In Memoriam: Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) Poet, Buddhist, Iconoclast

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In Memoriam: Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) Poet, Buddhist, Iconoclast

Ginsberg self-portrait

Allen Ginsberg Dying

written by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
on Tuesday, April 8, 1997

Allen Ginsberg is dying
It's on all the papers
It's in the evening news
A great poet is dying
But his voice won't die
His voice is on the land
In Lower Manhattan
in his own bed
he is dying
There is nothing to do about it
He is dying the death that everyone dies
He is dying the death of the poet
He has a telephone in his hand
and he calls everyone
from his bed
in Lower Manhattan
All around the world late at night the telephone is ringing
"This is Allen" the voice says
"Allen Ginsberg calling"
How many times have they heard it over the long great years
He doesn't have to say Ginsberg
All around the world in the world of poets
there is only one Allen
"I wanted to tell you" he says
He tells them what's happening
what's coming down on him
His voice goes by satellite over the land
over the Sea of Japan
where he once stood naked
trident in hand
like a young Neptune
a young man with black beard
standing on a stone beach
It is high tide and the seabirds cry
The Waves break over him now
and the seabirds cry
on the San Francisco waterfront
There is a high wind
There are great whitecaps lashing the Embarcadero
I am reading Greek poetry
Horses weep in it
The horses of Achilles weep in it
here by the sea
in San Francisco
where the waves weep
They make a sibilant sound
a sibylline sound
they whisper



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