#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was #MathsPoetry. Enjoy examples by Marian Christie, Robert Frede Kenter, Lesley Curwen, Tim Fellows and Jane Dougherty and read how they felt when writing one.

A poem for Robert

song, a
harmonica or
guitar lifts the bleak, dejected
afternoon; thrills, imparting joy as our precious bond.

How Did It Go?

Almost every day Robert Frede Kenter shares a musical interlude with us on Twitter (frequently more than one). Sometimes I hum along to old favourites, but often the musicians or melodies are new to me. As well as broadening my musical knowledge and appreciation, his posts are like a gentle hug and always lift my mood. This little poem is written to express my gratitude.

It’s a Fibonacci poem by syllable count, with the added constraint that the number of letters in each word is defined by the decimal expansion of pi (March 14, 3/14, is Pi Day). This required me to juggle two sequences simultaneously: the Fibonacci sequence for the syllables per line
1 1 2 3 5 8 13…
and the expansion of pi for the letters per word
3.14159265358 97932384…

And thank you, Paul, for sharing the delights and challenges of mathematical poetry through this #poeticformschallenge! You and Robert both do so much for the poetry community – we are all grateful. 🙏🏼 🙏🏼

Marian Christi

Two Fibonacci Poems


Tree like in winter
Without any leaves to sing with
I brought the light from the cabin to the wooded darkness &
Darkness is the holy fortune
Still like the fallen
Watch over me
Of stars

Fluttering Curtain

head on
the music of
all that we ask for
melodic notes jumping around
us we were dancing
the music of




Rapunzel and the Troubadour – A Routes Thru Poem (For Marian C.)

How Did It Go?

This was an exhilarating prompt – Maths week at constraint/forms. I worked on a bunch of different math-poems throughout the week and chose 4 of them to share. Big thanks to Marian Christie and her work on and writing about science – poetry -maths. There is so much territory to mine here and I will surely be continuing to read and to write and explore these intersections.

Robert Frede Kenter

(A Fibonacci poem)




thuds fast

no rein applied

gallops then races flat out

who ever thought speed would rise with age

reminding us of how it was to run like stink, oblivious to risks

like cardiac arrest, cracked femur, smashed specs or nose whose odds are never
reckoned when our brains are in their prime

Lesley Curwen

Hares are running

hares are running in the meadow again,
boxing for joy, for spring,
among new daffodils,
bending in

boxing for joy, for spring
is stirring blood,
wild and

Among new daffodils,
long ears

bending in


These winter days

These winter days are never silent
never still with flocks of homing birds
and trees that rustle handfuls of dead leaves.

These winter nights enrobe the rustling leaves
with hoar frost crisp as ice and silent
as the unseen swooping wings of night birds.

I hear them calling in the dark, the birds
that hunt the night fields. Filtered through the leaves,
moonlight streams, silver as the sea and silent,

but no birds stir the leaves in this silent moonlight.

How did it go?

Well! I think. Using a straightforward sequence of 1, 1, 2, 5, 8, 13 etc words or syllables doesn’t appeal to me much, but I had already been impressed with Marian Christie’s poem that merged the ideas behind Fibonacci sequence poetry and the trimeric, in particular the tide-like back and forth of the lines, overstitching, until the words ebb away completely. It gives a purpose to the diminishing (or increasing) length of the lines, an effect you don’t get with forms like the nonet that simply count syllables. I have written quite a few poems using this idea, and find it almost hypnotic.
The tritina is a form I’ve used before but hadn’t considered it as mathematical in any way, but that probably just reflects my ignorance of maths. The repeated end words, I found, risk creating a rather forced effect, particularly as the last word of one stanza is repeated in the first line of the following one. Also, the use of all three end words in the last line is hard to manage without it sounding like an afterthought or a make-weight. I’m certain it’s possible to write a good poem using this form. It’s a challenge, but that’s what we’re here for.

Jane Dougherty



They said I was
that I was wasting
my time
something where I
would spend my whole life
as some kind of heroic failure,
laughing stock,
lost in numbers,
an infinity of digits with no pattern
but as time passes
I find I just can’t stop…


No matter how big your family
you can never get
an equal slice of Pi


They took him to the square;
the centre of a town
in France, a small scared boy
in soldiers’ clothes who ran
and then, by order of
the King, they mowed him down.

The Trap

poised to host
a careless victim;
struggling in vain to save its life.
Would I watch, wondering whether I should intervene
if anything were caught within that sticky trap, break apart the web, or simply snap
the thinnest threads that hold the insect in its place, to free it from its jail, liberate
before Arachne wins the deadly race, but perhaps
its translucent wings are broken,
and, deprived of all

How Did It Go?

As a mathematician by training, I had to have a go at a few of these. The Fibonacci spider poem was also published on Wombwell Rainbow in 2021 as an Ekphrastic Challenge poem. It was National Pie Week in the UK this week, too.

Tim Fellows

Dave Garbutt

Bio and Links 

Marian Christie

was born in Zimbabwe and travelled widely before moving to her current home in Kent, southeast England. Publications include a chapbook, Fractal Poems (Penteract Press), and a collection of essays, From Fibs to Fractals: exploring mathematical forms in poetry (Beir Bua Press). Her new collection, Triangles, is available for pre-order from Penteract Press.
Marian blogs at http://www.marianchristiepoetry.net and is on Twitter @marian_v_o.

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer, visual artist, editor, designer, widely published. Work recently in The Book of Penteract (Penteract Press, 2022); visual poetry is forthcoming in a new anthology from Steel Incisors (2023). Poems recently in Storms Journal, Acropolis, Visual Verse, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fevers Of.  Robert is publisher, EIC and midwife at www.icefloepress.net.

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