Poems About Endings

By: Gefen Selchen

As the school year comes to an end (and summer begins) here are some poems about endings:

The Beginning by Rupert Brooke (excerpt)

Some day I shall rise and leave my friends

And seek you again through the world’s far ends,

You whom I found so fair

(Touch of your hands and smell of your hair!),

My only god in the days that were.

. . .

I’ll curse the thing that once you were,

Because it is changed and pale and old

(Lips that were scarlet, hair that was gold!),

And I loved you before you were old and wise,

When the flame of youth was strong in your eyes,

— And my heart is sick with memories.

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

In Passing by Lisel Mueller

How swiftly the strained honey

of afternoon light

flows into darkness

and the closed bud shrugs off

its special mystery

in order to break into blossom

as if what exists, exists

so that it can be lost

and become precious

The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot (excerpt) 

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 kingdoms

. . .

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.

In Memoriam by Alfred Tennyson (excerpt)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
  The flying cloud, the frosty light:
  The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
  Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
  The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

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