26, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

20 February 2012

Yesterday’s Yeats was in good part an excuse to post this brilliant piece by Ferlinghetti, 26 in Pictures of the Gone World, or ‘Reading Yeats’.


——–Reading Yeats I do not think
——————————————-of Ireland
but of midsummer New York
————————————and of myself back then
—–reading that copy I found
————————————on the Thirdavenue El

———-the El
—————-with its flyhung fans
—–and its signs reading

———-the El
—————-careening thru its thirdstory world
—–with its thirdstory people
—————————-in their thirdstory doors
looking as if they had never heard
————————————————of the ground

———-an old dame
————————watering her plant
or a joker in a straw
——————putting a stickpin in his peppermint tie
and looking just like he had nowhere to go
—————————————————-but coneyisland

————-or an undershirted guy
—————————————–rocking in his rocker
watching the El pass by
——————-as if he expected it to be di fferent
———–each time

—————-Reading Yeats I do not think
————————————————–of Arcady
and of its woods which Yeats thought dead
——————————————————I think instead
————-of all the gone faces
——————————getting o ff at midtown places
——–with their hats and their jobs
————-and of that lost book I had
—————————-with its blue cover and its white inside
where a pencilhand had written
——————————————-HORSEMAN, PASS BY!

[Ripped from landsburg.com, an attempt at original spacing added.]


2 Responses to “26, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti”

  1. dianajhale Says:

    Having seen several post war artists in exhibitions lately I am keen to read more of the Beat poets so this is a good start! Thanks.

  2. Get stuck into the Beats… but make sure you keep moving and reach Frank O’Hara, if you haven’t read him before. His ‘Lunch Poems’, published in the same Pocket Poets series, is fantastic. Unfortunately, without a copy of his complete poems to find the pieces I haven’t read before, he’s not featuring at the moment in my resolution reading…

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