The End


Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,

Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like

When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,

Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.


When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,

When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down

No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.

When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky


Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus

And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,

Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing

When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.


Mark Strand (Canada/USA, 1934-2014)

“The End”, © 1990 by Mark Strand from The Continuous Life by Mark Strand. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a Division of Random House, Inc

Source: The Continuous Life: Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990) and Poetry Foundation



Image cover: still from the Soudade Kaadan‘s last movie The Day I Lost My Shadow

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