A Magical Odd little Square

When Algorithm unfolds in poetry..

Sujatha Ratnala
2 min readMay 27, 2024

A trick from Highschool, and have enjoyed teaching it to many kids in the passing years.

Was inspired to make a poem. The problem statement and poetic justice, some design thinking.. the algorithm itself, the important milestones and some philosophy.. All of it wrapped in this whimsical little poem.

I was trapped in an odd little square land. The Law commanded..
Increment in each move..
Equal Sum in the row of homes..
Equal Sum in the column of homes..
Equal Sum in the diagonal homes..

Ah! What fairness prevailed in this odd little land? A very hard task at hand! If I were in a circle land, I might have just swirled and swirled.. May be the slices fair enough? But I was trapped in this odd little square land.

And wisdom did strike! The game of 4 moves..

Glide the RIGHT stairs UP UP UP {2,3} When hit the wall, rebounce left and one UP.. like a strike of carrom coin {3,4}

Again Glide the RIGHT stairs UP UP UP. When hit the TOP, a dead DROP and one RIGHT {1,2}

Again Glide the RIGHT stairs UP UP UP.. Sometimes, when totally stuck. Bow down and go one DOWN {15,16}

This journey begins with a single step. At the midpoint and on the TOP of the world. If I’m lucky, midway at the CENTER of the World. And in the final leg, in the midpoint of the FLOOR I rest. {1, 13, 25}

In this spiralling maze of flights, I ascend, I turn and sometimes drop. Like a sleeping wave I alternate UP and DOWN.. And in fairness make this enchanting trip!



Sujatha Ratnala

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Patterns, Science, Linguistics, Sanskrit et al..