Fibonacci Poetry

Dear Liza,

You know I love learning new things. Today, walking to the bank, I did!

A teeny tiny library, last summer

I stopped at one of the Teeny Tiny Libraries in the neighborhood, just to see what was there, and I found two small poetry books called “Fifty Fibonacci Poems,” numbered X and XI, by Walter O. Beaton. This means there are at least nine other little books out there somewhere.

Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician in the 11th Century. Back then, mathematicians were looking for ways to explain God’s Perfection in numbers. Galileo even wrote “Mathematics is the language in which God has written the Universe.” Fibonacci came up with a sequence of numbers that related to The Golden Mean, or the Perfect Spiral, a way of showing perfect proportions. It is the shape found in seashells, flowers, and other natural things.

Fibonacci and the Golden Spiral

This sequence of numbers begins with 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13….. You can see that one and one make two, then one and two make three, and two and three make five. I especially enjoyed how this translated into poetry.

Mr. Beaton uses this pattern of numbers to decide the syllables on each line of the poem. The first line has one, the second line has one, the third line has two, and so forth. It makes poems that start slow, so to speak. Here is an example from Mr. Beaton’s book:




quite calmly

to someone in front

of her who simply wasn’t there

As you can see, these aren’t rhyming poems, but are more like a haiku, a small observation of a small thing, with words chosen carefully to both describe the situation and fit the pattern.
I think I will try one!




fills my lap

a puddle of warmth

convincing me I can be loved.

Yep, this is fun! I’m going to do some more and get back to you.


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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