Part Two of Two
Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in 1919. On March 24, 2018 he turned 99 years old. Today’s show is a celebration of Ferlinghetti’s career and of his new book from New Directions, Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems, edited by Nancy J. Peters.
This is a rebroadcast of the second half of an interview Jack Foley did with Lawrence Ferlinghetti on April 21, 1994. The interview took place at City Lights and in it Ferlinghetti candidly discusses his entire career.
“PITY THE NATION (After Khalil Gibran)” from Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems:
Pity the nation whose people are sheep
and whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
but aims to rule the world
by force and by torture
no other language but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation Oh pity the people of my country
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!
The book ends,
O endless the inchoate
incoherent narrative— Voyageur, pass on!
We are not our fathers
yet we carry on
breathing like them
loving and killing like them
Away then away
in our great tall ships
over the hills of ocean
to where Atlantis
still rides the tides
or where that magic mountain
not on any map
wreathed in radiance