18
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Who or what is this poem referring to?

Don't confuse me with a line
A line may contain me
And I may contain a line
But that's not my identity

I have one best friend
Though I don't often appear
When I do show up
He's almost always near

I can be round and tall
And may touch facial hair
But even when I'm alone
You may still see two there

Find me in ancient places
I am worth quite a lot
I can bring about the end
But I'm rarely in that spot

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  • 7
    $\begingroup$ The first two verses make me think of a point in projective geometry... $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 13 '15 at 14:57
27
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Is it

the letter "q"?

Don't confuse me with a line
A line may contain me

Don't confuse "q" with "queue", another word for "line". Also, a line of text may contain an "q"

And I may contain a line
But that's not my identity

"q" contains a line, but it's more than just a line.

I have one best friend
Though I don't often appear

The letter "u", but "q" is not frequently used

When I do show up
He's almost always near

"q" and "u" come together, usually

I can be round and tall
And may touch facial hair

Uppercase "Q" is round and tall. The lowercase "q" has a descender! Descenders in letters reach downward toward the "beard line" in typography.

But even when I'm alone
You may still see two there

An upper-case cursive "Q" looks a lot like the numeral "2"!

Find me in ancient places
I am worth quite a lot

"Q" is found in "quasars", which are ancient, else we couldn't see them. Also, the Greeks only used the letter "Q" for the number 90, but the Etruscans and Romans kept it for "Q". Also, it originated as the Phoenician symbol qop. "Q" is worth quite a lot in the game of Scrabble.

I can bring about the end
But I'm rarely in that spot

Pressing "q" to end a program (old-school). Also, very few words end with the letter "q".

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  • $\begingroup$ In which case I am surprised there is no reference to a queue being another name for a pigtail, or q denoting the number of farthings in old English coinage, or being a band of parchment attached to documents with seals at the end, or the forked (doubled) tail of heraldic beasts or a barrel of wine (Is this what is round and tall?). Q is often an abbreviation for "quit" to bring about the end, or "quarto" expensive early editions of Shakespearean plays. Cue is the conclusing word of a speech in a play. ("Cue entrance...") $\endgroup$ – Leo Goodstadt May 13 '15 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ Leo Goodstadt got the "bring about the end" clue - sometimes you can press q to end a computer program. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow May 13 '15 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ I was assuming "ancient places" was referring to "antiques" - valuable in their own right, but you're more likely correct I think $\endgroup$ – Jason May 14 '15 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ So many comments were erased. :( The "ancient places" clue was referring to the word "quasars", although a few other explanations worked too. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow May 14 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @JoshCaswell That is an ugly edit, IMO, with some of JLee's comments now interspersed among the poem lines. Also, the top 2 answers to that meta post disagree with the meta post and have a combined score of 10, so that meta post cannot be regarded as community policy. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow May 22 '15 at 1:24
8
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You're a

Rainbow

Don't confuse me with a line

Don't worry, you're a "bow"

A line may contain me

Light rays travel on a straight line, but if pointed on a prism, a rainbow is revealed

And I may contain a line

Rainbow colors are always represented as straight lines. E.g. the peace flag is composed by lines of different colors. Our parents (and sadly also me) know it best.

But that's not my identity

The most famous rainbow is the one created by rain.

I have one best friend

Sun

Though I don't often appear

When it rains, not always a rainbow appears

When I do show up
He's almost always near

Only when there is sun and rain a rainbow can occur

I can be round and tall

Round and in the sky

And may touch facial hair

YEAH! (Really no clue here...)

But even when I'm alone
You may still see two there

Double rainbow!! (actually is only one)

Find me in ancient places

There are a lot of references to rainbows in ancient mythology

I am worth quite a lot

Mmmh, I think this one is a hoax.

I can bring about the end
But I'm rarely in that spot

Have you ever tried to chase the rainbow? Even if an observer sees another observer who seems "under" or "at the end of" a rainbow, the second observer will see a different rainbow—farther off—at the same angle as seen by the first observer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Clever answer! As for the "facial hair", how about the bearded iris flower, iris being Greek for rainbow? $\endgroup$ – februaryInk May 14 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ the sun is not necessary for a rainbow. just light. $\endgroup$ – Keltari May 15 '15 at 16:36
4
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I thought of:

A colon (:)


Don't confuse me with a line
A line may contain me

A line of text may have a colon

And I may contain a line
But that's not my identity

Usually in play scripts, a character name is followed by a colon then a line.
It also may be that when quoting pieces, you may do:
      "A colon followed by a quote like I did right now" - Me 2015

I have one best friend
Though I don't often appear
When I do show up
He's almost always near

The best friend would be a semi-colon (;), and in lists, if some elements have commas in them, you use a semi-colon to delimit. Some examples: Me, myself and I; Red, green and blue; and fish and chips.

I can be round and tall
And may touch facial hair

I'm not sure about this one. The round may imply that the dots in a colon are round

But even when I'm alone
You may still see two there

The dots in the colon can look like 2 separate dots

Find me in ancient places
I am worth quite a lot

Not sure about this one.

I can bring about the end
But I'm rarely in that spot

Sometimes a colon can end a sentence, but very rarely is it said to be two separate sentences (Rather one larger one)

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  • $\begingroup$ +1, not a bad try. But I wouldn't say that a colon is almost always near a semicolon. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow May 13 '15 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ consider :) or :{) for the clue you're not sure about $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory May 13 '15 at 15:24
0
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Is it

brackets: (), [] ? :)


Brackets may contain a line and they also may be contained in one. There are always two of them (a friend) They can be round () and tall [] An may touch facial hair :-{ :-) Parentheses (brackets are included in this group) is an Ancient Greek word. Middle French braguette - bragget (codpiece armor, 16th century). Sure it was a worthy thing)))

Right direction?

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