End of the World in Verse

 

 

     The end of worldly existence may seem the domain of prophets, and to be otherwise some sort of surprise, but here are some poems which have foreseen that conclusion of our mundane lifes.

XXVI by ee cummings

when god decided to invent

everything he took one

breath bigger than a circustent

and everything began.

*

when man determined to destroy

himself he picked the was

of shall and finding only why

smashed it into because.

 

FIRE AND ICE by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

 

THE HOLLOW MEN by T.S. Eliot

I.

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpieces filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As wind in dry grass

Or rats’ feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar.

*

Shape without form, shade without color,

Paralyzed force, gesture without motion,

*

Those who have crossed

With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom

Remember us—if at all—not as lost

Violent souls, but only

As the hollow men,

The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams

In death’s dream kingdom,

These do not appear.

There, the eyes are

Sunlight on a broken column.

There, is a tree swinging

And voices are

In the wind’s singing

More distant and more solemn

Than a fading star.

*

Let me be no nearer

In death’s dream kingdom

Let me also wear

Such deliberate disguises

Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves

In a field

Behaving as the wind behaves.

No never—

*

Not that final meeting

In the twilight kingdom.

III

This is the dead land

This is the cactus land

Here the stone images

Are raised, here they receive

The supplication of a dead man’s hand

Under the twinkle of a fading star.

*

Is it like this

In death’s other kingdom

Waking alone

At the hour where we are

Trembling with tenderness

Lips that would kiss

Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here

There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars

In this hollow valley

This broken jaw of our lost kindgoms

*

In this last of meeting places

We grope together

And avoid speech

Gathered in this beach of the tumid river

*

Sightless, unless

The eyes reappear

As the perpetual star

Multifoliate rose

Of death’s twilight kingdom

The hope only

Of empty men.

*

Here we go round the prickly pear

Prickly pear prickly pear

Here we go round the prickly pear

At five o’clock in the morning.

 

*

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow.

 

For Thine is the Kingdom

 

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

 

Life is very long

 

Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

 

For Thine is the Kingdom

 

For Thine is

Life is

For Thine is the

*

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

 

THE SECOND COMING by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in a widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

Things lose their place, the center cannot hold

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

The blood-dimmed tide is unleashed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned.

The best lose all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second coming is at hand.

The Second coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight; a waste of desert sand;

A shape with lion body and the head of a man;

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Wind shadows of the indignant birds.

The darkness drops again, but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

 

COALITION by Ron Voigt

We shall unite, you and I. I’ve seen lions crawl

From your eyes and your hair flung on shore-rocks.

Your hands are nile and voice meadowgrass, but weeds grow

Between your fingers now.

We will walk on two sound beams

Shoved together arbitrarily and stand suspended on a slice of echo.

Flowers will turn to blue wind and lakes freeze to plateaus of sound

When we unite to heap broken stones skyward.

Tomorrow will fall before this matchstick like black nebulae

Disassembled by a breath.  Escape these two stones

And we will walk up the shadows before us

Chanting basic words like lyres to strangle form

And crumple worlds to paper balls and hollow wind.

 

THE LAST HOUR by Robert E. Howard

Hinged in the brooding west a black sun hung

And Titan shadows barred the dying world.

The blind black oceans groped; their tendrils curled

And writhed and fell in feathered spray, and clung

Climbing the granite ladders, rung by rung,

Which held them from the tribes whose death-cries skirled;

Above, unholy fires and wings unfurled—

Gray ashes floated down from where they swung.

*

A demon crouched, chin propped on brutish fist,

Gripping a crystal ball between his knees;

His skull-mouth gaped, and icy shone his eye.

Dawn crashed the crystal globe—beneath the seas

The dark lands sank—Ione in a fire-shot mist

A painted sun hung in a starless sky.

 

IT’S ALRIGHT MA by Bob Dylan

Darkness at the break of noon

Shadows even the silver spoon

The handmade blade, the child’s balloon

Eclipses both the sun and moon

To understand you know too soon

There is no sense in trying.

*

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn

Suicide remarks are torn

From the fool’s gold mouthpiece, the hollow horn

Plays wasted words, proves to warn

That he not busy being born is busy dying.

*

Temptation’s page flies out the door

You follow, find yourself at war

Watch waterfalls of pity roar

You feel to moan, but unlike before

You discover that you’d just be one more

Person crying

*

So don’t fear if you hear

A foreign sound to your ear

It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

*

As some warn victory, some downfall

Private reasons great or small

Can be seen in the eyes of those that call

To make all that should be killed to crawl

While others they don’t hate nothing at all

Except hatred.

*

Disillusioned words like bullets bark

As human gods aim for their mark

Make everything from toy guns that spark

To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark

It’s easy to see without looking too far

That not much is really sacred.

*

While preachers preach of evil fates

Teachers teach that knowledge waits

Can lead to hundred-dollar plates

Goodness hides behind its gates

But even the president of the United States

Sometimes must have to stand naked.

*

And though the rules of the road have been lodged

It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge

And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it.

*

Advertising signs they con

You into thinking you’re the one

That can do what’s never been done

That can win what’s never been won

Meantime life outside goes on

All around you.

*

You lose yourself, you reappear

You suddenly find you got nothing to fear

Alone you stand with nobody near

When a trembling distant voice unclear

Startles your sleeping ear to hear

That somebody thinks they really found you.

*

A question in your nerves is lit

Yet you know there is no answer fit

To satisfy and show you not to quit

To keep it in your mind and not forget

That it is not he or she or them or it

That you belong to.

*

Although the masters make the rules

For the wise men and the fools

I got nothing, ma, to live up to.

*

For them that must obey authority

That they do not respect in any degree

Who despise their jobs, their destiny

Speak jealously of them that are free

Cultivate their flowers to be

Nothing more than something they invest in.

*

While some on principles baptized

To strict party platform ties

Social clubs in drag disguise

Outsiders they can freely criticize

Tell nothing except who to idolize

And they say God bless him

*

While one who sings with his tongue on fire

Gargles in the rat-race choir

Bent out of shape from society’s pliers

Cares not to come up any higher

But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in

*

But I mean no harm nor put fault

On anyone that lives in a vault

But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him.

*

Old lady judges watch people in pairs

Limitied in sex, they dare

To push false morals, insult and stare

While money doesn’t talk, it swears,

Obscenity, who really cares

Propaganda, all is phony.

*

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed

Graveyards, false gods, I scuff

At pettiness which plays so rough

Walk upside-down inside handcuffs

Kick my legs to crash it off

Say okay, I’ve had enough

What else can you show me?

 

 

Contents