The first steps in mathematics . . . COUNTING!
I grew up on a farm and keeping track by counting happened often -- counting chickens, counting sheep, counting the number of weeks until the early transparent apples will be ripe . . . and when I read Tom Wayman's poem in Poet Lore I found a similar habit of relentless counting. I have not been able to obtain more than short-term permission for posting -- and so I offer here just a sample and, beneath, a a link to the full poem.
from Fifty Years of Stacking Chairs by Tom Wayman
Two of these chairs at a time
are easily manageable, so back at the empty rows
I fold three and haul them with both hands
across the space. Next trip I try
four: fingers on each hand curved
under the metal backrests of
two chairs. Fifty years
or not? Straight lines or semicircle?
Then clearing them. Anti-war event,
community protest meeting, union meeting,
address by a notable or activist figure
in a cause I endorse, or by a novice
or veteran writer, or panel involving
three speakers. Fractious debates, or
readings or talks I can hardly stay awake through
—chair after chair after chair:
my twenties, forties, seventies. . . .
Wayman's complete poem is available online here. It also appears in his 2020 collection from Harbour Publishing -- Watching a Man Break a Dog's Back: Poems for a Dark Time.