One of my favorite phrases (loved for the sound of it) first came to my ears during my college studies of abstract algebra: "multiplication is denoted by juxtaposition" -- and, within the phrase, I best like to say "juxtaposition." I enjoy its movement in my mouth, its sibilance in my ears. And so, of course, I set out to find a poem using the word. Having failed over many years to find the word in someone else's poem, I have written my own:
Multiplication by JoAnne Growney
Multiplication is the process
of taking one number as many times
as there are ones in another.
Juxtaposition is the notation –-
as in 3x or yz --
to denote multiplication.
Multiplication is a taking
of one with ones.
Multiplication takes times.
When does one desire
to do multiplication? Why
might a product offend?
How many times can one take
without greed? How many
juxtapositions to reach the end?
This poem began while I was browsing Geo. W. Hull's Complete Arithmetic (Butler, Sheldon, & Co, 1895) – on my shelf and also available at Google Books. I paused on page 33 at the definition of Multiplication – and the poem began.