For The Number 11

By Hans Ostrom

Sympathies to you, eleven,
the first echo-number, two
flagpoles, a football or rugby
goal. After the glamorous run

from one to ten, the system
needed a dutiful number,
and you stepped in. No good
numeral deed goes unpunished:

Peter Bungus, 16th century,
charged you with being evil.
Other cultures did as well.
So human: to ignore evil
that exists so as to invent
the sight of it elsewhere.

Eleven, may you
and seven seek a long
vacation, far away from
superstition, 18 days on
a beach or next to an alpine
lake. Two poles, a rope,
and canvas: a simple tent
for a simple number and friend.

This Poem Features In: