Zero is an arithmetic hero,
Superman, Captain Fantastic,
Mr. Numerical rolled into one.
Zorro only a phoneme away and
look how the people loved him!
Billion, trillion, zillion are muscular
abstractions, movie stars in LA.
Nothing brings you back to earth,
to humble mirth like zero. But zero
is much greater than nothing. Before it
1 through 9 existed for hundreds of years.
Did they get as far? Are they so complete?
9 and 6 drew close to its symmetry,
but grew tired, turned in at the belly
and gave themselves tails, that like a
tadpole or monkey. Is that so evolved?
And 8's not so great, it tried twice to relate to
zero's symmetrical singularity and failed.
Numbers were useless without zero, only
employed to keep track of chickens and debts.
And what rhymes for 1 through 9 like hero?
He who keeps 603 from being 540 less.
My paycheck re-soundly thanks you, zero.
Zero, everything but stupid, planned
its appearance with cunning and calm.
Avoided Europe for hundreds of years.
The marketing strategy paying off big.
Overnight arithmetic went from counting beans
to the Queen of Math. Zero staked its claim,
became gatekeeper to positive and negative,
took on biblical proportions as the
origin of coordinate systems,
genesis to gardens of graphs,
completed algebra, enabled calculus to breathe.
Without it engineering, technological feats
forever-trapped inside dreams.
No Empire State, computer, relativity,
quantum leap. No Apollo, SS Enterprise,
pocket protector geeks.
So, next time someone calls you a zero.
Take a moment to think of all that it means.