I Am Waiting Poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I Am Waiting

Rating: 4.1


I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting
for someone to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep through the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped’ onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to ‘be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for the American Boy
to take off Beauty’s clothes
and get on top of her
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am waiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Michael Shepherd 01 May 2005

A great poem that's stood the test of time. (check it's complete please...)

10 3 Reply
Phyllis Gunkel 10 May 2016

I don't know why I like this poem, except, of course, it's what most of us do- wait and hope and wait again and watch hope slide downhill while the waiting feels like Sisyphus and his uphill battle with the rock. I'm glad you broke it up into stanzas that become, at least in my mind, a respite, a break, maybe a time when we reach a peak and shout yes! and raise our fist to unseen gods in the vast womb of creation. And then we look and the rocks, again, at the bottom of the mountain and your lament of waiting and hoping begins its never-ending cycle. I like the poem but maybe you could add a one-liner after each stanza that something wonderful happened- that you got part of something, had a eureka moment, that things got ironed out if only for a brief span of time and you felt elation, a dream made real, something.

4 2 Reply
Glen Kappy 05 December 2016

of the beats, ferlinghetti is my favorite, and this is one of my favorite poems by him. i am tempted, but will refrain, from listing the several lines i find especially good, in which we get a sense of ferlinghetti's heart and can hear them recited to jazz background. if by chance, lawrence, you happen to read this, i say here, you're the man! -glen kappy

3 3 Reply
Seamus O Brian 05 December 2016

The eternally idealistic reconfiguration of reality. How do we create utopia with a humanity who still carries the scent of the savagery, relatively fresh from the forests and savannas? Who is still more at home with a rock, a club, a missile than a bouquet of olive branches? Who still finds the need to stand up to savage injustice with a savage response? Who still confronts enemies who respect only the strength of arms or the open barrel of a rifle? We will keep waiting....

3 1 Reply
Eddie Bryan 23 November 2017

This doesn't have the line about Elvis Presley and Billy Graham trading places. And I am seriously waiting for Elvis Presley and Billy Graham to exchange roles, seriously. It comes after waiting for a spiritual revival in Arizona and waiting for them to prove God is really an American.

2 1 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 18 May 2021

2) a thinker of the first row. Very fascinating thoughts worded. % Stars! Congratulations to his family for this most deserving Modern Poem Of The Day (he died last March 2021) .

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 18 May 2021

1) So many things and subjects he mentioned here, most of them seem ironical truths, but he is thinking deeper and wider, some lines you won't believe the words, that about the war, but altogether this poem could only be written by such a great poet,

0 0 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 29 September 2019

The poem which it borrows from Whitman, Yeats and Keats is a poetical pastiche telling of the second coming and rebirth in a mythical spectrum of delving. D.H.Lawrence's The Ship of Death will take the soul away to the other shore.

0 0 Reply
Ted Crittenden 23 March 2019

I am waiting for Ferlinghetti to take his place between a Ferrari and a Ford.

0 0 Reply
dolores mcclure 12 June 2018

a beautiful, a marvellous poem. It will stay in my mind in my forever.

2 1 Reply
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