We decided to have the abortion, became
killers together. The period that came
changed nothing. They were dead, that young couple
who had been for life.
As we talked of it in bed, the crash
was not a surprise. We went to the window,
looked at the crushed cars and the gleaming
curved shears of glass as if we had
done it. Cops pulled the bodies out
Bloody as births from the small, smoking
aperture of the door, laid them
on the hill, covered them with blankets that soaked
through. Blood
began to pour
down my legs into my slippers. I stood
where I was until they shot the bound
form into the black hole
of the ambulance and stood the other one
up, a bandage covering its head,
stained where the eyes had been.
The next morning I had to kneel
an hour on that floor, to clean up my blood,
rubbing with wet cloths at those glittering
translucent spots, as one has to soak
a long time to deglaze the pan
when the feast is over.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sharon Olds's poem The End


  1. poopman says:


  2. Mice Elf says:

    I like the poem in all. i myself am pro choice. i just love how she contrasted the abortion to a fatal accident.

  3. Nathan Clarke says:

    What I really don’t understand are Liberals. They’re against Capital Punishment (killing criminals) but they’re for Abortion (MURDERING babies). The purpose of an Abortion is to kill the baby. I just cant stand people making excuses. If you can’t afford to provide for the baby, maybe you shouldn’t be having sex, because Abortion shouldn’t even be an option. Oh yeah it’s fine to put murderers in prison, but baby killers is totally fine and accepted.. you got to be kidding!

  4. Annie Lowery says:

    I totally agree that abortions are wrong, but is it anyone’s place to say whether or not anyone can have abortions? This may be a small percentage, but what about the girls who are sexually abused? I love the poem, but no one should have the power to tell people what to do with their unborn children. I may be only 14, but my college friend was sexually abused by her uncle and she had to get an abortion. So great poem, I love it, but most abortions aren’t killing, they’re done for the good of the people having the child.

  5. Dorothee Minor says:

    I am a high school teacher for Religious Education. I will discuss Sharon Olds’ poem with grade 10 students soon. I think it is very impressive and will make the teenage pupils think more carefully about abortion, its psychological consequences and its ethical implication. Sharon Olds created a strong image in comparing abortion to a fatal accident.

  6. Kayla says:

    Is this really a place to display your political views?
    It’s a wonderful poem, whether you agree with it or not.

  7. jaime says:

    i think this poem is great. Abortions are wrong and should be banned because you are killing a life of another little person being brought into the world and more youngsters each year are dying or diseases and passive smoking etc. and it is very worng to do it. People want to greet other new people into the world. The more poeple around the easier everything will be. Thats what i think and it is a brilliant when a new youngster in born and brought into different religions around the world

  8. Emma Penn says:

    I am a republican high school senior who thinks abortions are wrong. I thought every woman who ever aborted a baby was disgusting and inhumane. Until I learned my mother was one of them. As I read this poem I thought of my little sibling that should have been. I live every day for my little sibling who was visiously aborted. I live for her, because she did not get that privliage. Sharon Olds, your poem was truly a gem. Thank you.

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