Numbers Role in Society

April 14, 2009
By Anna Hughes BRONZE, West Tisbury, Massachusetts
Anna Hughes BRONZE, West Tisbury, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I gaze at the sky.
whereas below
greed grows awry.

put a price on life.
How much?

Flowers wilting on the vine...
hope crumbles away...
A child’s life put on the line.

Numbers, the root of

What really matters, lost out of sight...
Specters wandering in lost despite...

causes artificiality to flow down the drain.
People can no longer swim,
so they crawl.

A place
where numbers cannot
reach or limit...
What would life be like?

Death seems so simple
when it is expressed as a percentage.

The stress we’re all under,
Trying to fly higher.

In the end all that’s to greet
is a pyre.

So why study, why fret
when all we simply are,
are god’s petty little pets.

Counting the fading ticks,
Numbers fading into limitless abyss.
Will they be missed?

Five, Four, Three, Two,
How long?
Till we're all gone?

Will we be nothing?
Oh! but there must remain something!
A number!
A percentage on your news screen.
Numbers crawling in the background...

What cuts time swift and clean like a knife?
Because they put a price on life.

What makes Death seem simple and serene?
When the medium’s a statistic on a screen.

Why do so many of us end in tatters?
Because Numbers...
distract from what really matters.

The author's comments:
I was interested in how ideas and communication strategies benefitted society and how they also took away from society. Numbers were probably used as a form of keeping track of value or quantity during the early years of trade and etc. But I also think that so many things are "graded" and "stamped" with value because people use numbers to know identify quality. Greed has many roots but I believe the main root is the obsession with wanting high quality things. I just wonder, with the way numbers are being used nowadays(not just mathematics), are there some things that shouldn't be used for that they are used for now? Numbers are pretty common, even when classifying a serious subject, the subject is effected by how it's portrayed. For example, which is more effective, reading a letter to a relative who's child has committed suicide or looking at a pi chart at the yearly suicide rate? Think about it...

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This article has 5 comments.

cellef said...
on May. 11 2009 at 11:39 am
Your poem stuck with me all weekend and all I could think was that you must have been given the use of the soul of an ancient poet or philosopher. That is why you were loaned the name of Zen.

So I am in the front row, with your parents, waiting to see which of all your gifts will be the primary focus of your life's work.

Love, Christo

Erica703 said...
on May. 6 2009 at 2:07 pm
Powerful, thought provoking poem. The flow of the words and changing rhyme patterns keeps your voice in control. This is a poem I think I could read many times and keep finding new insights and unique ideas. Keep writing- you have a wonderful way of expressing yourself!

chucky said...
on May. 5 2009 at 8:44 pm
It made me look at how I think about numbers and numeric values. To put it into the context of a poem was very interesting. Please bring your others ideas to verse. Good luck and best wishes

lara76 said...
on May. 5 2009 at 6:30 pm
You're how old?!?? This is really great Anna /Zen! My main suggestion would be to tighten up the little things - take out the smaller words that aren't absolutely needed, play with the stanzas and line breaks. Stay focused on what main issue you are trying to address - this is going to be one POWERFUL poem lady. You're a political one just like me! XOXO Lara

jsahughes said...
on May. 5 2009 at 6:07 pm
I love this poem. Are we all just a number?

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