Death Poems: An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen - Poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen - Poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A poet is born
A poet dies
And all that lies between
is us
and the world

And the world lies about it
making as if it had got his message
even though it is poetry
but most of the world wishing
it could just forget about him
and his awful strange prophecies


Along with all the other strange things
he said about the world
which were all too true
and which made them fear him
more than they loved him
though he spoke much of love

Along with all the alarms he sounded
which turned out to be false
if only for the moment
all of which made them fear his tongue
more than they loved him
Though he spoke much of love
and never lived by ‘silence exile & cunning’
and was a loud conscientious objector to
the deaths we daily give each other
though we speak much of love


And when such a one dies
even the agents of Death should take note
and shake the shit from their wings
in Air Force One
But they do not
And the shit still flies
And the poet now is disconnected
and won’t call back
though he spoke much of love

And still we hear him say
‘Do I not deal with angels
when her lips I touch’
And still we hear him say
‘0 my darling troubles heaven
with her loveliness’
And still we hear him say
‘As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate ‘sleep
On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak
of childhood lies’

And still we hear him saying
‘Therefore the constant powers do not lessen
Nor is the property of the spirit scattered
on the cold hills of these events’
And still we hear him asking
‘Do the dead know what time it is?’

He is gone under
He is scattered
undersea
and knows what time
but won’t be back to tell it
He would be too proud to call back anyway
And too full of strange laughter
to speak to us anymore anyway

And the weight of human experience
lies upon the world
like the chains of the ‘sea
in which he sings
And he swings in the tides of the sea
And his ashes are washed
in the ides of the sea
And ‘an astonished eye looks out of the air’
to see the poet singing there

And dusk falls down a coast somewhere

where a white horse without a rider
turns its head
to the sea

Comments about An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

  • Neil Anderson 2/16/2020 5:08:00 AM

    Pretty boring just reading, but much worse if listening to the accompanying noise Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Alain-Armel 3/13/2018 10:17:00 AM

    Touching, I love it. Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Patrick 2/20/2018 11:55:00 AM

    I loved it, it was awesome. Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Death Poems
  1. 1. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death
    Roger McGough
  2. 2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion
    Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Death Is Nothing At All
    Henry Scott Holland
  4. 4. Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  5. 5. Because I Could Not Stop For Death
    Emily Dickinson
  6. 6. Nothing But Death
    Pablo Neruda
  7. 7. A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, O..
    Dylan Thomas
  8. 8. A Dream Of Death
    William Butler Yeats
  9. 9. A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv
    Khalil Gibran
  10. 10. Father Death Blues
    Allen Ginsberg
  11. 11. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death
    William Butler Yeats
  12. 12. Death Wants More Death
    Charles Bukowski
  13. 13. The Beauty Of Death Xiv
    Khalil Gibran
  14. 14. A Death Blow Is A Life Blow To Some
    Emily Dickinson
  15. 15. Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  16. 16. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner
    Randall Jarrell
  17. 17. Death Xxvii
    Khalil Gibran
  18. 18. A City's Death By Fire
    Derek Walcott
  19. 19. After Death
    Sara Teasdale
  20. 20. Death Leaves Us Homesick, Who Behind
    Emily Dickinson
  21. 21. A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An ..
    Phillis Wheatley
  22. 22. A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  23. 23. The Death Of Joy Gardner
    Benjamin Zephaniah
  24. 24. First Death In Nova Scotia
    Elizabeth Bishop
  25. 25. A Ballad Of Death
    Algernon Charles Swinburne
  26. 26. Death Fugue
    Paul Celan
  27. 27. On The Death Of A Young Lady Of Five Yea..
    Phillis Wheatley
  28. 28. Gacela Of The Dark Death
    Federico García Lorca
  29. 29. Go Down, Death
    James Weldon Johnson
  30. 30. Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  31. 31. Death &Amp; Fame
    Allen Ginsberg
  32. 32. On Death
    Anne Killigrew
  33. 33. The Death Of The Hired Man
    Robert Frost
  34. 34. Fugue Of Death
    Paul Celan
  35. 35. I Have A Rendezvous With Death
    Alan Seeger
  36. 36. On The Death Of Anne Brontë
    Charlotte Brontë
  37. 37. Love &Amp; Fame &Amp; Death
    Charles Bukowski
  38. 38. For The Anniversary Of My Death
    William Stanley Merwin
  39. 39. If Death Is Kind
    Sara Teasdale
  40. 40. On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady,
    Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
  41. 41. Death
    William Butler Yeats
  42. 42. As At Thy Portals Also Death
    Walt Whitman
  43. 43. Death Stands Above Me, Whispering Low
    Walter Savage Landor
  44. 44. An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  45. 45. Death
    Heinrich Heine
  46. 46. On Hearing Of A Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  47. 47. A Death-Bed
    Rudyard Kipling
  48. 48. A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late..
    Jonathan Swift
  49. 49. Absence Disembodies—so Does Death
    Emily Dickinson
  50. 50. All But Death, Can Be Adjusted
    Emily Dickinson

Death Poems

  1. Death Be Not Proud

    Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then? One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

  2. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death

    Let me die a youngman's death not a clean and inbetween the sheets holywater death not a famous-last-words peaceful out of breath death When I'm 73 and in constant good tumour may I be mown down at dawn by a bright red sports car on my way home from an allnight party Or when I'm 91 with silver hair and sitting in a barber's chair may rival gangsters with hamfisted tommyguns burst in and give me a short back and insides Or when I'm 104 and banned from the Cavern may my mistress catching me in bed with her daughter and fearing for her son cut me up into little pieces and throw away every piece but one Let me die a youngman's death not a free from sin tiptoe in candle wax and waning death not a curtains drawn by angels borne 'what a nice way to go' death

  3. And Death Shall Have No Dominion

    And death shall have no dominion. Dead man naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.

  4. Because I Could Not Stop For Death

    Because I could not stop for Death- He kindly stopped for me- The Carriage held but just Ourselves- And Immortality. We slowly drove- He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility- We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess- in the Ring- We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain- We passed the Setting Sun- Or rather- He passed us- The Dews drew quivering and chill- For only Gossamer, my Gown- My Tippet- only Tulle- We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground- The Roof was scarcely visible- The Cornice- in the Ground- Since then- 'tis Centuries- and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity-

  5. Death Is Nothing At All

    Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.