Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Rookie (Bronxville, New York)

Constantly Risking Absurdity

Poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence


Comments about Constantly Risking Absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

  • Kevin PatrickKevin Patrick (5/26/2020 2:12:00 PM)

    This is one of the best poems period, humor with depth of imagination and skill(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Luis Estable (7/16/2019 11:56:00 PM)

    This poem makes me think of Plato who decided to kick out the poet out of his Republic for the poet, according to him, makes things up which are not good for his perfect state. But he errs in this for if he had read the Bible he would have seen the God himself is a poet.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (7/16/2019 11:15:00 PM)

    The poet
    " a little charlychaplin man
    who may or may not catch
    her fair eternal form
    spreadeagled in the empty air
    of existence"
    Amazing role played by a poet in pursuit of beauty fabulously elaborated. Well deserved modern poem of the Day.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • jhonny (7/16/2019 11:28:00 AM)

    Much obliged to you for sharing the data. I have perused all the post and it was extremely useful. The post with valuable substance is extremely hard to get ready. We need to do heaps of diligent work to get ready such a decent post. The connections you are shared alongside the post is astonishing. http: //www.4cashpath.com/(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Pusjhvb Lsjdkg (7/16/2019 11:10:00 AM)

    i ammoney they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. Last month my pay check was $17465 just working on the website for a few hours. This is what I do visit the web..
    ↓↓↓COPY THIS WEBSITE↓↓↓↓
    HERE☛ W­w­w­.­candycash7.comᴵᴵᴵ
    Don't include this → ᴵᴵᴵ(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (7/16/2019 10:54:00 AM)

    Risks! ! !

    Facing the ways of life.

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (7/16/2019 6:41:00 AM)

    A magnificently made poem......(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (7/16/2019 1:26:00 AM)

    the poet like an acrobat
    climbs on rime
    to a high wire of his own making
    and balancing on eyebeams
    above a sea of faces.. really grat.tony(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Adeeb AlfatehAdeeb Alfateh (7/16/2019 12:58:00 AM)

    paces his way
    to the other side of the day
    performing entrachats
    and sleight-of-foot tricks
    and other high theatrics
    and all without mistaking
    any thing

    great writing
    great 10+++++++++++++++++++++++++(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jeri Watson (7/30/2016 6:25:00 AM)

    About 50 yrs ago I read poems by Ferlinghetti. What is the name of the poem in which he put words together as they rise in a semicircle? Almost like a pictograph?(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jacob Erin-cilberto (5/10/2008 9:53:00 AM)

    i love ferlihnghetti and have ever since my first modern american poetry class in 1970-

    i think 'constantly risking absurdity' is one of the great anthems for poets...
    we surely do risk absurdity and flying above the heads of our audiences, only because they often won't just see what they see.

    'i am waiting' is my favorite of his....but he has been an inspiration for my poetry for almost 40 years,

    thank you, lawrence(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Russell Beaty (12/4/2007 5:53:00 PM)

    Ferlinghetti was one strange man this poem was the only one that didnt depress me, I aslo like the charliechaplin man I thought that that made the poem(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • David Peters (12/28/2006 5:02:00 PM)

    While I'm not generally a fan of Ferlinghetti's poems, I've always loved this one.

    It's sad to see that it is not formatted here the way he arranged it. Using the original format is critical if readers/listeners are to truly capture the meanings and emotional content of this poem.(Report)Reply

    Doug Connor(5/15/2016 6:07:00 PM)

    I agree. Like e.e. cummings, the appearance of the words on the page is part of the sense.

    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Stan Jelley (12/1/2004 12:12:00 AM)

    One of my favourite poems; sums up and illuminates like nothing else could the personal exposure and risk inherent in any creative act. The common farewell these days of Take Care is the very opposite. The final image of the charleychaplin man who may or may not catch beauty shows again the self-sacrificing risk in pursuit of success, satisfaction, or even audience acclaim. But how artistically and with what panache does Ferlinghetti express it!(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 15 comments »




Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: death, truth, beauty, sea



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003