Poem Beginning With The Ending And Ending With The Beginning 

The ending is the clang of cans or a casket door closing. 
For a feel for narrative and a sense of place, 
go back to the beginning. 

I left the choir since I couldn't sing. 
I gave up tennis -- couldn't hit an ace. 
The ending is a wrong note, a shelved racket, a door closing. 

Now I'm a teacher who believes my teachings 
and all my ideas could be way off base, 
so I'll go back to the beginning. 

In one Elizabethan tragedy they imprison the King 
for bringing his wife daisies instead of Queen Anne's Lace. 
The ending is the echo of a dungeon door closing, 

and like a rain cloud, it hovers, menacing. 
The world is an epic poem that began in medias res
and we're still searching for the beginning 

of a song that will remedy our suffering, 
and for some form we can warm to, some pattern to trace. 
The sad ending, even for a king, his eyes irreversibly closing, 
is a mad desire to go back, back, back to the beginning. 



Poem Copyright 2001, Tom C. Hunley Stalemate: Image Copyright 2001 by Sharon Carter

Tom C. Hunley has published poetry in Switched-On Gutenberg, Hampden Sydney Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Curious Rooms, Apalachee Review, Cimarron Review..  He holds a poetry writing certificate, as well as a BA  in English, from the University of Washington and an MFA from Eastern Washington Univerity.  He is currently working on a Ph.D at Florida State University. 

Poem Beginning with the Ending... is a villanelle, a 19 line poem with an a-b rhyme scheme and an intricate pattern of repetition to the 6 stanzas. 

Sharon Carter obtained her medical degree from Cambridge University and immigrated in 1979.  Her poems have been published in many presses including Pontoon and King County Metro's Art On The Buses. Publications including her art are: Spindrift, Raven Chronicles, Chiyo's Corner, Disquieting Muses and the Permanente Journal. She has been awarded a Hedgebrook residency and is currently on the editorial board of Literary Salt.
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