“this is the way the world ends…”

That would be “not with a bang, but with a whimper”. Good spot by Lindy McDowell, since it’s worth reading the whole thing (if you can bear Eliot’s bleak vision). She goes on to argue that for all the contending narratives around what the last forty years meant, in the end history will decide.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

  • Superb poem, very impressed

  • Rory

    It is indeed a superb poem, Abdul, and you do well to be impressed as who, of any sensibility, would not?

    I am not so impressed by Lindy McDowell’s article however as it does not say much more than an old truism that “only time will tell”. And indeed it might. But only really of its own moment of time.

    I fear that her use of the poem to preface her article only highlights her failure to glimpse where the poet may be going with it. But then who am I to say? Lindy McDowell’s reading of Eliot is just as valid as mine or any man’s.

    I trust she will accord me a similar courteous latitude in interpreting where her article might be leading.

  • Yeah: old Toilets (anag.), again.

    You so-and-sos have never had to teach him, have you?

    Now go back and explicate that stuff.

    And stand up to do it before young, thrusting intellects who have no experience of The Heart of Darkness, Dante, the Anglican liturgy (rarely having darkened the door of a place of worship in recent years) … and probably have only a passing acquaintance with Guy Fawkes.

    It really takes the shine off it, y’know.

  • George Gay

    Kinda funny and fitting with the poem reading the UDR held the line against terror.

    I like the way FFC uses this poem in Apocalypse Now, surely the best (anti) war movie of all time.

  • Mick Fealty


    I humbly submit that you may only be listening with that bad ear again… 🙂

  • Rory

    …or maybe reading with too sharp an eye, Mick.