleeding

These I know are quite fearful equations

π Will help you hardly any complications---Trevor Sutton

Honorable Mention

The Limit of my love

The limit of my love

As I approaches U

Reaches high above

Stretching out of view

It's the same as 1 over X

As X approaches 0^{+}Can't be expressed in text

My love you are my hero

I'd taken aback by the degree

That you take my breath away

Never ceasing to amaze me

Making me want to stay

The slope of your love

Is to me a sine

I will fly like a dove

If you'l be forever mine---Zac Law

3rd-place winner (tie)

You are as sweet as Pi

(dedicated to my ex-wife)Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Pi is irrational,

And so are you!---George Cheso

3d-place winner (tie)

δ =^{ε}⁄_{sanity}I am the epsilon,

He who lives in the world of the y.

Without understanding me,

Sanity becomes your limit.

Goodbye.

He is the delta,

He who lives in the world of the x.

Believe in him,

And you will find a path most direct.

Walk with delta,

Let him lead you to me.

Together we will find your limit,

You sanity.---Christoher Hall

2nd-place winner

My Life Through Algebra

If algebra has taught me nothingelse, it has revealed how to solve complex problems throughout

my life.

Not gifted in math, Imustpersevere during thorny formulas, double checkallof my answers,

and become evenmoreprepared; much like overcoming dissension and strife.

To properly simplify an intricate rational expression is a superior example of a lesson well

learned,

For I have encountered scores ofirrationals, and found that when broken down, most simply just

want to be heard.

There are times that quadratic equations resolve withmore than onesolution that works and is

right,

When applied to our journey in life, is thereanyacceptable explanation, or reason, for one to

argue, fuss, and fight?

Numbers do not discriminate, they do not judge; yet expose a naked truth with accuracy and

precision.

Aconstantand aconcept, I have access to when faced withmynext moral judgment call or

ethical inequalities.

Yes, lifecanpresent us with various slopes, unkown variables, negative outcomes, and even a

few inequalities,

Due to algebra, I am ready; for I am organized and equipped, and have become well versed

in these multifarioius properties.

One may find neverneedingto calculate the area of a right triangle another time; never again

required to unearth coordinates to graph,

Thous,Ichoose torememberPythagoras and this theorem, for if thepositive resultsand the

goodnessin life arenotsquared....

One may just forget to enjoyeachmoment, take a deep breath, let go, and permit a healthy,

hearty laugh.---Becky R. Martin

1st-place winner

### 2009

Ode to an Absolute Value

I like an Absolute Value.

Math is something so True.

Life is not an Absolute Value.

Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

Math can make me so dizzy,

Its Theorems and Rules to Busy.

Life can completely Annihilate.

Demons in Man spreading Hate.

I like an Absolute Value.

Math is something so True.

Life is not an Absolute Value.

Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

Math puzzles can stimulate my Mind.

Math puzzles can cause me teeth to Grind.

But life so Tenuous, so Fragile,

It is gone, but Math will stay awhile.

I like an Absolute Value.

Math is something so True.

Life is not an Absolute Value.

Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

Math is in everything we Do.

A rock not given its Due.

Crowds so take with the surface.

That will change, but It holds place.

I like an Absolute Value.

Math is something so True.

Life is not an Absolute Value.

Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.---Katrina J. Hopson-Donoho

Honorable Mention

Equation 4 a Better Life

To equal peace

We must subtract many variables.

Anger, hate and prejudice

Are the first coefficients

That must equal zero.

Nothing radical needs to be added

But what does need to be added is

Love, respect, and support.

It's an easy solution

After multiplying what we've learned to

The other terms.

It's an easy cube to break out of

With a simple degree of determination.

Don't be the divisor in life,

Be the one who unites.

Being positive will give you larger sums than being negative.

The greatest common factor between us all

Is that we are all have a heart.

The love we give needs to be constant and greater than any given before.

We all deserve at least a fraction of a chance and

We need to factor in each others thoughts and feelings.

This equation is easy as Pi.

All you have to do is apply.

---Annie Hill

3rd-place winner

1Hello, my name is One,

I'm known to some as the "loneliest" number,

It's true I came into this equation alone,

When times get hard, I feel divided,

Like a fraction of my whole,

To solve it I have to pick up the pieces,

Stick them back together even when I'm null,

As myself I am blessed,

To be the only One who is capable of an answer,

Capable of graphing these times out,

Without using other numbers,

We are all trying to figure out our own variables,

If you could see as another One,

You and I have to leave alone,

As One I need no other variables,

I'm happy being the solution, One---Christopher Makridis

2nd-place winner

The Girl Who Loved NumbersThere one was a girl who loved numbers,

the beauty of numbers;

for the golden, perfect spirals in

nature,

space,

faces,

fascinated her, inspired her.

She ate, dreamt, and breathed numbers

without end, always in search of numerical perfection.

The soft curve of a graph

would captivate her,

the endless possibilities of a variable

would fascinate her.

Numbers

seemed to grow out of her hair,

drip from her fingers,

spill from the deep recesses of her brain,

onto a page.

And there was a boy who loved her,

though he was to her like rain is to a desert,

nonexistent.

But he loved her,

and she loved numbers,

and day by day she would discover more and more

wonderful things

that could be

counted,

defined,

named.

And he would watch her there, in her small study,

and hoped for the day when she could

count his name

as valuable as that of pi.

As he was hoping, there came a day when he began to

ask her questions,

questions about numbers,

and she would answer him

short

and to the point,

so captivating were the number that day.

He persisted,

day by day,

to ask her questions, and soon he began to understand her search,

and she to expect his coming and questioning.

There was a day he

did not come,

and her thoughts were uncollected,

scattered and

disjointed.

She knew that some variables was out of place

without him there

to prompt her thinking with his questions.

She tried the problem again,

wishing he was there to ask her,

"What do you do next?"

And she did not know.

And rising, leaving,

she crept out into the green, waving world

that she had forgotten for so long.

But she could not find him,

and called for him from amont the trees...

but he was not there.

Darkness fell;

the perfect stars spiraled above her,

and thought she recognized their patterns,

she was lost

without the only living companion she'd ever had.

Despair is heave;

it sinks a person down like stone,

and she sank onto the cold ground

and waited...

and slept, at last, alone.

He found her;

with a touch of his hand, she awoke,

and realized that she had been looking for perfection

in the wrong place.

She looked into his face, hoping,

and her habitual eyes recognized the

pattern,

the mean of the measurements of his face,

and it was imperfect, human.

"I've ignored you," she murmured,

with a look of sorrow,

"...used you."

"It doesn't matter anymore," he returned, offering his hand.

She tried again to find what she was looking for,

and tried to look into his heart in some hope,

and the eyes of her mind saw that the

mean of his soul was

perfect and true.

She took his offered hand, standing,

and he led her back to her small house

where the numbers lay waiting,

and he bid farewell, with promised to visit

tomorrow,

and went away.

She watched his leaving in the still darkness,

and the moon rose over the horizon,

and she wondered at her new discover...

and she counted his name

as more valuable than that

of pi.---Elizabeth Trefzger

1st-place winner

### 2008

An Algebra Student's JourneyIt follows him,

A black and shadowed wolf,

Snapping twigs beneath its paws

As the lead in his pencil breaks

Again.

In the agony of the unknown, the student turns

To retrace his steps through the darkness.

But the parallel lines of the path

Are undefined in the black of night.

The wolf steals among the trees behind him.

Deep in the wilderness, deeper the night.

The foreign numbers thwart him.

Black pines against a bleak and starless sky.

The clouds in his mind block even

The sallow light of the moon.

In the mist, he turns again.

Suddenly, somewhere, he glimpses the path

As it winds, jumbled, through his mind.

A flicker of light casts trembling shadows

As the dying flame of his hope flares.

His breath gripped tight in his chest,

He stains his eyes, reaching, grasping in the night,

But the path is lost again in the darkness.

Silence falls as his flame crumbles,

Once again,

To embers.

The wolf closes in,

A midnight shadow among the trees.

Its restless eyes follow his every move.

Its panting echoes in the grinding

Of his eraser on the notebook page.

Midnight.

Weary with trying, the student falls asleep,

His head on his open textbook,

Pencil gripped between clammy fingers,

Paper wrinkled and worn beneath his hand.

His watch is ticking just past five AM when he stirs,

Dragging himself from his sleep because

The wolf is still there.

Lurking.

Pacing.

Watching.

In the shadowed pages it waits

For him.

Rising, the student grips his pencil,

The pencil with its lead dulled

From a dozen fruitless attempts.

Yet he brandishes it again against the wolf

As it yawns at him from the black numbers.

He does not notice the sapphire glow

Pushing up from the mountains and into the night.

Desperate, he retraces his steps again.

Paws follow. They are crunching, slinking shadows,

The sum of his terrors.

The path is still lost from him.

He stumbles.

The wolf still stands in the shadows.

He fears.

The trees still block him.

He stops.

Suddenly,

He wheels in his tracks to try a final time,

To face the wolf,

To face the trees,

To face the unknown.

Determination pounds in his heart,

Determination to grasp the elusive solution,

To overcome the wolf.

Unwilling to let the blackened branches bar his way

He plunges forward.

And as he does,

The darkness shatters

As the sun suddenly pours over the mountains with glowing

Light.

It is the light of broken clouds,

The light that dissolves wilderness darkness into

The azure mists of dawn.

In amazement, the student gazes at the dust beneath his feet,

At the forest floor he had traversed through the long night.

It is the path.

Behind him, paws tread over the leaves.

It is the sound of the wolf,

But he no longer fears.

Courageous in the light, he turns, ready,

His feet firm on the path.

The wolf near.

He waits, watching, as it steps from between the trees,

The sunlight sliding down its sleek back.

Free from the shadows, its fur gleams in the sun,

But it is not black like starlit waters.

Instead, it shines golden, like the light of dawn.

Now he sees.

The wolf's tail sweeps the morning air

As it trots onto the path to follow him,

Its breath steaming in the crisp dawn.

It is no longer a black wolf of clouded nights.

Now he sees that all along,

The wolf

Had been only

A dog.What this poem symbolizes:

The wolf symbolizes an algebra problem that the student cannot understand how to solve. The path represents the method for solving the problem. The student is lost because he cannot understand the method; the night and clouds represent his confusion, while the trees represent frustrations. However, the student perseveres, even though he feels like giving up. The breaking of day symbolizes the moment the student finally understands how to solve the problem. The student realizing at the end that the wolf was really a dog represents the fact that algebra problems, though sometimes completely foreign and exasperating, are nothing to be feared once understood.---Larissa Miyachi, student, Yuba College

3rd-place winner

The Existence of a LineI have been going on forever...

I am a line.

A line can be the shortest path between

two points,

but not I.

I am endless, enduring, invisible;

Scientists, school children,

mathematicians,

have all tried to draw me,

capture me,

segment me,

but only double-ended arrows pay tribute to my passing.

So I go on,

endless, invisible;

I am the edge of the ocean,

the gray smudge of the horizon,

the boundary between day and night.

Looking back, I see eras fading.

Looking ahead, I see a girl,

who stretches out her hand and

tries to capture a

segment

of me;

she erases with her pencil and tries once more...

Understanding dawns on her face,

and, for one brief moment,

in one sweep of her pencil,

I am a parabola

with no beginning, no end.

I pass the curve, and the arrow

signifies my invisible passing

in a new direction;

I saw so many things then,

I see so many things now...---Elizabeth Trefzger, student, Yuba College

2nd-place winner

GraphingSleeping,

your face sphere-like;

a pale moon, only

craterless,

not yet marked by life's many

unintended sadnesses

nor the unexpected joys:

the dips and ascents of a life graphed out

in its entirety.

You, my darling girl, are only just now beginning

where the smooth and laddered lines

of 'x' and 'y' meet

as if in a

quiet corner cafe.

You are innocent and perfect as zero.

In that ninety-degree corner

where at one time we've all begun,

you are yet unaware of

a world beyond the circumference of my arms.

As I hold you, I wish.

I wish to understand the overlapping

bell-curved lines of my grandmother's life, of her mother's

of my own mom's. Of mine

and now, of course, yours yet to be.

I wish to understand the repeating lines

we seem to plot for ourselves

one generation after another:

the same mistakes

the same triumphs.

I wish for you to rise above the statistics

that would clog a mind with its percentages

and defeat a spirit;

number upon numbing number

that would tell you who you are

who you will be

based on the length of your street

the angle of your home towards the sun

the location of your city's square common.

I wish for you to be that rare outlier of happiness,

that blip on the far right of the line people

cannot seem to fathom:

that unique space we all long to inhabit.

I wish for the plotted dots

of the lives lived out before your time,

to rise like bright stars around you;

a swirling funnel of light--

a guide as you plot your way:

graphing out a life.

My love for you is an equation of so many variables.

You are a beautiful force even as you start

clean and new:

(0, 0).

Daughter,

You are stronger and more complex than gravity:

You are

what holds me here.---Melysah Seaman, student, Math 15B, Yuba College

1st-place winner (tie)

Add up GunsAdd up guns

Subtract a breath

In this Mess

Each life is an X

When did cultures equal terrorists>

Better answers to this equation

The education of the suppressed

That means more cash

So instead we intrude

Instead they regress

Blood Equals Access

Access Equals Oil

So it's time to factor out lives

See the real prize from religion

Not that they're the same

But appreciate their difference

Use Ghandi's words for peace

Not for the Middle East

Use them to understand not separate

Use them to Love not HATE

Add up guns

Subtract a breath

We're in a mess where we're all an X---Christopher Makridis, student, Yuba College

1st-place winner (tie)

### 2007

UndefinedSeven plus seven plus nine

subtracted from eighteen plus five,

as the base of a fraction

drives me to distraction.

The answer cannot be defined.---Caolifhionne R. Mears, student, Yuba College

3rd-place winner

The Night Before the Math Exam

The train leaves at half past three

Traveling 90 miles per hour

It rushes towards me.

How much time will pass

Before the train and I become

A single twisted mass?

The formula I've been given

To prepare for such a test --

What a crazy game of chicken!

The train is thundering just ahead!

Then I awake,

Safe in my own bed.---Whitney Salis, student, Math 52, Yuba College

2nd-place winner

Newton's FollyIs it Sir Newton's path we now tread

Or could it be Mr. Leibniz, instead?

The planets, how they twirl and glow

Can you derive their path? I know,

Who's conjuring described the elliptic

With arcane symbols strange and cryptic

Shall I make some subtle inferences

To the magic of finite differences?

And what is it about an apple tree

That can bend our will to gravity

In Principia he weighed the earth

A contribution beyond worth

Still! At this moment I proclaim

That on his shoulders I heap the blame

No doubt secure his spot in history

Alas, for me is ruined the mystery!

Before, in my own line of sight

There was naught but a stream of white

But now has been made pretty the schism

Laid bare the spectrum with his prism

Who sees a rainbow and has the nerve

To care only for area under a curve?

Though truly does not boggle the mind

How a man by himself can be ten thousand dyne?---Jennifer Leimbach, student, Math 1B, Yuba College

1st-place winner

### 2006

ZeroIf I could but glimpse upon your edges,

Your never-ending possibilities

Would have the most profound effect

That anything times you is nothing except

What we started with but have not kept,

What you could be one day ...

A thousand ways I've tried

But nothing with you can I pay.---Corey Sherrin, student, Engl 45, Yuba College

3rd-place winner

Isolate the Radical

Isolate the radical,

Eliminate the negative.

Impeach everyone in public office,

Start over again.

Multiply the sum of freedom

With the soulds lost in war,

How much does it really cost

Take the president's daughters,

Make them fight on the front lines,

See if he feels the same way then.

Take the number of troops lost,

Add the number of troops injured,

Don't forget to add the ratio of innocent killed.

All in the name of what?

The sum of all souls lost,

Is too painful to calculate.

How many more must die to prove,

That we are the "Super Power"

Stupidity plus Irresponsible leadership

Adds up to the blind leading the blind.---Leslie L. Hazelton, student, Math 111, Clearlake

2nd-place winner

The AxisOn this axis in space,

This time, this place

Somehow, somewhere

We do exist.

Which plane and how,

Create the now,

I am sorry but I must persist.

Some may say my mind has gone

Because "I think therefore I am"

To place, to plot, to track are we.

Rene Descartes had it right with Cartesian.

The fist two axes are "Y" and "X" you see,

So logically, the third axis is "Z"---Angela High, student, Math 21, Yuba College

1st-place winner

### 2002

One Point in Time

As I stand on a plane,

I see one perspective.

A slight rotation,

and I can see another.

My possibilities are infinite

because I am one point in time.---Lisa Harden, student, Math 10, Yuba College

3rd-place winner

The True Sum of His BeingHis net worth was zero when he died,

a small dot on a data sheet,

a statistic on an invisible file.

Juan Carrasco, a fraction of light,

lived out his life in parallel orchards

where the sweat is bitter and cuts like triangles

of glass.

Carrasco lived a perpendicular life with the living,

never visible to the naked eye.

His average dark walnut eyes

did not call much attention.

The gray angle of his shadow

moving through magenta sunsets

faded before the remainder of memory

could make him whole.

And yet, I remember Juanito.

Note the outside, the crackled minuses of his being.

Not the presence that was invisible but the

diameter of a heart that vibrated with equal pulses of warmth

when he spoke.

His words were never charged with negative.

weapons that divided love.

His tools were small but larger than some.

Juanito would rise before the morning light and harvest stars

that had dropped in the horizontal fields.

At least, that is what he told the children who followed him sometime.

This was his true work,

not the harvest of purple spheres,

fruits that tasted like nothing.

His harvest was for those who needed wishes here on Earth.

For children and old ones that need them the most.

That is the Juanito I knew.

Not the numbers denying his existence

but the true sum of his being that equals human love.---Magdalena Reveles, student, Yuba College

2nd-place winner

My CircumferenceI'm lost in the circumference of a circle.

I run parallel lines inside my sphere.

I see trendy people with their acute angles.

They run around showing off their thin hypotenuses.

I,

Run parallel lines inside my sphere.

I've seen ignorant trapezoids

Beating on helpless squares.

I've seen beautiful people

With wonderful interior angles

Destroying themselves

Over their obtuseness.

Never understanding that

Not all things are rational

That the square root of one

Is not always one.

And that exterior angles

Aren't always equal to

Their interior counterparts.

That what appears on those

Large rectangles in all of our living rooms

Is only the product

Of too many variables,

And not enough rationalization.

I,

Run parallel lines inside my sphere.

It is the only sphere, I know

And the only line-- I know to walk.

It could be said that I'm trapped,

Watching, from the inside at all that

Transpires on my circle's surface.

I can live with that.

Because to me,

My line always faces front

And my circle always rotates

The way

I

WANT

IT

TO.---Zachary Torres, student, Yuba College

1st-place winner

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