Leap Year, 1958, all those years ago, 31-year-old Allen had been dreaming, the night before, about.. T S Eliot. “What’s my motive dreaming his/ manna? What English Department/would that impress? What failure/ to be a perfect prophet’s made up here?” – (an) “overambitious dream of (an) eccentric boy”. All through his life Allen wrote down his dreams, looked for their portents and signs – “God forbid (that) my evil dreams come true”! – and, in so many ways, they did, didn’t they?
Last nite I dreamed of T.S.Eliot
welcoming me to the land of dream
Sofas couches fog in England
Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows
curtains on his windows, fog seeping in
the chimney but a nice warm house
and an incredibly sweet hooknosed
Eliot he loved me, put me up,
gave me a couch to sleep on,
conversed kindly, took me serious
asked my opinion on Mayakovsky
the bearded lady in the Zoo, the
intelligent puma in Mexico City
6 chorus boys from Zanzibar
who chanted in wornout polyglot
Swahili, and the rippling rhythms
On the Isle of the Queen
we had a long evening’s conversation
Then he tucked me in my long
red underwear under a silken
blanket by the fire on the sofa
gave me English Hottie
and went off sadly to his bed,
Saying ah Ginsberg I am glad
to have met a fine young man like you.
At last, I woke ashamed of myself
Is he that good and kind? Am I that great?
What’s my motive dreaming his
manna? What English Department
would that impress? What failure
to be perfect prophet’s made up here?
I dream my kindness to T.S.Eliot
wanting to be a historical poet
and share in his finance of Imagery-
overambitious dream of eccentric boy
God forbid my evil dreams come true.
Last nite I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg
T.S.Eliot would have been ashamed of me.
Feb 29, 1958