December 20: Sum

A whole can be, as Aristotle said,
So much more than the sum of all its parts,
But if we look at sum itself instead,
Linguistic variation it imparts.

For starters, dim sum, when enjoyed with friends
Is so much more than lunch with tasty food,
In Latin, sum’s “to be,” which then portends
A verb irregular and misconstrued.

And this is why our sums and our subtractions
Have multiplied as our divisions spread.
There is no function then, for mere abstractions
Accounting for those languages long dead.

Some texts were lost, but some survive unbroken,
And sung words will outlast those merely spoken.

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