The festival season is upon us. Groundhog Day may be safely out of the way, but President’s Day is ready to pounce, and Pi Day is right around the corner. Pi Day, you will recall, is celebrated each year on March 14. You’ll want to give your loved one something round, recall some of the splendid history of pi, and maybe recite a pi-ku or two.

What is a pi-ku? A pi-ku is a play on haiku. One form of pi-ku fits the number of syllables in each line to successive numbers in pi. You can find one such offering here by pi poet Mike Rollins of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

If you’re more of a purist for the haiku form, with its distinctive 5-7-5 syllabic stack, you might prefer something like this, as seen at TeachPi.org:

Unending digits…
Why not keep it simple, like
Twenty-two sevenths?

But suppose we doubly constrain the problem and use the number of letters in each word to denote the numbers in pi, while the syllables retain the haiku form. Michael Keith of Salem, Oregon, has some fine examples of this (PDF), including this one-stanza recapitulation of Poe’s “The Raven.”

Now a thud, a knock
unsettles my window panes;
The Raven intrudes.

But naturally what we really seek is a triply constrained haiku, in that it conforms to the syllabic and letter count demands while actually describing the quantity in question. Herewith I offer my own humble attempt at this numerical poetical trifecta.

Let C over D
(wheel perimeter on height)
equal its value.

Can you do better? Give it a try… it’s harder than it looks. (Thanks to my dad for filling me in on pi-kus)

14 thoughts on “Pi-ku”

  1. Shouldn’t we be waiting for 3:14:15 am on September 26 to celebrate?

    I’ll be up.

    Maybe set up a StarChamber ChatRoom for the event…

  2. On reflection, I think we should celebrate “Radius Day” every February 27 at 3:07:21.

    That’s (Length of Year) / (2pi)

    The average radius (in days) of our orbit around the Sun.

    Day I want a feast
    Celebrate we, Radius
    Every Feb 27 at 3:07:21

    I guess it’s a work in progress

  3. — In 1998, a newsletter titled New Mexicans for Science and Reason carried an article that the state of Alabama had voted to change the value of pi from 3.14159 to the “Biblical value” of 3.0.

    so there!

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