Elan that lifts me above the clouds
into pure space, timeless, yea eternal
Breath transmuted into words
Transmuted back to breath
in one hundred two hundred years
nearly Immortal, Sappho’s 26 centuries
of cadenced breathing — beyond time, clocks, empires, bodies, cars,
chariots, rocket ships skyscrapers, Nation empires
brass walls, polished marble, Inca Artwork
of the mind — but where’s it come from?
Inspiration? The muses drawing breath for you? God?
Nah, don’t believe it, you’ll get entangled in Heaven or Hell —
Guilt power, that makes the heart beat wake all night
flooding mind with space, echoing through future cities, Megalopolis or
Cretan village, Zeus’ birth cave Lassithi Plains — Otsego County
farmhouse, Kansas front porch?
Buddha’s a help, promises ordinary mind no nirvana —
coffee, alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, marijuana, laughing gas?
Nope, too heavy for this lightness lifts the brain into blue sky
at May dawn when birds start singing on East 12th street —
Where does it come from, where does it go forever?
Born: 3 June 1926, New Jersey, USA
Died: 5 April 1997, New York, USA
Ginsberg was a poet, philosopher, and writer. In the 1940s as a student of Columbia College he began a close friendship with WS Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, forming the core of the Beat Generation. He opposed militarism, economic materialism, and sexual repression. He embodied various aspects of this counterculture with his views on drugs, openness to Eastern religions, and hostility to bureaucracy. Ginsberg is best known for the poem ‘Howl’ which denounces the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity within the United States at the time