Not everyone knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
What he's held by the sea's roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he'll never go back.
When time has passed to prune the rose or to caress the cat,
When the sunlight torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not everyone knows what he'll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky
Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of the cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not everyone knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into the darkness, there at the end.
'The End' from The Continuous Life: Poems (Alfred A Knopf, 1990), © Mark Strand 1990, used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a Division of Random House, Inc