Friday, December 10, 2010

Poetry Friday: Hyper

I don't know how much time you have today. Enough for both a math doodle video and an exquisite poem about ADHD?

The video captures the quicksilver leaps of the human mind when it's chased by boredom into a world of knots and snakes and other satisfyingly twisty and mysterious doodle patterns. The poem, in a similar vein, ponders stillness and speed and perception. Each asks us: what's the rush? And I don't mean that in the standard "stop and smell the roses" way. I mean it as: what's the joy? What's the reason? Why do we bother to look?

Doodling in Math Class: Snakes and Graphs (with thanks to James Gurney, for posting this.) A commenter on his site says "The creator of this amazing clip is Vi Hart. Her website has many more such treats. She is the daughter of a creative math teacher and sculptor, George Hart, who also has good things to see at his website."

an excerpt from the middle of

by David Baker

Let me put it another way. After
twenty-four math problems, the twenty-fifth
still baffles her, pencil gnawed, eraser-
scuff-shadows like black veins on her homework.

It's not just the theory of division
she no longer gets, it's her hot clothes, her
itchy ear, the ruby-throated hummingbird's
picture on the fridge, what's in the fridge, whose

socks these are, why, until I'm exhausted
and yell again. Until she's gone away
to her room, lights off, to sulk, read, cry, draw.
No longer trusting to memory, she

writes everything in her journal now, then
ties it with a broken strand of necklace.
Of her friends: I am the funny one. Mom:
She has red hair and freckles to. Under Dad:

I have his bad temper. I know. I looked.

In one sketch she finished, just before we
learned what was wrong—I mean, before we knew
what to call what was wrong, how to treat it,

how to treat her—she captured her favorite
cat with a skill that skips across my chest.

read the entire poem here

Poetry Friday is hosted today by the fabulous Jama at alphabet soup.


  1. Whew! This post is a rush! Thanks for the mental gymnastics :)!

  2. the poem is fine, but that video is awesome. i seriously don't have the math gene, but i *think* i understood that, and some of her other videos as well (yeah, i should be doing other things, but, the internet is a rabbit hole sometimes...).

    now, to forward the links to a couple of girls i know who could use some instruction in more constructive doodling...

  3. That video rocked! Thanks for posting it....

  4. Wow.

    It's one thing to look at ADHD from the outside (and try to understand and deal with it) and quite another to be inside it going 90 mph.

  5. I am totally trying those doodle games, esp the first two. Didn't quite get the third one.

    And I love the ruby-throated hummingbird and the skill skipping across the chest!

    Thanks, Sara!

  6. Early morning catching up on my blog reading and I find this! You have brought me to tears. I live with boys like that. Not necessarily the math and doodles, although something like that, but the poem. Lord have mercy. What grace and gift they bring mixed up with baffling beauty pain.

    Hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas morning love.


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