THE WHIMPER AFTER: A FUGUE
This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper. ---From “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot
After after, is there anything or anyone leftto sing the hammock songs? After after,
will you still be there waiting, a warm blanket
in your hands, to throw the flannel on my lap,
lest I drool myself to a sundown slumber
and promptly forget it gets cold in the winter?
Aiee, amor mio, despues de nuestros amores,*
when love is gone, after all the countless days,
where shall we find that place called after?
If it is lost, too, might there be some other?
By sundown, they will be gone, like long shadowson my porch walls. All the fierce singing done,
what remains is the quiet murmur of the bourn.
Its stream will not return, nor will the swallows.
But while they flitted from tree tops to broken
perches, did they not cry out their bravest songs?
These are our elm trees, these are our willows,
we pieced our homes here together, we roosted.
At the bluffs, we find the edge of the woods muted
now. Soon, even the cackling gulls will dive a final
swoon, catch the last crayfish lost on boulders left
bare by ebbing tide that must also leave its shore.
It is troths like these that will not last, nothing
endures. The silence can only become a whimper.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA