Tag Archives: Cycles

The Bell Curve

The other day Don asked me, “Have you ever noticed this about language, everything comes in threes?” He was talking about jokes, fables, lists in speech (e.g. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).

I thought about it and said that maybe it’s a common speech device because we need three items to be able to recognize a pattern.

And then I thought about this concept again. I’m always seeing it lately. I wrote it right after I wrote the cycles poem because I didn’t feel like I’d adequately conveyed the concept, and they tie together. One bell curve is half of a circle… if you blur your eyes when you plot it out.

Anyway, because it’s always in my brain, here it is:


Writers are taught to see

The bell curve of a plot.

Rising action, climax, falling action.


Sex has a climax. It fits the bell curve perfectly.


The life of a mayfly.

Birth, hours of development, a climax of mating, death.


Every little segment of time

No matter how small

Has a climax.


Inhale, hold, exhale.


Cut it smaller.

Just inhale.

The breath climaxes near the end, when you can’t take in any more and must stop.


A hummingbird beats its wings.

Lift, hold, fall.

The hummingbird darts to the next flower.

He arrives, partakes, departs. 

The hummingbird takes a meal.

He hungers, sips nectar, stops when he is full.

The hummingbird is caught by a predator.

Fear, struggle, acceptance.


We live in bell curves.

They all link together

To form the line of our lives:

A golden spiral.

One long corkscrew from the past to the future.

A double helix of plot curves

A never ending cycle

Of birth, death, birth, death.

Laundry Cycles

“After enlightenment, laundry.”

I love this proverb. It means several things to me:

  • No matter how much you try to think your way around it, the material world exists and must be dealt with.
  • When you attain enlightenment, you are finally capable of handling reality.
  • After you attain enlightenment, you’ll inevitably get brought back down again to square one.  Everything cycles. Laundry cycles. Heh.

I have a poem about cycles. I’ve referenced this concept before in other poems. Let me dig it up and see if it’s still any good.

…Hm. It’s not perfect but it has its moments. I’ll post it anyway. Maybe I’ll rewrite it one day when I’m not half asleep.


Death is like a birth

The quiet room

The person in pain

The inevitability

The climax

And the uselessness of those standing beside the bed

Their helplessness and inability

All you can do

Is hold the hand of the dying

And wish them speed

And wish them peace

And do the best you can

To make them comfortable.


The breathing labors

The breathing hitches

A moment of silence

And then someone cries.


Death is a birth

Out of the dead

Springs new life

First the microbial and bacterial

Then the insects and things without spines

Then perhaps a mammal will take choice bits

And a bird scavenges what’s left

Only bones and ligaments remain

A mammal breaks into the marrow

Insects and spineless things clean up the ligaments

Bacteria and microbes break down the bone

And we rejoin the earth

To become once again a plant, an herbivore, a carnivore, a human, a plant.

Everything in cycles

Cycles within cycles

Death within birth

Birth within death

Life in cycles

Crescendoes, abatements

Everything has been done

Nothing is ever finished

Everything corkscrews




And we are so dizzy with it

As we die,





Of course this has been noticed before

The wheel of time

The Mayan calendar

The Golden Spiral

And it will be discovered anew

By the next generation