A-Z Challenge: W is for Whimper

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
Those are the last lines from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men.”  The poem is from 1925.  Many believe the title orginates from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar or from Joseph Conrad’s character Kurtz in Heart of Darkness referred to as a “hollow sham” and “hollow at the core.”  Eliot claims the title is a merging of “The Hollow Land” romance by William Morris and poem “The Broken Men” by Rudyard Kipling.
It is one of my favorites.  Personally, I have a favorite part.  The entire poem is excellent but I am most drawn to this section:
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow.
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For those who would like to read the rest, I have included the entire poem below.  For those who would like to understand what it means, I’ll quote Wikipedia “Its themes are overlapping and fragmentary…”  I quote them because quite frankly, I don’t say things like overlapping and fragmentary when describing any work.  It’s just not me.  Wiki goes on to say the meaning of the poem centers around post World War I Europe, the difficulty of hope and religious conversion and Eliot’s failing marriage.  There are also some references to Guy Fawkes (which goes along with yesterday’s V for Vendetta post and V wearing a Guy Fawkes mask) and… keep reading

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