P:The statistician and the poet need each other,
But not yet.
S:You need us now.
Without a theory of probability
To guide you -
P:Not the unguided but the unguarded moments
Are the most beautiful
S:Poetry is measure and measure now is population
All signs signify groupings: we count people.
P:There are nonmeasurable groupings that defy
Time and space and run wild as numbers
S:We call that Brownian motion, stochastic.
P:Stochastic rain, stochastic snow, the populace,
The monkeys who sleep in different groups each night
Unpredictable in the rain forest.
S:I seem to remember that image from the work of Cohen,
A statistician of monkey sleeping groups
P:This is the rain forest and it has no scientists
Only invaders, stripminers, depopulaters
The clever critic made a joke about the word
Depopulater and the sophomores laughed.
S:What you need isn't the apocalypse but the apocalyx
Taking off the green shield of the flower
In whose middle you'll find the new peopling
P:Number may be the sine qua non of lyric
But without number lyric is still lyric
Without number or the space or time it yields it is still lyric
But strip statistics of number and there is nothing
S:There is collective rhythm
P:The next dance then?
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(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
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William Butler Yeats
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