How about also thinking about closers as well:
And for a breath of ecstacy
Give all you have been, or could be.
The cheese stands alone
Don't get me started here:
My current 5 favorites:
1. I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus, William Henley)
2. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. (The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Langston Hughes)
3. They also serve who only stand and wait. (On His Blindness, John Milton)
4. Put out my hand and touched the face of God. (High Flight, John Gillespie Magee, Jr.)
5. And that has made all the difference. (The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost)
Post Edited (10-13-04 21:59)
And what is more, you'll be a man, my son.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
(the last line of 'Ulysses', by Tennyson)
Post Edited (09-20-04 15:41)
"And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs"
"Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell, There God is dwelling too."
"Well, I'm back."
For the sake of others in the same boat, I'm gonna admit that there was one (ONLY ONE!) of those closers that was unfamiliar, but interesting enough to warrant closer (closer) inspection.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I would like to read the beginning of one of these fine works. Here I must emphasize that I am so erudite I only missed one (never mind that I had to check the dictionary to be sure of erudite... and emphasize). Well, however many (ONE!) I am clueless about, would it kill you to attribute this stuff? I know, I didn't attribute mine, and there's probably some fancy-pants computer-geek way of finding out, but gimme a break. Edit your posts.
It is here that I must admit that post-editing is beyond my poor powers, so I'll just tell you... I wrote "If". Not Rudyard Kipling!
God... even "editing" looked wrong to me.
I'm just having a bad day with "e" words.
Non-attribution was by choice when I posted the thread. I agree with all your objections to that choice. The aim was to get come back feed back from poster to poster to make the thread more of a give and take thing, rather than just a cast your bread upon the waters. If you're interested in a particular closing, you can always ask the person posting it about it. I'd rather get people talking, as in a dialogue, than get them hunting, as in a parlor game. I would think the postings would say something about the posters as well as particular works.
"buck buck buck bGAH !"
General Tso's Chicken
Consider the sou(r)ce.
"buck buck buck bGah!"
Colonel Sander's Chicken
I don't think it's "bGah!"
I think what the chicken really says is "Be-CAUSE!"
And I think that's the CHICKEN'S answer to the question, "Why did you cross the road."
But getting back to "closers":
I don't know whether these are really FAVORITES, or just closing lines that stick in the mind. (I was just reading a piece by Nicholson Baker, and he included a list of memorable lines by one of his favorite authors, and put an asterisk next to each one if it was a "bad" memory.)
* Last line of THE GREAT GATSBY: "... boats against the current..."
* Last line of Yeats's AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN:
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
(Had to check that one - can't recall if it's TELL or KNOW in the last line.)
Yeats means "How can we distinguish (tell apart) the dancer from the dance?" Quoted out of context--e.g., as a book title--the last five words lose that meaning.
* "The rest is silence."
Part of my affection for that last line of Hamlet (the role, not the play) is that the Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno loved it, too, but he misunderstood it. He thought it meant that RESTING is silent. He published an essay on Hamlet called "El Descanso Es Silencio."
*The last line of PRUFROCK: "... till human voices wake us, and we drown."
* And the last stanza of DOVER BEACH:
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Part of my fondness for these lines is that I first heard them as lyrics. The FUGS song "Dover Beach" is a sung version of these lines (omitting the next to last). I heard that when I was a young teen. When I read the entire poem I liked it, but I didn't like the whole thing nearly as much as I did those last lines alone.
This is from my notebooks:
some small thoughts on endings:
Paterson “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” “The Waste Land” “The Pisan Cantos”
Five books plus 5:246
We know nothing and can know nothing .
the dance, to dance to a measure
Satyrically, the tragic foot.
How it all ends, hesitant progress, reluctant retreat.
I learned, from Paterson how the wondrous dwells in the ordinary: daily language and the shared events of our social being or being social.
“An Ordinary Evening in New Haven”
XXXI parts 31:21
It is not in the premise that reality
Is solid. It may be a shade that traverses
A dust, a force that traverses a shade.
May be closer to innuendo
Stevens showed that no ground is the final ground for our being and our knowledge.
“The Waste Land”
V sections plus notes 5:28
Shantih shantih shantih
434. Shantih. Repeated as here, a formal ending to an Upanishad. ‘The Peace which passeth understanding’ is our equivalent to this word.
Repeated, to gain entrance.
Eliot took us to the edge of what we are and what we know.
“The Pisan Cantos”
If the hoar frost grip thy tent
Thou wilt give thanks when night is spent.
We are so fragile.
Pound exposed the gradations of human limit and the grace of our nature.
Each of the endings to these five works fills me with a breath that is almost too much for me to breathe: too full a breath to breathe in breath out and dance to.
For the beginning is assuredly
the end—since we know nothing, pure
and simple, beyond
our own complexities.
Long time, these lines: the problem of the closed shell, we’re born and die within, and but for imagination and the release of empathy and grace, we’re no better than the pain of an ingrown toenail. 64-65 “locked in the mind” Reciprocal, mutual implication, “an / interpenetration, both ways.” Ignorant and dying with knowledge of dying.
These are the four endings to the four poems that went most into making me who I am.
Peter, your four endings remind me of the poem-ending that is (I think) most commonly sought on this forum by people who remember it without recalling the poem it's from:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
--closing lines from "Little Gidding" (one of the "Four Quartets" by T. S. Eliot)
CORRECTION - I just checked and those are NOT the closing lines of "Little Gidding." They are the opening lines of the last section of the poem. But they have a wonderful closing feeling, don't they?
Here are the ACTUAL closing lines:
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Note for those who can't place it: "and all shall be well" is from a prayer by Saint Julian of Norwich. It's quoted by Pete Townshend in his musical version of "The Iron Giant" but I don't know if it's quoted in the book itself (by Ted Hughes ).
looks like the chicken croosed to the serious side of the street.....where I'd probably get arrested for loitering.
and all the while, i thought the conversation would turn to the militaristic aspects of chickens. and someone would complain to Stephen Broiler.
Foghorn leghorn bighorn head
the only rhode island is one thats red
forming a consensus doesnt constitute a quorum
when I try to turn this place into a poultry forum
I can't find it in my copy of the book. (Ted Hughes, that is. I have Julian of Norwich as well, but haven't checked to see if she quotes Ted)
Since we've expanded the thread to including non-poetry, the classic closer in Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" has always been a favorite:
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."
Come to think of it, the opener isn't bad either: "It was the best of times..."
I find the opening and closing lines of A Tale of...to be quite as poetic as much that passed for poetry in that century.
An old favourite of mine is the closing paragraph of the seventh and final book of The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S.Lewis) -
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Your allusion is most apt. Eliot's cadences in "Four Quatets" are almost mesmerizing, and the elliptical turns (figural speech) make it eerily the case that his and our endings shall be one. On a personal note I have alwys taken it as a sign of the oddity of my own poetic taste that the arch-enemy pole of Modern/post-modern English poets, Williams and Eliot, should be equally attrative to me.
I like your posting here, as always.
Julian of Norwich (1342-ca.1416) might not be quoting Ted Hughs, unless accompanied by either by the good Doctor or T.H. White's Merlin.
See her website:
She might have quoted Ted, but merely felt that he didn't fit with the rest of her visions. She is known to be widely read, maybe she could read in the future.
I just checked, she isn't the patron saint of television (she isn't a saint) that's Claire of Assisi
Mother Julian of Norwich -- not a saint ?!?!
My mistake - I apologize for any confusion (or beatitude) that caused.
But if she has her own website, she must be okay.
If the Czar and the Czarina and the Czardines can be saints, then it's wide open
never formally beatified, but considered "blessed" due to popular devotion
a be-at's as good as a saint, only in horseshoes
Sometimes I think Eliot's poetic use of mysticism in his later poetry is more interesting than talk about sainthood anyway. The use of history or of historical figures in poetry may in the end be more illuminating than the historical explication of historical allusions. It is something I do not yet have an understanding of that helps my interpretation of poems. Think about that for a second before passing. and all this does have poetic relevence to closing, but only tangentially.
Jack, I have updated my post, just in case any one else is interested in knowing these.
Oh, they were QUOTES, Les? I thought they made a nice little poem !
Would you be willing to tell, on friv perhaps, how exacly you "updated" your posting. I would be in your ebt.
Now even I can edit too ! See Johnny edit !
Post Edited (09-26-04 14:29)
Johnny, now that you can edit, could you go back and post explanations of your last 50 poems. Thanks.
To avoid confusion for those of us who have just learned to edit, please note that the edit feature does not work on previous posts, only new ones after registration has been accomplished.
Les, I will be happy to explain any specific one in detail ;-)
I found something uniquely poetic about this concept, and I thought it would help you with your plight:
And your ending is very nice.
this one may be a better link
Here Johnny, this will help you find your brain again:
Brain and Brain......what is Brain ? You are not Morg, You are not Imorg !
bachelorella number one.......KISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS !