The End

Published in 2008 for the first time in Rorem's 50 Collected Songs, "The End," which sets a poem of Dana Gioia from 1986, was written in March of 2003 and premiered the same year at American University.

Date: 2003Composer: Ned RoremText: Dana Gioia

Print vitals & song text

Text

The End
by Dana Gioia

Last night I dreamed the end had come.
Silent, impotent, invisible as air,
I stood by in a hundred places:
a stranger’s house, a city street, an office and a garden–
and like a sleeper shaken from a dream
I witnessed what I could not understand.

A woman washing dishes at a sink
looked out her window calmly as she heard
something unexpected in the air.
Men on the sidewalk, drivers in the street
observed the weather in a cloudless sky
and kept going.
In an office clerks and secretaries glanced up
at the clock without remembering the time.

I saw the same cold profile everywhere at once–
a pale face looking up against the light,
then bending down again indifferently,
only this dull reflex of acceptance,
then nothing else, nothing ever again.

Books

Interrogations at Noon

By Dana Gioia

The Gods of Winter

By Dana Gioia

Sheet Music

50 Collected Songs (high and low voice)

Composer(s): Ned Rorem

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Support us and help us grow

Dear friends, Thank you for helping us build a comprehensive online archive of American song. Your gift is greatly appreciated.