Response to “A Mathematician’s Lament”

A poem in response to Paul Lockhart’s “A Mathematician’s Lament”, inspired by the mathematical doodles of Vi Hart.

Inside a box a triangle sits,
Somewhere, perhaps in your mind’s eye,
Wide as the box, and just as high.
In short, the triangle barely fits.


What will the triangle’s area be?
A quarter of the box? Or maybe a third?
More than the box? No, that’s absurd.
Hmm, there’s a game here, you can see.


A curious game — but how to play?
Maybe you should draw a line.
To split the triangle, that looks fine,
From top to bottom, all the way.


Now two boxes sit astride
Where there had only been just one.
Twice the shapes means twice the fun!
And each contains more shapes inside.


The leftmost box is cut in half –
A line is slicing it in two.
Now equal shapes jump out at you.
It’s enough to make you laugh.


For on the right it’s just the same.
Your triangle, you can say with pride,
Takes half the box’s space inside.
It seems that you have won the game!


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