Best of Allen Ginsberg : His little-known poems

I would never have hoped to survive my teenage years were it not for Ginsberg, Sure, Wordsworth provided comfort and yes, Keats gave me solace but it wasn’t until I read the collection, Wait Till I’m Dead, that I really came to realize what I was looking for. Words that explored the dirty, the dark and the lovely – all at once. A spectacular mixture of love, hate, passion and drugs – his poetry left me high af.

So here are some of my favorites. Fierce. Romantic.Political. Sexual. Scandalous.
(I won’t attempt to analyze them, though. That’ll take a whole lot of space and would feel like I am fangirling! ;p)


  • We leave the youthful pennants and the books,
    Discard the little compasses and rulers,
    We openen our eyes and test our souls,
    Prepare ourselves to wield more mighty tools.

    Abandon dusty tales of history,
    Of good King Arthur’s Knights and Kubla Khan,
    We wake, and enter now the world to find
    A living tumult in the struggle of man.

    For these are giant times, and history
    Is fashioned as the minutes burn away.
    Buildings of old beliefs are being bombed
    And rotted walls are crumbling down today.
    Ready are we to meet the challenge hurled:
    ”To battle, conquer, and rebuild the world.”

    (Published in: Senior Mirror (June 1943) )


  • Epitaph for a Suicide

    A weary lover
    Once he was,
    Who wept as only
    A lover does.

    Or laughed as only
    A lover must.
    Now his mouth
    Is ringed with dust.

    The credit’s his —
    He was quite brave,
    To shut his loving
    In his grave.

    (Published in: Allen Ginsberg, The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice (2006) )


Allen Ginsberg

  • Winds around the beaches blow:
    Things being as they are, although
    Half clearly understood, and I
    Uncurious of mystery;

    Such thoughts as once were my despair,
    — The frantic sea, the silent air,
    The changing moon, the frigid shore —
    I find delight me more and more.

    I had not dreamed the sea so deep,
    The earth so dark; so long my sleep,
    I have become another child.
    I wake to see the world go wild.

    (Published in: Columbia Review, vol. 27 (February 1947) )


  • A Lion met America

    A Lion met America
    On the crossroads in the desert
    Two figures
    Stared at each other.

    America screamed
    The Lion roared
    They leaped desperately
    Knives forks submarines.

    The Lion bit the head off America
    And loped off to the golden hills
    That’s all there is to say
    About America except
    That now she’s
    Lionshit all over the desert.

    (Published in: Beetitude [Beatitude], no. 7 (July 4, 1959)


Allen Ginsberg during his later years


  • Leave the Bones Behind

    Leave the bones behind
    they’re only bones
    leave the mind behind
    it’s only thoughts
    leave the man behind
    he cannot live
    Save the soul! But
    Soul is ever Safe
    & Sole
    Itself Beauty’s repesentative
    Lost in accidental form
    that’ll soon be over with
    when its nose falls off
    and its eyes fall out
    and leaves it alone to be itself
    lone in One
    Gold Be.

    (Published in: Take Care of my Ghost, Ghost (June 1977) )



(NOTE : All the information about publication yearS and magazines were reproduced from Penguin’s Wait Till I’m Dead )

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