The Final Things

Poem by Ned Balbo

Eschatology: …a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind…

—Merriam-Webster dictionary


Matters eschatological obsess

Love Poets. They believe in Paradise,

but one that brings them Touch instead of Grace.

Transfiguration comes from ecstasies

reserved for day’s end, not the world’s­—a kiss

that leads to further, deeper intimacies

best privately pursued: the poet “dies,”

or suffers some embarrassing release.

But, no, he doesn’t die. Love isn’t fire,

Hell or Apocalypse, though poets claim

all three bring torment, agonizing flame

roughly equivalent, as trumpets blare

and Judgment looms….

                                        But love’s not like the rest

of these, is it?—the final things, that last.



American Arts Quarterly, Winter 2014, Volume 31, Number