ours is to reason why

sometimes we try to inspire
push our pupils ever higher

oftentimes we tell our friends
there are means to all the ends

i remember Mister Farley
said when my math was shaky

“yours is not to reason why
yours is but to do or die”

but sometimes the expectation
far beyond extrapolation

baffles and boggles and toggles
our minds and mathless goggles

frustration shuts our minds down
when we wear our duncey crown

even now we hear the rhythm
of each train car’s digit emblem

sum the square roots of each number
as the train cars past us lumber

the more he told the story
my ineptitude felt more gory

that whole year i barely squeaked by
imposter syndrome, all time high

put in the corner was the way
but sometimes out in the hallway

the next year was nearly as bad
i still struggled to even add

was i just daft or simply aloof
couldn’t finish the simplest of proofs

i was seriously slow
many times i couldn’t go

struggling at the starting gate
always behind, always late

but the tortoise has a shell
to hide from impending hell

it took me years, even decades
still the memories never fade

today i found through my phone
from math teacher Tina Cardone

“ours is not to reason why
just invert and multiply”

they suggest some better ways
find what works and make them stay

i still always reason why
hope i shall until i die

i see a train, my mind pivots
on each car five or six digits

even if i can’t take the roots
and sum them all ‘til the caboose

though the life sieve slowly sifts
we each craft our unique gifts

yours might be to travel the stars
or write an app to sum the cars

About Brad Werner

Technical Evangelist
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