Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Carolyn Forché

TOWARD THE END

TOWARD THE END

TOWARD THE END

In this archipelago of thought a fog descends, horns of ships to unseen ships, a year
passing overhead, the cry of a year not knowing where, someone in the aftermath

who once you knew, the one you were, a little frisson of recognition,
then just like that—gone, and no one for hours, a sound you thought you heard

but in waking darkness is not heard again, two sharp knocks on the door, death
it was you said but now nothing, islands, places you have been, the sea the uncertain,

ghosts calling out, lost as they are, no one you knew in life, a moon above
the whole of it, like the light at the bottom of a well opening in the iced air

where you have gone under and come back light, no longer tethered
to your own past, and were it not for the weather of trance, of haze and murk, you could

see everything at once: every moment you have lived or place you have been, without
confusion or bafflement, and you would be one person. You would be one person again.





Close

TOWARD THE END

In this archipelago of thought a fog descends, horns of ships to unseen ships, a year
passing overhead, the cry of a year not knowing where, someone in the aftermath

who once you knew, the one you were, a little frisson of recognition,
then just like that—gone, and no one for hours, a sound you thought you heard

but in waking darkness is not heard again, two sharp knocks on the door, death
it was you said but now nothing, islands, places you have been, the sea the uncertain,

ghosts calling out, lost as they are, no one you knew in life, a moon above
the whole of it, like the light at the bottom of a well opening in the iced air

where you have gone under and come back light, no longer tethered
to your own past, and were it not for the weather of trance, of haze and murk, you could

see everything at once: every moment you have lived or place you have been, without
confusion or bafflement, and you would be one person. You would be one person again.





TOWARD THE END

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère