Michelle PantaleonEnglish 2Mr. Terzano14 January 2018The End Of “The World” Humans have been contemplating the cessation of times and a post apocalyptic world setting for as long as history can recollect. Although there are direct implicative insinuations that come with the phrase “the end of the world”, art in poetic form takes the conception of doomsday and offers an incipient perspective on the end of things as we know it. WB Yeats, Laura Kasischke, Bob Hicok, as well as many other poets all utilize their prose in order to demonstrate ambiguity as a source of tension; a temporal rift or shift whose consequentiality is simultaneously known and unknown. The “end of the world” is not only represented as an annihilation of the human race, but can additionally manifest itself as change and a renaissance of credences. Through their poems, the reader is given insight to situations that are no longer stable. New beginnings, as well as dealing with the ineluctable concept of things departing. This idea that chaos is inexorable ultimately takes the bitterness out of defeat by representing loss as inevitable, happiness as transient, and the contending forces as phases of an inexhaustible creative energy. Loss as well as losing things that were previously a component of our lives can be an arduous process to accept. While some manage to come to the conclusion that loss is inevitable, others dwell on the dubiousness of how long things as well as people will be around for. WB Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”, Laura Kisischke’s “At The End of the Text a Small Bestial Form”, and Bob Hicok’s “Leave A Message” all analyze loss and the way in which humans deal with the concept of it, as well as coping with it after something is already gone. While all three poems fixate on loss as a central theme/topic, “The Second Coming” and “Leave A Message” focus on the aftermath while “At The End of the Text a Small Bestial Form” centers its attention on loss afore there is something to lose. WB Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” written in 1919 mourns a world devastated by war and a tremendous loss of human life. The first two lines of Yeats’ poem say, “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/ the falcon cannot hear the falconer” (1-2). These lines suggest a situation that is no longer stable, in which the “falcon” has been disseserved from the “falconer” and the two can no longer communicate with each other. This sense of alienation represents tension; where the future is unknown due to this disconnect. While this poem may seem like an apocalyptic “end of the world” type of work, there are implications of new beginnings whose nature is uncertain. Yeats takes this loss and turns it into hope for the future. Similarly, Bob Hicok’s “Leave A Message” also analyzes loss and how it is human nature to try and keep chasing after things that are already gone, in hopes of a different outcome. In his poem, Hicok says “When the child died, the mother put a spoon in the blender/ When the child died, the father dug a hole in his thigh and got in/ When my dog died, I broke up with the woods/When the fog lived, I went into the valley to be held by water/ The dead have no ears, no answering machines that we know of, still we call” (6-11). Through this, the reader realizes the ways in which humans cope with what they have lost. The mother and father turn to an infliction of self harm, one more explicit than the other. We endeavor to divert ourselves from issues in front of us because for some, it is the only way they know how to keep surviving. Although we can no longer contact what is physically or maybe metaphorically dead, we still try because it’s just how we deal with the inevitability of loss. Humans hope that somehow they’ll be able to reconnect with what is already gone, just like Yeats’ poem ends with hope that there will be good to come. Another poem that reinforces this idea of trying to rekindle with what is already gone is “Each of us standing” written by Gregory Orr. “All our beloveds on board/ Waving from the deck/ Calling out our name/ Some of them singing/ Some just gazing at us with that look we loved” (8-13). This poem paints a picture of those who are living watching those who are departing and going on to the afterlife. Like Hicok’s poem, humans find solace in saying goodbye and keeping a sort of connection with those who are leaving forever. On the other hand, Kasischke’s poem focuses more on how people live their everyday lives, unaware of the pending mishaps that lurk. “The young lovers rowed a boat/The boy reeled in a fish/ The husband smiled, raising a toast/ While the children grew anxious for dinner/ While something struggled under the water bound by ropes” (16-21). In this instance, each person has their own beast underwater, their own fears and demons following them and waiting for the perfect moment to penetrate through the water and into their lives. Although the beast is there, we are too busy caught up in our lives to notice it. People live in the moment because that’s what matters, and just because we don’t see an impending problem doesn’t mean that there isn’t one there. Ultimately, coming to terms with the idea that stopping loss is impossible is the essence of what these poems are attempting to convey. While Hicok, Orr, and Yeats send the message that dealing with loss incorporates many different aspects, Kasischke seems to defend the point that loss as a whole should only be contemplated when it comes, because living a life scared of loss is a life wasted.Happiness is an emotion that can oftentimes be fleeting and temporary. There are always upcoming unforeseeable obstacles that throw things out of order and cause chaos to one’s heart and mind. All of the aforementioned poems recognize the temporariness of happiness, as well as abstract the bitterness of dolefulness by normalizing the loss of an anterior jubilant state. Yeats’ “The Second Coming”, Hicok’s “Leave A Message”, and Kasischke’s “At The End of the Text A Small Bestial Form” all contemplate the emotional impacts of a loss of happiness. All three poems make the statement that happiness is fleeting no matter what; therefore we should indulge in all of the happy moments we can experience. Yeats brings this point across when he writes “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world/The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned” (3-6). In this instance, the world is going from a previously calm and peaceful and happy state and is transforming into a place that is destroyed and in need of reparation. As mentioned before though, this poem also gives hope to the future and evokes the idea that even though happiness is no more, it does not mean happiness will be gone forever. Treating happiness as a transient emotion not only means it will inevitably be lost, but implies that it always comes back. Hicok also brings about this sentiment when he says “When the fog lived, I went into the valley to be held by water” (9-10). After giving instances of death the entire poem, he finally says “When the …. lived”. Although fog is supposed to add on to this uncertainty of life and what is to come (like WB Yeats’ poem gives an uncertainty of the future), life represents hope to some capacity. Eventually, the fog will clear up, which can be analogous to sadness leaving and happiness coming back in. Furthermore, Kasischke’s poem centralizes on an already happy state, with the impending catastrophe yet to come. Similar to how she represents loss as inevitable, she represents happiness as temporary when she says, “And the stranger’s face hidden in the family picture/The one imagining her freedom/ like the butterfly blown against the fence/ in her best yellow dress/by the softest breeze of summer” (7-11). This person in the photograph is somebody who is not happy with where they are, despite the fact that the photograph may capture a picture perfect moment. This person dreams of freedom and a life that they can’t currently live, but again the implications are that one day they will get to that state. Ultimately they will arrive where they want to be and come to the realization that happiness will flee from them there as well. Kasischke gives the message that one must be happy with where they are and stop worrying about places they could be. Destination addiction (the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, or in the next partner) is something humans should beware of because until we give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else; it will never be where we are. Trying to fight the natural course of life becomes emotionally exhausting. Rather than trying to fight with what is supposed to transpire, learning to accept circumstances for what they are and making the best out of them end up being the most appealing alternative. All three poems end up making the narrative that things are ultimately out of our control. For the most part, humans can’t avert loss because it is simply a component of life and something we have to deal with. Love, loss, happiness, sadness, are all things that come with life; and acknowledging the fact that these things come and go will ultimately make living a simpler experience. Kasischke captures this in her poetry when she writes “To have loved and to have suffered/ To have waited for nothing, and for nothing to have come” (12-14). Ultimately, by saying this, Kasischke makes the point that life is what you make it. One gets what they wait for and feelings like zealousness and suffering are just apart of life. Similar to Hicok’s poem, the reader is given the message that many of us wait until it’s too late to do something. “The dead have no ears, no answering machines/ that we know of, still we call” (10-11). In lieu of calling when the dead were alive and making conscious efforts to spend time with them, we often wait until there is no more time and we are left with the desire. Once death comes, it is far too late to try and get something or someone back; and accepting the circumstances for what they are seem to be the only viable option left. Additionally, WB Yeats also makes this point of living with a carefree attitude when he says, “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity” (5-8). Instead of waiting until there is chaos and anarchy unleashed upon the world and when things are coming to an end, we should live the way we want to before we are given a conscious time constraint or time limit to life. In conclusion, WB Yeats’ “The Second Coming”, Laura Kasischke’s “At The End of the Text A Small Bestial Form” and Bob Hicok’s “Leave A Message” all explore the doomsday scenario through the perspective of everyday life. Utilizing the context presented and conducting a deeper analytical search on the words presented, avail the reader to come to the conclusion that all poets concur on the conception that expressing woefulness over situations that are mundane in life ends up draining energy that could be utilized on more paramount subjects. In lieu of dwelling on what it is that you cannot control, it is a much simpler option to fixate on what is in front of you instead of attempting to stop things that are bound to occur. In the end, life is too short to be scared. Works CitedOrr, Gregory, et al. “It’s the End of the World.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2012, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/20121216-poems.html?scrlybrkr=945808aa.