Allen Ginsberg’s Psalm

“”Ah, but to have seen the Dove of still/Divinity..” – (Allen Ginsberg) – see above – painting by Jack Kerouac

continuing from yesterday

AG: Okay, I’ll finish this (poem) [“Psalm”], it’s not that much, I’m going to read it through and we’ll have it “And I write shadow changes into bone/To say that still Word, the prophetic image/Beyond our present strength of flesh to bear./ Incarnate in the rain as in the sea./Watches out for us out of our eyes/What sweet dream to be some incorruptible/Divinity, corporeal without a name,/Suffering metamorphosis of flesh/  Holy are the Visions of the soul/The visible mind seeks out for marriage/As if the sleeping heart, again, in darkness/  Would dream her passions out as in the Heavens” – (that’s straight out of William Butler Yeats, a paraphrase of his language  “Would dream her passions out as in..”)

“In flesh and flesh, imperfect spirits join/Vision upon vision, image upon image, /All physical and perishing, till spirit/Driven mad by Time, a ghost still haunted/By his mortal house goes from the tomb/And drops his body back into the dirt./I fear it till my soul remembers Heaven/My name is Angel and my eyes are Fire!/O wonder, and more than wonder in the world!/”Now I have built my love a sepulcher/Of whitened thoughts, and sat a year in… – (I think I’d been absent from Neal for about a year) – “Now I have built my love a sepulcher/Of whitened thoughts, and sat a year in ash./Grieving for the lost entempled dead,/And Him who appeared to these dead eyes/ And him my wakened beating mind remembered…” –  (right out of Prospero‘s speech  (in The Tempest) –  “A turn or two I’ll walk/ To still my beating mind”)

“And Him my wakened beating mind remembered,/And Love that moved in substance clear as bone, /With beautiful music, at the fatal moment,/And clock stopped by its own, or hidden, hand/These are the hollow echoes of His word.”

“Ah, but to have seen the Dove of still/Divinity come down in silken light of summer sun/In ignorance of the body’s bone and madness/Light falls and I fail!/My youth is ending./All my youth, and Death and Beauty cry/Like horns and motors from a ship afar./Half heard, an echo in the sea beneath/And Death and Beauty beckon in the dawn./ A presage of the world of whitening shadows/As another pale memorial/Ah, but to have seen the Dove, and then go blind.”

“I will grow old a grey and groaning man,/Hour after hour, with each hour a thought.”(“Every third thought shall be my grave” said Prospero, I was thinking of that) – “I will grow old a grey and groaning man,/Hour after hour, with each hour a thought/And with each thought the same denial. Am I to spend/My life in praise of the idea of God?/Time leaves no hope, and leaves us none of love;/We creep and wait, we wait and go alone./When will the heart be weary of its own/Indignity? Or Time endured destroy/The last such thoughts as these, the thoughts of Dove?/Must ravenous reason not be self consumed?/Our souls are purified of Time by Time,/And ignorance consumes itself like flesh.”

“Bigger and bigger gates, Thou gives, Lord…” – (that’s out of Hart Crane, this line) – “Bigger and bigger gates, Thou gives, Lord,/And vaster deaths and deaths not by my hand,/Till in each season, as the garden dies,/I die with each , until I die no more/Time’s many deaths, and pass toward the last gates/Till come, pure light, at last to pass through pearl/Take me to thy mansion, for I house/In clay, in a sad dolor out of joy./  Behold thy myth incarnate in my flesh/Now made incarnate in Thy Psalm, O Lord.”

So what I was trying to do was to incorporate, you know, the thickest thought I had,  or the most purest thought I had, in some kind of a psalm that would waken consciousness. But then the next step was… in Empty Mirror, the next step out of that particular fix was, I attempted to magnify the sun’s flames  in a poem, as in a glass, You know, I attempted to magnify..  I think it was “the sun’s flames in a poem as in a glass” – “but such magnification did not set the world on fire”. – [“I attempted to concentrate the total sun’s rays in each poem as through a glass, but such magnification did not set the page afire”] In other words, it doesn’t work, this kind of thing doesn’t work and we can...  It’s moving, occasionally. You know, it’s tearful to look back on,, the sincerity was there, it’s great, the sincerity was absolutely with..there,, that’s nice, alright, so…, okay

Alice (Notley) will be teaching (John) Dryden (here). So read through what Dryden you have to. We’ll be meeting here (same place).

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-four-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at the end of the tape]

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