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Thread: Great Endings

  1. #1
    King of Plastic Spoons imthefoolonthehill's Avatar
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    Great Endings

    Hey everyone, I'm looking for some poetry (preferably modern) that has endings that you think are worthy of praise. Let the recommendations flow liberally.
    Told by a fool, signifying nothing.

  2. #2
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    Its not modern but it's ending is grand



    When I have fears that I may cease to be
    Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
    Before high-piled books, in charactery,
    Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
    When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
    Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
    And think that I may never live to trace
    Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
    And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
    That I shall never look upon thee more,
    Never have relish in the faery power
    Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
    Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
    Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

  3. #3
    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    The last 9 lines of Dryden's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day are some of the finest lines of poetry ever written, in my opinion.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

  4. #4
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    The last verse of Les Noyades:

    But you would have felt my soul in a kiss
    And known that once if I loved you well
    And I would have given my soul for this
    To burn forever in burning hell.

  5. #5
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    The closing lines from Ode o a Grecian Urn:

    When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
    'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
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  6. #6
    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    I've always been partial to the ending of the final poem of Montale's Cuttlefish Bones, which is "Sul muro grafito"/"Above the graffiti-covered wall":

    Tomorrow I'll see the wharves again,
    and the long wall and the traveled way.
    In the future that begins, mornings
    ride at anchor like boats in the bay.
    (tr. W. Arrowsmith)

    The effect is really built up from the thematic development of the previous poems, particularly of a varco, or passage. In this poem, the graffiti-covered wall - itself a telling image for human culture - blocks the poet's transcendence to the sea, leading us to a superb final image of the boats anchored in the bay. The boats, like the human spirit, are very well intended for varco, but are contained and halted. Fantastically resigned ending to a very disillusioned group of poems.

    The other one, on the Italian theme, is the ending of Leopardi's "On the Likeness of a Beautiful Lady Carved upon Her Tomb", which is actually in my signature. In English, it's:

    How do we rise - if we
    Are wholly low and frail,
    Dust and shadow - to such high sentiment?
    And if noble at all,
    How is it that our finest reverie
    Can be so readily
    For such slight reason both aroused and spent?
    (tr. J.G. Nichols)

  7. #7
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    e.e.cummings' "somewhere i have never travelled" is the first one that comes to my mind (great opening lines too):

    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens; only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

    http://plagiarist.com/poetry/336/
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    The closing lines from Ode o a Grecian Urn:

    When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
    'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
    Haha, T.S. Eliot really hated that ending:

    "this line [i.e. "beauty=truth"]strikes me as a serious blemish on a beautiful poem, and the reason must be either that I fail to understand it, or that it is a statement which is untrue. And I suppose that Keats meant something by it, however remote his truth and his beauty may have been from these words in ordinary use. And I am sure that he would have repudiated any explanation of the line which called it a pseudo-statement ... The statement of Keats seems to me meaningless: or perhaps the fact that it is grammatically meaningless conceals another meaning from me."

  9. #9
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    I have shamelessly neglected poetry over the years but some of it always remains at the back of the mind. The last lines from Oliver Goldsmiths 'Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog' are magical.

    But soon a wonder came to light,
    That showed the rogues they lied:
    The man recovered of the bite,
    The dog it was that died.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

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