I've always been fascinated by the lottery, and when I decided to turn my attention to it as poetry, I found it difficult to avoid being whimsical. This lottery poem is a quick and easy way to give you a poet's example of luck.
The first line of numbers developed in stages,
containing old house numbers, birthdays and ages,
the second was five lucky numbers, plus one,
and the third, fourth and fifth lines I snuck in for fun.
I went to the counter, with countenance sunny,
gave over my numbers, and then all my money,
the cashier looked glum as she gave me my ticket,
perhaps knowing I had the one that would win it.
She gave me my trophy, with all five rows on it,
that read like a numbered Shakespearean sonnet,
and clearly there sat, in those thirty bold digits,
the answer to everything - ready for business!
The evening came quickly - the lottery show!
The glorious numbers rolled into a row!
A sweet set of digits... that I didn't pick -
my ticket was useless, it made me feel sick.
I tore up the paper and sat so fed up,
As the man on the screen wished the nation "good luck".
And then the most wonderful thoughts hit my head -
Maybe it's my turn next weekend, instead!
As much as I know it's silly, I still enter the lottery on a weekly basis. I know perfectly well what the odds are.
Speaking of which, I love the way that the lottery is statistically and mathematically stacked against you. Not just in terms of numbers - but also in terms of common sense. I think I understand the probabilities involved, and yet I still struggle to get my head around it, sometimes.
For example, I recently won with one of my lines: 4 numbers - Â£59. Woo-hoo! However, this lottery win was far from poetic, because it introduced some common sense and paradoxical doubts. You see - If I won with that line and 4 numbers came up, my brain told me that that line was now tainted by the win. The chances of those same 4 numbers coming up (and 2 others, please!) were surely now lower - and I should stop playing that line altogether... right?!
Well, no, of course not. The lottery doesn't work like that - no matter how many rhymes and reasons you come up with trying to convince yourself otherwise. It's still just as likely to be the outcome of the next draw. And the next. And so is: 1,2,3,4,5,6! It's crazy, but it's true! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my lottery poem.