Of odd and even, the figure of natural man.
If an open hand equals five, what, then, is a fist?
The number of fear, of strength and severity.
Pressing the thorn into my thumb, I redeem.
Wood subdues earth.

Of Ishtar, the talisman of magic, the quintessence.
After the fall, the five.
Earth conquers water.
An outstretched body’s form: the pentagon.
Charred flesh, death in the air.

Of perfection and man’s limits.
Five wounds, five mysteries, the pyramid’s representation.
The hamsadeflects an evil eye.
Water extinguishes fire.
I close my eyes and see.

Of cone/cube/sphere/water/ether.
Metal cuts wood.
The staff serves time and pitch in music.
From waves to vibration to nerve impulses.
Nexus of the cardinal directions.

Of balance and harmony; the center.
Product of the first female and male numbers.
The Szechuan peppercorn confuses the tongue.
Fire melts metal.
When multiplied by a factor of itself, the end.


Numbers fascinate me. “Five” was published in the 2018 summer edition of The High Window. Many thanks to editor David Cooke for taking this piece.


15 thoughts on “Five

  1. Hi Bob! Fascinating read. 5 is significant for me this year…5yo boy and 5 year blogging anniversary. I have never really given 5 much thought. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 each have various reasons to be of interest, but not really 5…till now. ‘Hamsa’ in amharic is 50, and ‘amest’ maybe with a soft ‘h’ is 5…close to arabic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Bob, I’d call this wonderful poem The Fantastic Five. Despite the fact that I have nothing to do with 5, I’m quite sure that 5 is a special number. And I commend your effort for you’ve penned a fantastic poetry about 5 .

    Liked by 1 person

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