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Our dream of safety has to disappear

10 October, 2013

The post title is from W. H. Auden’s Leap Before You Lookfull text at this page.

Years ago it was pointed out to me that the rhyme scheme is

abab bbaa baab abba aabb baba

illustrating rather neatly that “4 choose 2 equals 6”. Note also that the last word of each stanza alternates between “leap” and “disappear”, and that there is a kind of “reflectional symmetry” in the order of the stanzas. Specifically, the transposition of a and b has the effect of reversing the order of the 6 4-tuples.

Hmm, maybe I should try this as an example if I get to teach a course introducing people to finite groups…

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