Rosemary Dobson’s “The Three Fates” references the Moirai, or Fates, of classical Greek mythology—three sister goddesses who determine people’s destinies by spinning, measuring, and cutting the threads of life. In the poem, a drowning man pleads with the Fates for eternal life. Having been granted his wish, he is forced to relive his past over and over again—but in reverse order. The man suffers greatly, prompting the reader to consider the harm that might come from refusing to accept one’s lot in life. The poem’s narrative structure reflects the man’s destiny, as the audience learns the events of his life from death to birth. “The Three Fates” serves as the title poem and opening work of Dobson’s 1984 collection of poetry, introducing key themes such as art, nature, and mortality.