A Sense of an Ending: Poetry and Periods

As part of my on-going fascination with punctuation, in Enumerations I look at the words that are most likely to be followed by a period in a collection of 75,000 twentieth-century poems.

What we see are the very pronounced ways that poems tend to end their sentences with an emphasis on death and departure, but also on nature’s most expansive features: the seasun, sky, air, world and God. Periods bifurcate between marking a strong sense of closure, the absolute end of things, and a turn to the most expansive spaces imaginable. They imagine the again of the end.