Meditation on Statistical Method

By J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985
Plato, despair!
We prove by norms
How numbers bear
Empiric forms,

How random wrong
Will average right
If time be long
And error slight,

But in our hearts
Hyperbole
Curves and departs
To infinity.

Error is boundless.
Nor hope nor doubt,
Though both be groundless,
Will average out.

J. V. Cunningham, “Meditation on Statistical Method” from The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams. Copyright © 1960 by J. V. Cunningham. Reprinted with the permission of Ohio University Press/Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.

Source: The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams (Ohio University Press, 1960)

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Poet J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985

Subjects Crime & Punishment, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

J. V. Cunningham, poet, critic, editor, and general man of letters, gained the high regard of his literary colleagues for his concise, witty, epigrammatic poetry. In a 1961 study, The Poetry of J. V. Cunningham, his mentor Yvor Winters called him "the most consistently distinguished poet writing in English today, and one of the finest in the language." About the same time, Thom Gunn wrote in a Yale Review article on The . . .

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SUBJECT Crime & Punishment, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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