The End Of The World Poem by Archibald MacLeish

The End Of The World

Rating: 3.3

Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb
Quite unexpectedly to top blew off:

And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing -- nothing at all.

alan barlow 13 September 2009

The last line of the first verse should read '...the top blew off.'

10 6 Reply
JB Mulvey 07 May 2018

A deceptively simple sonnet about the absurdity and futility of life lived with no hope of anything to come after it except the complete oblivion of death.

1 1 Reply
Robert Graber 27 March 2018

Line 8 should should say the top instead of to top. Thanks!

1 1 Reply
Ernest Davis 08 July 2017

In line 8, to top blew off should be the top blew off

1 0 Reply
Valerie Dohren 17 December 2013

Regardless of the typo, I love this - especially the second stanza. Cancelled skies - brilliant.

5 2 Reply
alan barlow 22 December 2011

Two years later, the same poem has the same typo: 'Quite unexpectedly to top blew off: ' should be: 'Quite unexpectedly the top blew off: '

10 5 Reply
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