On the End of the World

 Two Poems on the End of the World


To Frost


The World did not end in fire,

Whatever the Frost has tasted of desire,

Nor in Ice, although now surely twice

The lessons have we had of late

Of how that too sufficing hate

Holds a ruler to measure the great

And the small, and too a knife to slice

To fit when too great might inspire,

Little lumps blown up into humps

And bent over backs over burdened by fate

Whatev’ring its end, grumps, whatever, just end.

Too old to desire, and too cold of heart to hate.



Three Two One End


I’ve got a book on the Maya

Discussing the Maya forecasting the End

It begins with a Friar, a Spanish padre

Who came, by horsebacking an army

In silver seeking the same, come

Last to sacred caves and great holes of green water

Where Kukulcan divined the way of stars

And foretold from jewels of that friar’s face

Staring back from green water and into his own

And how he’d quail, and in fright tear away


To Merida, to light up a Cross bearing tallow

And there sit before a table, with pagan book open

Pulling out ciphers and counting on fingers

Pulled out from brown habits to tap out the years

Sighing at last, for the End, he said, would not come, not yet.

So long as he was on the earth.  The End,

He said, Father, is set for five centuries later, in Fire.

These Maya may enjoy, Padre, good service to the Crown


For their souls are wild, bodies patina’d with lust

But by work and routine, prayers rolled out in haste

These Maya might learn of sin, abjure pagan ways

Like declaring the End of a World, not theirs to lay waste


So the friar in smile turned from the Cross, and looked to the square

Of white light, flat fire, misshapen grown as a huddled form enter

And fell in the doorway: Kukulcan, the ancient

Returned to make one more revision, in the book.


A number long lost, dropt to a cave’s bottom, he to find

And now rolled out from his fingers: the absence of five

Centuries, deducted, down to the zero of his day, twilight,

While the square light turned grey, and soon violet dark

To shade out the day, the church where the priest in candle light

Red on heavy robe knelt, lifting from open hand this zero:

Adding to his figure, this cipher, and now back to wonder,

Padre priest and friar: when, indeed, his world would end.