POETRY

Into Double Figures...

By

This is significant. A perfect ten,
Aim of toxophilites and dancing men.
Ten is important, ten's the magic key
To arithmetical complexity
And every calculation in our lives
Depends upon a double bunch of fives.
Digital aids which tackled childhood sums
(Despite the opposition of our thumbs)
Are crucial still—all numbers now, as then
Are multiples and particles of ten.
Of all life's big logistic problems, lots
Are solved adding noughts and shifting dots,
So here, my dear, is this year's Valentine
A metaphor, a symbol and a sign:
Though circumstances may be out of joint,
This card is decimal—and that's the point.

Ann Drysdale was born near Manchester, raised in London, married in Birmingham, ran a smallholding and brought up three children on the North York Moors and now lives in South Wales. She was a journalist for many years, writing, among other things, the longest-running by-line column in the Yorkshire Evening Post. She has won a few prizes and published several books, including a memoir, Three-three, two-two, five six, described by Raymond Tallis as “a masterpiece” and a quirky guidebook to the City of Newport. Her five volumes of poetry include Between Dryden and Duffy (2005) and Quaintness and Other Offenses (2009).

This is significant. A perfect ten,
Aim of toxophilites and dancing men.
Ten is important, ten's the magic key
To arithmetical complexity
And every calculation in our lives
Depends upon a double bunch of fives.