The mathematical constant
represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to
its diameter. It is an extremely important value for geometry,
trigonometry, calculus, Fourier analysis, quantum mechanics, and so
much more. It has
exact rational or finite decimal form, but its
As a trick to memorise the digits of pi, some people have used
"piems", which are text phrases in which the number of letters in
each new word is equal to pi's next digit.
For example, the phrase
is a piem, since "May" has 3 letters, then "I" has
1 letter, then "have" has 4, and "a" has 1, and "large" has 5, etc.,
corresponding to pi = 3.1415... (The decimal point in pi, and any
punctuation or capitalisation in the phrase, are all ignored.)
Some other classic examples are:
- May I have a large container of coffee, cream and sugar?
- How I wish I could calculate pi.
- How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures
involving quantum mechanics.
It is fun to make up piems yourself (try it!). Some quick simple
examples I once wrote are:
At a family gathering we once had great fun making up:
- May I bend a small telescope so poorly?
- Yet I hope I might disparage or insult those who think everyone
kindly made up:
- Did a fish I think everybody in Canada knows was dying
remember Hollywood, despite believing all of the innuendo?
- Can a frog I fried insinuate or assert trees are green?
- How I love a stats professor in Canada whose hat
flaps whenever windswept Toronto bewitches him at the Solstice.
But these are mere trifles.
has written the astounding
(expanding an earlier version),
which encodes nearly 4,000 digits of pi, in an incredible variety of
writing styles from The Raven to Jaberwocky to Hamlet. It begins:
and then goes on and on
from there. He has also written about various
piem rule options.
One. A Poem: A Raven.
Midnights so dreary, tired and weary,
Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore.
During my rather long nap -- the weirdest tap!
An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor.
``This'', I whispered quietly, ``I ignore''.
I once introduced my STA201
students to piems, and invited them to create their own. They
obliged with such examples as:
And most exciting of all, I e-mailed Mike Keith about my piem interest
and class, and he replied by writing a personalised piem just for me:
- Now, I want a candy, chocolate, or sugary drink, and bacon sandwich.
- Can I find a sunny addressee to entrap?
And I hope I might transcend my finals!
Bet a coin I could bodycheck my sister.
- How I want a break? Extremely of course!
- For I have a great question to ponder,
Seven and three multiply intensely towards twentyone.
How is any solution real?
- Why I wait? I shout, *Metropass!*
"I'm frozen, you're bad, you're careless, expensive, hurtful,
imperfect -- why do you continue this attack on joyful life?"
- Yes, I love a grand scripture.
In lesson there are poems.
Flawless teachings produce deathless men, oh yes.
Poetries warn humans to create life, not low demoness.
Man is eternal, certainly right;
ironically so, avoiding mentions from a scripture
because a person conflicts vex -- reputably atrocious do's.
It doesn't get much cooler than that!
- Yes, I know a loyal supporter of Pilish poems: the great
Canadian professor Jeffrey Rosenthal.
-- Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, January 2018
(See also my note about Pi Instant.)
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