A Prayer Before the End

Knowledgeable poet Gay Reiser Cannon, host of tonight’s FormForAll at dVerse, has invited us to try our hand at writing a quatern. Both rhyme and meter play a role in this form–I kept pretty close to exactness, but there are a few slight metrical replacements along the way. This was super fun–it’s amazing how much can be learned by adhering to a form. Anyway, in the spirit of the end of the world predicted for this month . . . 

A Prayer Before the End
All former things will pass away—
A ball of flame; forgetfulness.
At any rate, the wise seers say
A bang or whimper ends it all.
Some dream of walking golden streets
When former things will pass away,
No loss or pain will enter there
And night will fade to lasting day.
If I may ask for a delay
There’re things I’d like to do before
All former things will pass away.
I want to plant my spring garden,
Enjoy a walk beside the creek,
And watch the kids go out to play.
I’ll turn the lights out when I leave
When former things will pass away.

36 thoughts on “A Prayer Before the End

  1. ha. would be nice to pick our own time…and be able to cut the lights out ourselves when we are done…i would like to think you will be fine through the end of the year…i bought the mayans a new calendar…smiles…nicely done to form…


  2. I like this, Nico. Yes, I think we need to keep on doing what we need to do. Every spring, plant a garden. I like that attitude and way of life. I enjoyed this poem very much.


  3. How apropos while we're hearing once again these “doomsday” predictions. I think your poem is full of the sweetest human yearnings, to see things grow, to enjoy your children. Lovely use of the form!


  4. Thank you Grace–didn't have the time to plant this past spring. A whimper–I lifted this from Eliot's “The Hollow Men”:

    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.


  5. Thanks Gay–whatever heaven turns out to be, I don't think I'll like it much unless it strongly resembles the things I love here. Great choice for the prompt, thanks much!


  6. This may be presumptuous but I do not think the world will end this month. I have received nothing in the mail from my direct line to God:)
    Nice use of the form. There is a gentleness that runs through all your poetry which is very pleasing..a reasoned equilibrium and peace, that no matter how old I get to be, I am sure, I will never possess.


  7. If we started with a big bang why not go out with a big bang, right? No, I don't think we're going anywhere this month but I thoroughly enjoyed your write on our impending doom. Well done!


  8. I will let this poem say to me that the heavens contrived by religions sound drab and undesirable compared to even the simple pleasures of here and now.

    A good reason to shoot for heaven on earth and not in the sky. No matter how tempting the comfort of something better later.


  9. I can't argue with a direct God-line, now can I? Thanks Cress, for appreciating the gentleness I try to incorporate into my work–it's damned hard work, so that is as fine a compliment as I could wish for.


  10. Thanks Sabio–I've always thought that if a place in the Great Hereafter without pain and suffering sounds good to people, why don't we strive for that now, here, each day?

    Have you ever read Mark Twain's short story, “Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven”? I think you'd get a kick out of it.


  11. …i think your Quatern is the truth… full of contentment rather than anticipation on things not yet existing or happening… as you said all former things will pass away, this is indeed really true and if all just accept it and believe in it noone will ever be a victim of deception… a perfect voice to go with the form.. smiles..


  12. I think most people feel that way…that they want just a little more time. there are always more simple pleasures to be had, though planting a garden wouldn't be on my list, the walk sound devine and the kids–I could watch them for an eternity.


  13. Thanks RMP–the work of gardening isn't for everyone I guess, but there are plenty of ways to get the most out of each day. I think of that quote from Emerson, one of my favorites: “I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant.” (From memory, so it may not be exact. You get the drift.)


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