The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men Poem Text

The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy.


We are the hollow men,

We are the stuffed men.

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together,

Are quiet and meaningless

As wind in dry grass

Or rat’s feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar.

Shape without form, shade without color,

Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed

With direct eyes, to death’s other kingdom

Remember us—if at all—not as lost

Violent souls, but only

As the hollow men,

The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams

In death’s dream kingdom

These do not appear:

There, the eyes are

Sunlight on a broken column.

There, is a tree swinging

And voices are

In the wind’s singing

More distant and more solemn

Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer

In death’s dream kingdom.

Let me also wear

Such deliberate disguises:

Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves

In a field

Behaving as the wind behaves

No nearer—

Not that final meeting

In the twilight kingdom.


This is the dead land,

This is the cactus land.

Here the stone images

Are raised, here they receive

The supplication of a dead man’s hand

Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this,

In death’s other kingdom

Waking alone

At the hour when we are

Trembling with tenderness.

Lips that would kiss

Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here,

There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars,

In this hollow valley,

This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms.

In this last of meeting places

We grope together

And avoid speech,

Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless

The eyes reappear

As the perpetual star,

Multifoliate rose

Of death’s twilight kingdom.

The hope only

Of empty men.


Here we go ‘round the prickly pear,

Prickly pear, prickly pear.

Here we go ‘round the prickly pear

At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea

And the reality,

Between the motion

And the act,

Falls the Shadow.

For Thine is the Kingdom.

Between the conception

And the creation,

Between the emotion

And the response,

Falls the Shadow.

Life is very long.

Between the desire

And the spasm,

Between the potency

And the existence,

Between the essence

And the descent,

Falls the Shadow.

For Thine is the Kingdom.

For Thine is

Life is

For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

Not with a bang but a whimper.