Difficulties arrive in waves,
lending weight to the theory of threes,

the plunging fund, a failed engagement, the self’s
doubt, all combined to inflict the particular

misery of the ongoing, the continued, inelegant fate
that declares us human. Look,

she says, the hummingbird flits from leaf to
flower, its wings beating 58 times a second,

a fact not to be trifled with, for what may we duplicate,
contemplate, even, at that pace?

Say the hedge gets clipped, the ring whirs off the finger
and back to the jeweler, and all you know for certain

is that you don’t know. There is no why, no how. No
way. Or life’s reel unwinds and plays only in

reverse. Where do you stop and splice it, forming new,
uncharted worries? And what about that damned

bird, buzzing around your head in territorial fury? Yes,
yes, I know. These things are not my concern. Not really.

But they arrive in unending repetition, one after
the other, in clumps of three – lovely, lonely,

triple-threaded lines of vicissitude lapping at our ankles,
saying nothing, saying everything, saying it used to be so easy.

Originally published in Eclectica in July 2014.


30 thoughts on “Threes

  1. Especially a three-wheeled motorcycle coming at you at 100 mph.

    More seriously, I get it! I noticed the theory of threes in the deaths of celebrities years before it became fashionable.

    If you and I go first, the U, S. Poet Laureate should begin to feel the heat!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of the cyclic nature if life. That things seem to happen in threes is strange but true. I absolutely love the lines:
    “triple-threaded lines of vicissitude lapping at our ankles,
    saying nothing, saying everything…”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful poem, I really liked it! Yes, life happens in cycles, nature does and so do we. In Germany we say, all good things come in threes – just a different interpretation of the same principle. Some time ago I pondered on ‘8’, a number showing up in my dreams, supposedly hinting on the never ending cycle. A poem emerged which till today carries a mystery. Your poem reminded me to reflect on the nature of cycles, thank you for that!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A beautifully wrought poem (again!). But, but…. I love the number three. It’s like an acrobat (especially when it’s traveling with three by three other friends as a 9). Don’t wonderful things happen in threes as well??

    Liked by 1 person

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