Friday, August 26, 2011

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Thirteen

No...this is not a picture of the path of Hurricane Irene.  It is a colorful depiction of the original 13 colonies of the United States.  Why?  Read on...

13 Ways of Looking at 13

I.                   Friggatriskaidekaphobia – which is the fear of Friday the 13th, as is…

II.                Paraskevidekatriaphobia – which is also a fear of Friday the 13th, not to be confused with…

III.             Triskaidekaphobiawhich is a fear of all things related to the number 13, which is the polar opposite of…

IV.             Triskaidekamania – which means you must really, REALLY love the number 13.

V.                There were 13 original colonies in the USA.

VI.              It’s a prime number.

VII.            Apollo 13.  Houston…we’ve got a problem.

VIII.          It’s part of the Fibonacci sequence, which is poetic as well as mathematical.

IX.             Teens can’t wait for this birthday, because then they can proudly announce to the world that they are officially teens.

X.                A deck of regular playing cards has 13 spades, 13 hearts, 13 clubs and 13 diamonds.  In addition to a couple of jokers, of course.

XI.             Most modern American apartment buildings do not have a 13th floor.

XII.          Ancient Sumerian used a zodiac which consisted of 13 constellations and 26 main stars; the shield of the old Slav divinity Prono was decorated with thirteen white points and there are thirteen cords of the harp in Japan.

XIII.       A Bakers Dozen – If you buy a dozen donuts or bagels, you get one extra donut or bagel, which is always a good – and (as I see it) a lucky thing!

Notes:  This little list above was written in response to a prompt by We Write Poems

The idea was to pen something in the same vein [sort of] as Stevens' '
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.'  And just so you know, the picture of the map of the original 13 US colonies was not a test to see if you could identify the states by their shapes.  (Ha!)

            Rather, it was posted in conjunction with my list, but more than that, it is also a message to all my friends who live on the eastern seaboard to please take the advised precautions and to please stay safe.


  1. A “clichéd route” perhaps, as you said, but where you stopped and paused along your way was nothing common in how the poem felt while reading it - including from your colored harvest of colonial states (wonderful, bright) and surely too the list of phobias and manias beyond my dictionary’s range! (I need a bigger book!)

    Also, beginning as the poem does, it shakes loose any thoughts of the common place, making ready the reader to look with newer fresh eyes. I say that because even while some of the items were hardly “news”, they still felt that way within the reality created here. That made the read enjoyable. Someone else did a numeric poem too, however I think you only overlapped by maybe two or at most three attributes - creative I’d say of that.

    And to close the poem’s list of “unlucky” 13, here again the poem pulls out the rug, changes course, and observes, appreciates that baker’s dozen to be “a lucky thing!” Wonderful tail for this poem to wag!

    Thanks so much and I look forward to reading more of your poems.


  2. I had this idea too, but you beat me to it, so I posted an older poem. I like your take on it, especially how you started with fear and ended with luck. I also liked stanzas six, eight, and nine.