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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Math Problem - Richard Fein

Math Problem.

Suppose you walk up a hill at 3 mph, then return directly down to your starting point
at the brisk pace of 6 mph, what is the average rate for the round trip?
No, it’s not 4.5 mph; it’s 4.

From the runes of algebra understand how and why bodies move.
Ascent requires struggle, and struggle requires more time.
The longer the time, the smaller the quotient of distance over time
and so the slower the average rate
at which you leave and then return to your point of origin,
if you can ever return at all.
Climbing requires sweat; descent demands nothing but inertia.
To rise like an angel takes a lifetime, to fall like Lucifer takes an instant.

Richard Fein has been published in numerous print and web journals including Southern Humanities Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Mississippi Review, Kansas Quarterly, Oyez, Parnassus Literary, Touchstone, Morpo, Snakeskin, PIF, Afternoon, Small Pond, Blue Unicorn, Soundings East, Sunstone, ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, and Oregon East.