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POEM OF THE DAY -- "Hymn" by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac, of course, is an American literary Icon.  Famous for his landmark prose novels "On the Road" and "Visions of Cody" and "Dharma Bums" documenting his wild travels across America in search of freedom and "kicks" - Kerouac was a vital poet as well - especially considered so among his more poeticly known peers (Beat icons Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs to name a few).

The poems featured in this weeks POEM OF THE DAY series were inspired by the recent release of "HOWL" -- the movie creation -- which depicted the poem itself, the poet Allen Ginsberg, and the historic obscenity trial which followed.

These poems can be found in the City Lights Publishing collection of Kerouac poems "POMES ALL SIZES" which includes a wonderful preface by Ginsberg himself, declaring (significantly):  "My own poetry's always been modeled on Kerouac's practice of tracing his mind's thoughts and sounds directly on the page."  A formidable statement by arguably one of the 20th centuries greatest and most influential poets.

Enjoy what follows!  I suggest you invest a small amount in the wonderful book below.

Hymn

By Jack Kerouac

And when you showed me the Brooklyn Bridge
   in the morning, 
      Ah God,


And the people slipping on ice in the street,
twice,
          twice,
                    two different people
                    came over, goin to work,
                    so earnest and tryful,
                    clutching their pitiful
                    morning Daily News
                    slip on the ice & fall
                    both inside 5 minutes
                    and I cried I cried


That's when you taught me tears, Ah
   God in the morning,
      Ah Thee


And me leaning on the lampost wiping
eyes,
         eyes,
                  nobody's know I'd cried
                  or woulda cared anyway
                  but O I saw my father
                  and my grandfather's mother
                  and the long lines of chairs
                  and tear-sitters and dead,
                  Ah me, I knew God You
                  had better plans than that


So whatever plan you have for me
Splitter of majesty
Make it short
   brief
Make it snappy
   bring me home to the Eternal Mother
   today


At your service anyway,
   (and until)


-

1 comment:

  1. An all-time favorite. Thanks so much for posting this!

    ReplyDelete