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Ode to Threes by John Atherton



3s (to be sung by Niels Bohr)

I think that I shall never c
A # lovelier than 3;
3 < 6 or 4,
And than 1 it’s slightly more.

All things in nature come in 3s,
Like ∴s, trios, Q.E.D.’s;
And $s gain more dignity
When thus augmented: 3 × 3.

A 3 whose slender curves are pressed
By banks, for compound interest;
Oh would that, paying loans or rent,
My rates were only 3%!

3² expands with rapture free,
And reaches toward ∞,
3 complements each x and y
And intimately lives with π.

A circle’s # of °s
Are best ÷d up by 3s,
But wrapped in dim obscurity
Is √-3.

Atoms are split by men like me,
But only God is 1 in 3.
–John Atherton


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Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955)

Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens


"To name an object is to deprive a poem of three-fourths of its pleasure, which consists in a little-by-little guessing game; the ideal is to suggest."