Pandemic Poetry #46 / Here’s To Endings

I wanted to write a poem about how we don’t give enough credit to endings. About how we fret and mourn over things ending, when more often than not, things an ending is a wonderful and freeing thing.

This year, I got divorced. It was a big ending, and a joyous one. That’s not to say sadness, regret and grief haven’t come up as well, but overwhelmingly, I’m celebrating the ending of my marriage as much, if not more, as I did the beginning of it.

I also find the concept of focusing on the new beginning problematic. Many times when I’ve felt anything strongly about the ending of a creative project, I’ve gotten (usually unsolicited) advice to simply focus on the next new project. I wrote a blog post about that once. People kept saying when one door closes, another one opens. But why can’t we celebrate how much strength it takes to close doors? Or acknowledge how hard it is to choose which door to open next? Or even just revel in being in a shut-up room for a minute? It’s quiet, and calm and the possibilities for getting out of it are infinite.

That space is a weird and unfamiliar one to be in because we’re always rushing to the next beginning. Around the time of submitting my divorce application, I did some work on becoming more comfortable in that space with coach Ellen May, just taking stock of the ending, the myriad possibilities of new beginnings and breathing in that moment between them.

So, here is my poem to endings. Suitably, it was one I found difficult to end in a neat way so I’ll probably go back and edit it. But for now, it’s done, and I’m happy to be sharing it with you.

Here’s To Endings
Raise your glass for resolutions
This poem is a celebration of culminations
This poem is a salute to stopping
The appreciation of termination
A carnival of conclusions
A gala of goners
A toast… to being toast

Here’s to endings
To the closing of doors and the drum-kick finality of slamming them shut
And in that reverberation
Nothing else has to open
It doesn’t have to be a new beginning (even though it probably is)

So here’s to endings
Here’s to turning your back on something toxic
And celebrating the shock of dancing on air for the first time in so long
You’ll still be picking eggshells out of your soles for a while yet
But right now, you can walk any way you want to

Here’s to endings
Here’s to the smell of clean floors
As you lock that door for the last time
And hand back the keys
Leaving a spotless flat
That your real estate agent can’t possibly find fault in

Here’s to endings
To the moment of silence as the crowd waits for more
And then the roar of appreciation
Followed by the numbing ache of a hole inside you after the final curtain closes
Showing you how much of yourself you gave away

Here’s to endings
Here’s to the final chapter
Turning the last page after the last full stop
And the feeling of a job well-done
A book well-read
The comfort in the return on the hero’s journey
It’s the same same but different; not quite the status quo
And here’s to putting that book into the library shute tomorrow and never reading it again

Here’s to endings
Here’s to coming home to a cold dark house, stale after a holiday
Unpacking of the suitcases straight into the washing machine
The sand still in the pockets
But once you put those clothes on the line and open the blinds it’s home again.

Here’s to endings
Here’s to sitting in your car in the driveway for just a minute
Before you open the door and get on with your day.

Here’s to endings
May they be sat in and savoured
May they be bathed in and basked in
And drunk in and devoured
Hold them in our hearts for just a moment before turning to open another door
May we find the joy in endings
Before they fulfil their own destinies
necessarily becoming beginnings


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