APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!
An Astronomer, a Mathematician, an Inventor, an Essayist, a Farmer, a Naturalist, an Author, a Surveyor, and a Poet.
The Sable Genius was born in Maryland in 1731 to former slaves. He grew up on his family farm. Benjamin Banneker had little formal education. His grandmother taught him how to read and write. Benjamin Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy and mathematics came naturally, as he was self-taught.
His accomplishments include building the first wooden clock that gave the precise time for over 50 years until his death. Building an irrigation system for his family farm. Publishing almanacs, ephemeris, foretelling of solar eclipses, and helping to design The Nations Capital.
Without further ado, I present a math-problem poem crafted by the Brilliant Benjamin Banneker, which was published in one of his Almanacs.
PUZZLE OF THE HOUND AND THE HARE
fleecy skies have Cloth'd the ground
With a white mantle all around
Then with a grey hound Snowy fair
In milk white fields we Cours'd a Hare
Just in the midst of a Champaign
We set her up, away she ran,
The Hound I think was from her then
Just Thirty leaps or three times ten
Oh it was pleasant to see
How the Hare did run so timorously
But yet so very Swift that I
Did think she did not run but Fly
When the Dog was almost at her heels
She quickly turn'd, and down the fields
She ran again with full Career
And 'gain she turn'd to the place she were
At every turn she gan'd of ground
As many yards as the greyhound
Could leap at thrice, and She did make,
Just Six, if I do not mistake
Four times She Leap'd for the dogs three
But two of the Dogs leaps did agree
With three of hers, nor pray declare
How many leaps he took to Catch the Hare.
Just Seventy two I did Suppose,
An Answer false from thence arose,
I doubled the Sum of Seventy two,
But still I found that would not do,
I mix'd the Numbers of them both,
Which Shew'd so plain that I'll make Oath,
Eight hundred leaps the Dog did make,
And Sixty four, the Hare to take.